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Sourdough; a mix of science and baking that is not for the weak

My+first+loaf+of+sourdough+bread.
Avery Michalowski ’26
My first loaf of sourdough bread.

Sourdough is a miraculous, natural creation made with just water, flour, heat and time. Meaning it doesn’t need store-bought yeast to rise and instead is made with fermented water and flour.

My love for  sourdough started about a year ago as sourdough bread is a delicious, healthy, nutrient-rich food that I love to use for avocado toast and much more. 

But while I was a fan, I only ever bought loaves from the store and never made the bread myself because, to be honest, the process of making the bread is lengthy and it kind of scared me. It includes making a sourdough starter from scratch with a lot of flour, water, and attention.

But while I was a fan, I only ever bought loaves from the store and never made the bread myself because, to be honest, the process of making the bread is lengthy and it kind of scared me.

— Avery Michalowski '26

However, eventually my curiosity got the best of me and I tried to make my own! Long story short, I made three failed starters (let me be the first to tell you, sourdough is not for the weak), and I was losing hope.

That was when I found out about dehydrated starters, specifically from Ballerina Farm, the queen of sourdough. Of course, I had to get the whole kit…so $89 and a few days later I was ready to try again. 

Ballerina Farm kit & sourdough starter (Avery Michalowski ’26)

The whole rehydration process took five consecutive mornings of “feeding” (the process of adding fresh flour and water to the starter so it can ferment and grow). The mixture required filtered* room temperature water, the dehydrated starter and flour.  I also had to follow meticulous instructions outlined in the pamphlet provided in the kit.

After five days of rehydrating, I had successfully made an active starter! 

A few days later I made my first batch of bread. A long but very rewarding process. Currently, I am making a single sourdough bagel to have for breakfast tomorrow! There are so many possibilities with sourdough, I hope you try it someday.

To keep the starter active, I now could feed the starter regularly (currently I am feeding it every morning). 

After reading this article, you may be thinking, “Why sourdough?” Especially if it’s so much work. It supports gut health, is naturally low in gluten, full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, is easy to digest and much more. If this all sounds like gibberish to you, it tastes good!

Homemade sourdough pancakes (Avery Michalowski ’26)

So you don’t have to make the same mistakes as me, that is all you need to know about sourdough including my favorite tips and tricks if you want to make your own. Best of luck!

*room temperature, filtered water is essential because cooler temperatures slow the fermentation process and affect the activity of the starter. Possible chlorine in filtered water can kill the starter so I use filtered, bottled water.

 

 

 

 

 

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About the Contributor
Avery Michalowski ’26, Assistant Creative Director
Assistant Creative Director Avery Michalowski ’26 channels her artistry in both the classroom and the dance studio.  She embarked on her Inklings journey after being inspired by her older sister’s recommendation. “My sister took Intro to Journalism and Advanced Journalism. She loved it and always told stories about it, so I found it appealing,” Michalowski said. Alongside her dedication to journalism, Michalowski remains a committed dancer with a particular love for ballet. “{Dancing} takes up a lot of my time,” Michalowski said. “It will definitely be hard to balance school, Inklings and dancing, but I am ready for the challenge.”

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