Participating In Creation, One Great Loaf At A Time

There are a hundred thousand species of love, separately invented, each more ingenious than the last, and every one of them keeps making things. Douglas Powers

I was running in town with my husband one day last week. It was a rare blue-sky January day and I was enjoying the run. Without realizing it, I began to push the pace, running faster and faster. Of course, “fast” is a relative term these days.

Sourdough bread-making was on my agenda. I wanted to get home to begin mixing the dough at just the right moment, when my starter was frothy and alive but before the population of microorganisms it contained depleted their available food sources and began to crash.

I am not a COVID-inspired sourdough baker. My starter is over 10 years old. Keeping a sourdough starter alive is almost like having a billion tiny pets, all of whom need to be fed and cared for.

Years ago, I mixed whole wheat flour and pineapple juice together, and, voila – created a colony of ambient microorganisms I have nurtured ever since for completely selfish reasons.

The yeast in a starter is what gives the dough its rise. Saccharomyces and Candida species feed on the natural sugars found in the flour. They exhale carbon dioxide, forming bubbles so the bread is fluffy. Not enough yeast in the starter, and the resulting bread is a brick.

Sourdough gets its signature tang from the bacteria living in the starter. Lactobacillus species produce lactic acid, which tastes sour. Not enough bacteria in the starter, and the resulting bread is bland.

What I want to know is this: how did some person figure out all of this long ago?  Not the names of the microorganisms or their roles in making sourdough bread, of course, but how to harness them to make something so satisfying and delicious?

Photo by Steve Johnson on Pexels.com

We humans are inventors, ingenious and creative.

We have discovered how to make bread and sweaters, light bulbs, and rockets.

We know how to produce utilitarian objects like screwdrivers and washing machines. We know how to create beautiful things like sculptures and poems.

Creation is an act of love.

When we write an article, we invest thought and research, emotion and time. Then we send it out into the world, proud and hopeful. It’s almost like sending our children off to their first day of kindergarten.

I can imagine similar feelings arise when we knit a scarf, paint with watercolors, sew a quilt, design a building, build a birdhouse, or do any of the thousands of innovative and productive things we humans do.

This should not be surprising.

We were created in the image of the ultimate Creator.

By Stefan Kraft – Selbst fotografiert am 20.9.2004 im Sydney Aquarium., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=657498

If I was in charge of creating the universe, never in a million years could I have designed a platypus. And yet, there they so uncontrovertibly are, paddling away in the rivers and streams of Australia.

Photo by John on Pexels.com

I could never have imagined the intricacy of a hemlock tree, the color palette of a cecropia moth, the delicate hidden filigree of root hairs that bind together every plant in a forest, or the lambent light reflected by the full moon. And yet…and yet.

If we send our watercolors and articles, our sculptures and poems and scarves and bread out into the world with love, how much more love must we receive when we are brought into existence?

After all, our love, which sometimes feels so powerful and wild, is a dim reflection of original Love. Our creations pale before the majesty and immense circumference of the original Creation.

We feel the joy of creation when we harvest homegrown basil and tomatoes just as God did when He surveyed His work. “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31)

Our pride and joy mirror His.

And one more thing.

Just like I am forever tinkering with my sourdough recipe, thinking that it might be better if I add cinnamon and raisins, or orange peel and toasted walnuts, or garlic and sesame seeds, God is constantly tinkering with us. His creation.

As Sarah Bessey says, “If we’re not changing, we’re not paying attention to either our lives or to the Holy Spirit.”

Just as sourdough starter evolves over the years, so do we.

Our flavors are deeper, the thoughts that bubble to the surface of our consciousness are richer and more complex, and we become more resilient as time goes by.

We are all works in progress.

Creation isn’t something that has happened in the distant past, it is happening right now, this minute.

Creation is happening in batik wall hangings and comic strips, in ceramic pottery and songs. It is happening in sourdough starter. And it is ongoing in each one of us.

How will you participate in creation today?

106 comments

  1. Absolutely, Laurie! Creation is an ongoing process to which we must remain open and malleable in the hands of God. When we create something, I believe that is when we feel the closest to our creator. And sour dough starter over ten years old? Wow! That’s pretty spectacular.
    Blessings!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Yes, orange and walnuts. These are my favorite bread additives (usually together). Wegmans does an amazing one with sugar coating the outside. I guess from prior conversations, I thought you were an evolutionist. This has a much more creationist feel. I go back and forth and different days yield different opinions. I suppose if I were god and I thought evolution left out some really good ideas, I would intervene and create the critter I wanted (platypus).

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    • That is my next combination to try. I think I am going to toast the walnuts first. I am an evolutionist. Definitely not a creationist in that sense. But the evolutionary ball had to begin rolling somewhere. And the direction evolution went could have been laid out from the very beginning. Who knows? Maybe when the first strands of DNA unraveled and split in a green algal soup all those years ago, a platypus could have been in the works.

      Like

  3. I am participating in God’s creation in my life by asking God to make me new each day. I want to surrender to the new thing He desires to do in my life and not be focused or mired in the past and stay stuck in what I’ve always been or have always done things.

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  4. I like your idea that creation is love. I’ve never had sourdough starter sitting in my kitchen, but I do love how you think about it, evolving over the years. Today I’m going to finish typing our favorite recipes into the computer, printing them out, then sticking the recipes in binders thereby creating our own family cookbooks. Hallelujah!

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  5. I participated in creation today by first reading your post. Marvelous! It is mind-boggling to sit and think of God’s creating the universe and us.

    I made all the bread we ate for years, and then we moved to England. I lost my starter and have never had a good one again. It was just a year or so ago that grandson Nathaniel gave me his recipe for a starter. It turned out to be a stopper for me. Hope you have a beautiful Sunday!

    Liked by 4 people

  6. I’ve often wondered the ‘why’ for some species. Amazing how many things God did create and give. Best of all though was we humans. Can not fathom how he knew all that we would need in our bodies. Beautiful His gifts have been, and yes, we are always in the creation process. Great reminder post.

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    • In rereading the post, I should have added with how he knew, of course, he knows all so he knew what we would need, but from my human aspect of all that goes on with our human body, it is amazing.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I am also amazed at how God anticipated all of our needs. His gifts have certainly been beautiful. They are being given every second of every day! Thank you.

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  7. I like the way you describe a blog post, that’s so true!
    Today, I participated in creation by drafting a post, exercising my body and by learning about how to prepare beetroots. The third one still needs to be implemented…

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    • When I first began blogging, I was so nervous sending my posts out into the world! Ooooh…my husband is always asking me to prepare beetroots. I am not a huge fan. If you find a good way to make them, please share! πŸ™‚

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  8. That’s something I have often wondered, with food and inventions and a number of things. “Who ever thought of this? Who got this idea that this was possible or this combination would be so good?” I remember when this thought first dawned on me–that we are creative because we are made in God’s image. It was in a book I was reading to my children. πŸ™‚ I had thought that people either were creative or they weren’t. And I didn’t think I was, because I associated creativity with being “artsy”–which I wasn’t. But I realized we’re all creative in different ways.

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  9. Love it, I find myself often laughing at some of the little critters I see, their shapes & markings are hilarious, this is one way I know God has a sense of humour I cant wait to get to heaven (not yet lol) & sit & have a laugh with Him about all of them. lol. My participation in creation today, I probably won’t run to it, haha, but of course our land I guess I create a space & plant & most of the time it grows & what grows creates its own echo system which in turn enables more growth creating more etc. Wow I just created a very verbose response. The bread looks so yum.

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    • I think you are exactly right – God must have a sense of humor. How else could you explain a platypus? You are so right – your land is your way of expressing your creativity. I never thought of that.

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  10. Wow – I never knew the science behind sourdough. Still don’t! LOL I need to read all that again. I have never made bread so am clueless. I am in awe of those who do though and that understand the process. Well done to you! Creation to me is all the little things I enjoy doing – crochet, watercolour painting, my blog, cooking dinner for the family, decorating the house etc. Funnily enough I wrote a post just last Thursday on Creativity! Have a wonderful week!

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  11. My mom used to have a starter that she kept fed, but she got tired of it. She found one that she can start a week before wanting to bake and doesn’t have to keep it going that she uses now. I, on the other hand, have never made sourdough bread. I love to eat it though.

    I, too, wonder what the world would look like had I been the creator. On more than one occasion I am thankful for buzzards and other animals that take care of the carrion in the world. I would never have thought of that, until it was too late. LOL

    I love the thought that “creation” is happening every minute in all we do. Thank you for your post.

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    • I think the longer I keep my starter, the more flavorful it becomes. More tang! Starting a starter the week before baking would be convenient, though! Thank you for your kind comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. There are some lovely thoughts here Laurie and you made me smile when you wondered who figured out the sourdough secret – I wonder about stuff like that all the time (like who decided to cook onions? or eggs? or to milk a cow? or even that meat tastes better cooked etc etc – and don’t get me started on poisonous things that aren’t poisonous if you do things to them – who died figuring that out?) And yes, I like to think I’m a work in progress and becoming more of the woman God created me to be.

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  13. Oh so true! My boys and I are always marveling over various things saying who do you think the first person was that tried eating a chicken egg? Who thought lets mix this these ingredients together to get cake?! I encourage them to use their imaginations and create all the time because who knows what the end results will be?!

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  14. I love the variety of God’s creation, and it is amazing that we get to create too. As you say, the care we take with our creations can teach us a lot about God’s love and care for us.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. A platypus really does defy every explanation, doesn’t it? I’ve often wished I was a sourdough baker – and yet I’m getting closer to thinking I could be. The commitment of the yeast is what worries me though… Again your ability to take something ordinary and weave it through your story is fabulous.

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  16. Love love love this post, Laurie …. you’ve touched on all my favourite things: running, with husband, sourdough, creative baking, creation, creative endeavours, work-in-progress.

    My favourite line which I will carry through today: “Creation in an act of love”.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. I can so relate to the joy of creating. Whether in cooking or making a necklace or a picture. Your sourdough with raisins, cinnamon, orange peel, and toasted walnuts sounds heavenly. And congrats for keeping a sourdough starter alive for ten years! As for platypuses, I think they show that God has a sense of humor. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

    • Theresa, you are so creative. I did not know about your other outlets for your creativity other than writing, but it is not surprising that you would have several. I think you are right about God’s sense of humor! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Look at you, casting your bread upon the waters! Wonderful post, pictures and descriptions. I had something longer, but it wouldn’t “take” so I will leave it go. Really appreciated the description of the way sourdough works, the science of it and the savoring of it. Blessings, Michele

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Such a wonderful affirmation that God’s creative Spirit resides in us, constantly inspiring and prodding us to participate in the great dance of creation!
    PS: I love sourdough bread but have never tried to make it…someday!

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Some serious food for thought here, Laurie. Don’t mind the pun!

    I often wonder about stuff like this. God is truly a genius to have designed so many different shapes, colours and sizes in animals! And each unique in personality too!

    Liked by 3 people

  21. Beautiful, Laurie! I LOVE bread baking, especially sourdough! But even more I love the privilege to “create”, we are definitely called to create, having been created in the image of a loving Creator!

    Liked by 3 people

  22. So thoughtful! In this season of doom and gloom, it’s so refreshing to think of creating, designing, imagining, dreaming.

    All will be well.

    And I love that you’ve had this starter for a decade. If we lived near by, I’d jump in the car and come over so you could share the gift of bread with me.

    I’d wear a mask. Promise!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Linda, you are a creative inspiration. Always thinking up such good topics for blog posts to get us thinking. I wish you could jump in the car and take some of my starter. I have shared it with many friends!

      Like

  23. Ahhh, Laurie. I loved this. I’m impressed you began your sourdough starter ten years ago. WOW! Your loaves look delicious; I wish I could eat sourdough bread, but alas, gluten is not my friend.

    That said, I love how you tied together creating and love. We are made in God’s image. He is a Creator, THE Creator, and He’s given us this aspect of Himself in creating us in His image. We get to create too. There’s something kind of amazing about creating something.

    For me, I’m going to create the next scene of a book I’m writing. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh, no! I am so sorry to read you cannot eat gluten. That seems to be so common these days. I appreciate too our ability to create. You do such a fantastic job creating blog posts that are beautiful to read and to look at. Good luck with your book!

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  24. Good on you for creating sourdough bread and then tweaking it. I am a pretty creative/intuitive cook but am not an adventurous eater but I can do my best to reduce my “food boredom” by making adjustments to recipes. I so had LOTS to learn about how to do this in my 14 months with no upper teeth and being HUNGRY! Seriously learning adaptability is good for me.

    Thank you for linking up your blog post today. Next week’s optional prompt is 7/51 Self Care Stories #1. 15 Feb. In this one, I am using the new category in my blog called Ageing Stories because it was a good fit. Look forward to seeing you there too. Denyse.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I am a FAIRLY adventurous eater. Some foods I will not eat, though. Beets and liver come to mind. And Jello. Oh my goodness, I did not realize your reconstruction took 14 months of you being without upper teeth! It is good you were adaptable! See you next week.

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  25. There are lots of things that make me wonder how they got started, like your bread starter. But when it comes to animals and such, I know exactly where they came from–God!

    I’m so glad to see you at ‘My Corner of the World’ this week!

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Laurie, I had no idea you could use pineapple juice to make a sourdough starter. Perhaps you could share your recipe sometime … I might be tempted to give it a try! And yes … amen to all the myriad ways people use their creativity to reflect their Creator. Despite what our culture might tell us, no one way of being creative is better or more important than another–I wish more people believed this!

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  27. We sure are works in progress and there is always room for improvement in my opinion. I like your analogy to your sourdough starter … your bread looks delicious Laura. I would like a piece now with butter and peanut butter on it. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! I always feel like I still have a LOT of room for improvement. I just made another sourdough loaf for dinner tonight. My grandsons love it and it went well with the lasagne I made. Mmmm…butter AND peanut butter on the same slice?

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      • Sounds good – you’re making me hungry Laurie. I always grew up having butter and peanut butter on toast, or on crusty bread. I don’t know why – was that a Canadian thing? A Mom thing? I’m thinking it would be dry without butter and just peanut butter. I have not had butter in a long time as I started buying Benecol a few years ago. How boring I am. And I switched from Crunchy Jif to Natural Jif which was healthier. I did have some chocolate for Valentine’s Day that I bought for myself for Christmas. I’ll have a little more on Fat Tuesday.

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      • I don’t know if that is a Canadian thing or not. We had peanut butter OR regular butter, but not both. Bill eats some kind of margarine but I still eat real butter. I don’t eat peanut butter anymore because of the added sugar, but Bill found some natural peanut butter with no added sugar. I just don’t think it tastes very good! πŸ™‚

        I was able to stay away from chocolate for Valentine’s Day. We did get the grandkids chocolate, though.

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      • Maybe it is a Canadian thing and we always had butter for cooking and for on toast/bread. I just started using Benecol after my mom was gone but I prefer butter. A lot of the spreads they put olive oil or other things in it – don’t care for the taste at all. I get the natural Jif but prefer the crunchy Jif as it tastes better. I only took these chocolates out as they would be expiring soon and I always give up sweets for Lent.

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      • My doctor told me she would rather see me eat butter than margarine! I was so surprised. I try to use it sparingly, but still…Good for you for giving up sweets for Lent. I haven’t thought about giving up anything this year. It seems like we already gave up so much for the pandemic!

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      • Yes butter has nore natural ingredients in it, I think that’s why. After my mom passed away in 2010, I decided I would give up the usual sweets for Lent and at the end of Lent, decided to give up sweets for good. I went several years, maybe five, with no sweets. What I did every Lent starting in 2011, was give up something I liked for Lent and then just give it up for good. That sounds good on paper, but eventually I had no favorites of anything: I have not returned to fried food, fast food, salty snacks or red meat but I still give up sweets for Lent. I have not had salted butter in about 25 years … my mom really watched her salt so we both ate sweet butter. Yes, no sweets after tonight. I don’t eat many anyway … just those cookies when I was making them for the Valentine’s Day pics and my friend Ann Marie drops off homemade cookies for Christmas and Easter for me. We have the jelly-filled paczki here and people still lined up for them at the big Polish bakeries, despite 8 inches of snow last night and brutal temps of -5F this morning.

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      • Right. I think that’s why my doctor told me to use butter. I think eating sweets is like an addiction. The more you do it, the more you want them. I just said to Bill tonight after dinner, “I wish I had one Hershey’s kiss for dessert!” I love paczki! There used to be a bakery near where my middle son went to college where they sold them. Yum!

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      • Yes, too many oils in margarine, even the spreads like “Smart Balance” or “Benecol” and yes sweets, the more you have, the more you want. I also gave up playing regular Solitaire on the computer for Lent. I love to play and think it is a good brain exercise and so I strive to win three games a day. I decided to give it up for Lent along with sweets. I bought some dark chocolate thinking I could savor one each day as it is heart healthy, good for you, but it has lots of fat. I bought one package only, but the rest will be after Easter now. We used to get our paczki at a Polish bakery – got our angel wings there too at Christmastime. They were so tasty, but they have closed down now … family business and the kids didn’t want to continue the tradition as they wanted careers in something else besides running the bakery. Their homemade bread was crusty and to die for!

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      • Hmmm…I love to do the Sudoku puzzle in the newspaper every day. I never thought about giving that up for Lent. I think that’s a good brain exercise too. We have to keep our brains sharp! I don’t think I am giving up anything this year. Bill loves some dark chocolate candy that we can only get around Easter. We went shopping today and didn’t see it. Whew! I was relieved not to have the temptation around. Too bad about the Polish bakery. That sounds wonderful!

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      • I’m going over to Reader first today but stopped here for a second. πŸ™‚ (You know how that is, but I’m five days behind in Reader.) I’ve never tried the Sudoku puzzles but I go on a Solitaire website and I figure it is good for my brain as I sometimes have to strategize what I can move to try win. Good mouse practice too. When I was learning Windows, I had a difficult time getting the hang of clicking for some reason … I didn’t click fast enough and our IT guy at work said “play Solitaire and you’ll get the hang of it” and it worked. I prefer using a mouse over the touch pad as I use a separate wireless keyboard. I was surprised the Polish bakery went out of business. All their baked goods were delicious. I agree – we have made concessions galore this past year.

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      • My boss edits everything – we cannot do a paragraph without multiple edits, so for me it is easier to use the mouse. I gave up Solitaire for Lent, but was bad as I switched to online Boggle which I deem good for the brain. πŸ™‚ I always need a little wiggle room it seems. Solitaire is good to play but I challenged myself to win three games a day, and it is basically “the luck of the draw” as to whether you get a good hand or not … I’ve had hands that are crummy so I start over as there is nowhere to go. If I have a bad day at work, I resort to a quick online card game to take my mind off it.

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      • I think Boggle is good for the brain too. Years ago we had the actual game and you could play it with someone or yourself. I used to like Scrabble back in the day. My mom used to like the big word search puzzles and used to get a monthly book of them. There are still some that she never got to, but this is so easy to just hop on and play a quick game.

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      • We used to have that game too. When my older 2 kids were little, video games were not too big. We used to play a lot of board games then. They liked Scrabble after my middle son won the game board in some kind of newspaper contest. By the time the youngest came along, they all wanted to play video games.

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      • You were smart to set a time limit Laurie.
        Having never played video games I did not understand why video games were the impetus for the Sandy Hook killings, since Adam Lanza was so obsessed with video games.

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      • I’m glad I’m not the only one in the dark about those video games … as the story of the killer was unfolding, they kept telling of how he binged on video game sin the basement. Everything is excess as to entertainment anymore – today I heard they want to eliminate a Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head and have a gender neutral character instead. Sigh.

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      • We went to Target today to buy a video game for our grandson for his birthday. We had to get help from the sales clerk. He probably was thinking “Old fogeys!” I heard the same thing about the Potato Heads! πŸ™‚

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      • Ha ha – I feel whenever I have to go to Best Buy for something that I am way out of my element and the millennial sales clerks are thinking the same thing. I was grateful when I bought the camera I had someone who was patient and spoke slowly. The Potato Head controversy made me shake my own head.

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      • Yes, I agree with you. It’s much easier for these kids than us. They’ve been using tech devices from an early age. I feel like a dinosaur sometimes. I don’t have a smartphone now, never used an iPod, tablet, nor have I used Zoom. I’d better get with the program Laurie!

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      • I do have a smartphone. I don’t know what I would do without it now. It’s amazing how quickly we become dependent on them. How did we get from point A to point B before we had GPS on our phones? Bill and I use ours all the time when we go to races, travel, deliver Meals on Wheels, etc.

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      • I will likely get a smartphone when I retire and give up the landline then. I only keep it for work as it is easier to check voicemail at work for my boss if I have to transcribe a lengthy message, although I know smartphones also have a speaker capability on them. I don’t have GPS in my car, so it would be helpful for me as I have gotten lost a few times as you know from my blog posts.

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  28. I’ve heard a lot about sourdough recently. I’ve eaten it for years but never really thought about how it’s made.Then recently I interviewed someone for an article who suggested they could “share their sourdough starter”. I didn’t know what that meant at the time, then I interviewed someone else for a different article who also mentioned their sourdough starter. Now that I’ve read your post, I know what a starter is!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Wow, congrats on keeping all those babies alive for so long. Bill *is* a Covid bread maker, but not sourdough. He has made Brioche in many forms, including sandwich buns (they are wonderful) … and killer crusty baguettes. So yummy, I won’t say it’s made our COvid stay-at-home worth it, but it sure had made it better.

    Liked by 1 person

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