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Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Sourdough Women

I have done a number of blogs on sourdough and using your own sourdough starter in your baking. Today's blog overlaps these previous blogs to a degree, but it has a completely different aim. I once again start off by showing you how to grow your own sourdough starter, but the intention of the blog is slightly more inspirational than practical. In my travels and dealings with people, I continue to cross paths with women who I refer to as sourdough women. These are women, who on a small scale, have a huge impact on their community. Just like a little bit of sourdough has the ability to leaven a whole batch of dough, these women have the ability to transform their own communities, one tiny action or a single person at a time. This blog is a tribute to these women.


When mixing a sourdough starter, it is best to start with a string flour. That is why I prefer to start with a Wholewheat flour. I add 2 cups (500 ml) of this to a large jar that has been properly cleaned. This is very much the way that women are made. We start life off with a clean slate and God makes us from a strong substance.


We need to add an element that will activate the starter, We will use a potato. Peel the potato. Isn't it true that most of us have also undergone some painful peeling processes in life and though these were not pleasant, they became the events that shaped us to become better adapted to living fruitful and useful lives.


The potato is then grated. These painful events can sit like a big unresolved lump in our insides, or we can digest it, grate it down an mix it into our being, so that it becomes part of us and makes us better than we would have been, had we not undergone these experiences.


In order for a sourdough starter to be activated, you need to add an agent that activates it. We therefore mix a grated potato into the flour. We, too, become activated once we have a 'grated potato' added. We become involved once things happen that makes us aware of the plight of people around us.


An essential element of any sourdough starter, is the addition of lukewarm water. I add 2 cups (500 ml). I believe this is true for us as well. We need to stop at the well of Life-giving Water, namely Jesus Christ, to receive the essential element that will make us successful in our task as human beings. God's transforming power in our lives, has much the same effect as the addition of water to the sourdough starter. Without the water, the flour and potato mixture will dry out and die. Water turns this into something that has the potential to live and to give life to others, to be more that it could ever be without the water.


Mix everything together. We do much the same thing when we transform our thoughts and minds to take on the character of Jesus. At last it is difficult to see where one ends and the other starts.


Cover with a net and allow to stand in a warm place for a day or three. During this time the bacteria in the air reacts with the starches in the mixture and at last it will start to bubble and rise up. Once it goes down again, the starter is ready. Similarly, we also need to mature, withstanding some of life's onslaughts, learning, becoming experienced, rising up, and becoming subdued again. When we finally learn that it is not our anger or righteous indignation that will change the world, but only God's grace, we become useful. We need to reach a place where we are ready to humble ourselves before God to be truly useful to Him.


Once the sourdough has risen up and fallen back again, it is time to feed it. We already have a strong base, so now you can feed it with White bread Flour. I add a cup (250 ml) of white bread flour and 1/2 cup (125 ml) lukewarm water. As faithful servants, we also need to feed regularly on God's Word and in prayer if we wish to remain useful to Him.


Allow the newly fed sourdough to stand for a day before using it.


Once the sourdough is ready to be used, we can add it to any dough mixture. I roughly work on a ratio of 1 cup (250 ml) sourdough starter to 3 cups (750 ml) flour.


I then allow that sourdough to get to work in the dough.


Pretty soon, that sourdough will have given rise to the dough, permeating the dough with a lovely aroma and taste, and making the dough more than it would have been had the sourdough not been present. This is exactly what sourdough women do to their communities as well.


You can knock such a dough back and reduce it again.


You can fit it into a little box.


You will find that sourdough will not be held back, it will expand, it will change its surroundings, and it will increase - just like sourdough women.


Sourdough women nourish their communities, just like bread nourishes the body.


Marietjie Uys (Miekie) is a published author. You can buy the books here:
You can purchase Designs By Miekie 1 here.
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