Lessons from Veronica Jars, My Sourdough Starter (Yes, I Still Have One)


Way back in olden times, i.e., March, I joined the bandwagon and got a jar of sourdough starter from a friend. With the girls at home, I figured this could be a project we all participated in – math as we measure ingredients, science as we watch for bubbles, creative play as we figure out what to do with this week’s batch.

Sourdough Starter
Veronica before she’s had lunch – sad and hangry, just like me.

Yep, as you can probably guess, this held their attention for approximately 1.4 loaves—Wah wah.

But I kept with it. I mean, at this stage, Veronica Jars* is my closest confidant. I’ve definitely seen her more than any of my other girlfriends over the last few months! She’s been witness to my happy days when together we made pizza on the grill while the girls played in the backyard pool and the angry days when I added chocolate chips and dried cherries to the dough because if they ask for screens one more time, I may jump off a cliff! Ronnie has given me at least one win each week and, like a good friend, always challenges my complacency with well, complacency.

As a matter of fact, when I prepared the starter to make bread using the same recipe I’ve used for the last however many weeks for pictures for this very post, V refused to go along. She realized I’ve been giving half-hearted attention to her (and well, everything in my orbit), so she declined to rise as she should have. Instead, perhaps due to the heat, humidity, or just plain stubbornness of any female that lives in my house, she stayed a gloppy mess of flour, water, and exhaustion.

Or maybe that’s it. Even as we’ve plowed into summer, I’ve still baked at least one thing from her every week. We’ve had delicious chocolate chip cookies, crazy good crackers that go great with The Dip, and pancakes or waffles every weekend. Additionally, I’ve made two loaves of sandwich bread every week since April.

But today she gave up. She said no more. I’m working her too ragged, and there’s no place to take a break. She feels trapped in a home that she knows couldn’t love her anymore, but my lamb, they are always around, and stifled by the pressure to keep going, going, going and…Oh wait, that’s just me. I’m not a starter. I’m stopping now.

Okay, Veronica Jars. I hear you. I bought bread at the grocery store that will work just fine. I also picked up a few new books from the library. Let’s all take a break this week.

If you would like to start this project yourself (and/or need a friend a la Wilson in Castaway), check out this recipe for a starter. Alternatively, ask around in your friend circles. I don’t think I’m the last holdout from spring.

* Yes, Veronica Jars. I learned from an article in my favorite magazine, Cherry Bombe, that any good baker names her or his starter as if given the proper care, they may be with the family for generations.


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