We’re heading off to Northern Ireland tomorrow for our Christmas sunshine break (from the perspective of those of us who live in Southwest Scotland) so this week I baked what will probably be my last sourdough loaf of 2018 (I did for one mad moment consider taking Jimmy-the-starter on holiday with us, but then I remembered how much I love the wheaten loaf we can buy at the baker there and I came to my senses).

sourdough loaf

This marks an unusually successful new year’s resolution for me – I thought I’d posted more regularly about my sourdough adventures but actually, even by the low standards of this blog, after I’d got the hang of it there was genuinely nothing interesting to say about it. I could probably have made life a bit more complicated for myself by experimenting more but once I found a recipe that worked, I didn’t really want to complicate things.

Instead I’ve just got on and have been baking a loaf of bread approximately every five or six days for the whole year, holidays excepted – we’ve only had to buy two loaves at the supermarket since the project started and that was only because we’d been away – the only real complication in baking sourdough comes from the lead time involved. I did a little calculating and – allowing for the cost of the flour and the electricity for the oven – we’ve saved somewhere between £20 and £45 (depending on the type of bread we would otherwise have bought) as a result. This is definitely a habit I will be maintaining and, who knows, I might even get a bit experimental in 2019.

So that leaves my other resolution, which was to get better at bike maintenance. To be honest – despite one or two minor successes – hasn’t gone so well. Indeed, I have to confess that a couple of weekends ago, when I got a puncture in town, I just took the bike to a shop and paid to get a new inner tube fitted. I go back and forth on this one. While I can perfectly well rationalise not needing to be handy with my bike, it’s still slightly annoying that I have taken to doing the stereotypically female thing* like a duck to water whereas it’s clear I’m never going to subvert expectations and become an excellent bike mechanic.

Having thought about it a bit more, though, I’ve decided that – while I have no ambition to learn how to do anything complicate – it’s still a bit feeble not to be able to do the absolute basics and, specifically, to view the prospect of fixing a puncture with dread. Like it or lump it, Bastard Big Thorns scatter the land around here, so one day I’m going to have to deal with it on my own, and I should be prepared. And besides – that expensively fitted inner tube I got last week? It’s developed a slow puncture.

old blackthorn bush

When hedges like these line your road, punctures are only a matter of time

* although if my twitter feed is anything to go by, making sourdough (or at least tweeting about it) is a largely male pursuit.

3 Responses to Sourdone

  1. juliaL49 says:

    It’s the opposite for me! Rye sourdough is ok but the wheat is actually getting worse (last one ended up as breadcrumbs although I discovered a fantastic recipe for vegetarian burgers through that).
    Punctures are no problem – I’ve fixed dozens incl one on my Brompton last week. It was the derailleur that defeated me though and I had to take the bus home to look up videos on how to do this.
    I heartily recommend this for any bike maintenance.

  2. Brenda says:

    I can change the inner tube no probs (even the back one, with no quick release, though that one does require reference to the great google mechanic and half a lifetime) – but there’s no way I can get the pressure up high enough with a carryable pump and my poor delicate female arm muscles. So if I were more than bike-pushing distance from home I’d have to hope for a shop (or, horribly stereotypically), a helpful passing Man to do it for me.
    Can’t make bread though.

  3. disgruntled says:

    Brenda and Julia – glad to see some of us are bucking the stereotypes! Perhaps we should team up. I’ll bring the sandwiches…

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