No Yeast!

First, let’s start by the good. The weather has been stunning, and I’ve got some great runs in with magnificent scenery:

Things have been…interesting of late. More and more drastic measures are being taken in Switzerland these days to contain/limit the spread of COVID-19. I’m not going to harp on and on about it, since *everyone* seems to be. I’m tired, honestly. And I know it’s only the beginning. But a few observations:

  • I can really tell who are the introverts and who are the extroverts on my Facebook feed. The extroverts are all “Hey! Who wants to set up a Zoom chat – it doesn’t matter if we haven’t spoken in 20 years!” And the introverts are…quiet.
  • Schools are closed here in Switzerland, but day cares are open, and each town has day cares set up through the schools to look after the younger children, if needed. The idea is that children should NOT be looked after by their grandparents (the most vulnerable group), and yet, I am seeing more and more grandparents playing with their grandkids on playgrounds with other kids around, too!
  • Four or 5 days a week I go for a run in the mornings – 10k (+/-) through the woods and fields here. Normally, I see perhaps 2 or 3 people walking dogs. This past week, what with schools, restaurants and shops being closed, there are a lot more people around. A lot of them are also grandparents with small children. I suppose it’s better than hanging out at a playground…
  • Some people are disgusting. I went grocery shopping for the first time in over a week (we are trying to minimize contact with others, so we did a BIG shop, instead of our usual daily shopping trips). So many people were sneezing. And coughing. AND NOT COVERING THEIR MOUTHS!!!!!!! C’mon people! Ugh!
  • On this same trip, I noticed the strangest things were out of stock. Thai Red Curry Paste. Perfume rice. Olives. Certain other random things, but not toilet paper. (Apparently, at least the Swiss understand that the virus doesn’t make you poo constantly and you need a lifetime supply on hand.)
  • Oh, and yeast, both fresh cubes and dry sachets. I just wanted to bake some bread this weekend with my daughter, since the weather isn’t going to be that great, and I need a way to entertain my 4 year old!

So this brings me to my Grand Plan: making sourdough starter. I’ve done it several times before: living in Pittsburgh, Ann Arbor, Maine, and Bern. Each place had it’s unique flavor. But I haven’t made it in years, so I think it’s time to make it again (especially since I just got an awesome looking recipe for sourdough bagels! I’ll ask the woman I got it from if I can share it here…).

So I decided to base it off the King Arthur Flour recipe, using not King Arthur Flour (doesn’t exist here). So today is Day 1. It should be a 5 day process, which means I can FINALLY make bread sometime next week.

Lacking whole wheat or rye flour, as recommended, I am using Spelt flour. We’ll see how this goes. I used 100 g spelt flour and 100 ml cool water. Mix well until no dry flour is seen, cover loosely, then place in a warm spot.

Tomorrow I will discard half the starter, add 100 g of regular white flour and 100 ml cool water, mix, cover and let sit. Then there should be activity.

Tune in for the rest when I get to it…

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