I have serious love for the website Serious Eats, but I don't visit it very often. The main reason is because my husband has requested that I not, because every time I do, I get ambitious, and he sometimes grows weary of my kitchen experiments (and the accompanying messes).
Take the Sourdough Starter-Along that started on my birthday last year. I really wanted to do it, but given that I was 9 months pregnant and it was the holiday season, I decided to wait until later. I stumbled upon it again a couple of weeks ago and decided that right when I was going to start back to work was obviously the perfect time to get a starter going. Of course.
So I started at day one, with my clean jar, kitchen scale, flour, water, and spoon. I measured carefully, stirred it together, covered the jar, and waited. Two days later I started seeing bubbles!
I know it doesn't look like much, but it's pretty exciting (to me at least) that just flour and water and some magical little beasties (bacteria and yeast from the flour, water, and air) can come together, and with minimal effort and just over a week, be strong enough to make a loaf of bread rise!
Here's where I admit to being a horrible food blogger and not taking a picture of the bread I made. It was a nice looking loaf, but it also smelled delicious and came out of the oven while I was in the middle of making dinner, and then by the time that was over we were all starving and so, well, it disappeared before I could take a picture. The result was just slightly sour (I didn't leave my dough rising long enough for it to really develop that sour flavor), but I ended up with a nice, light loaf of bread.
Since you have to feed your starter every day, I had enough again on Sunday night to start some pizza dough for the pizza we'll eat tomorrow. And I had enough this morning to make more dough should I want to, but alas, I was out of time, so I put it in the refrigerator to sleep for a few days, until I have time to bake again.
With all the craziness in my life right now, it probably was not the best time for me to start this, but I have to admit, it's kind of fun to have this little project that doesn't take much active time but that also yields some pretty fun and tasty results.
(Even if you don't make the starter, it's pretty fun to read the Starter Along posts. I used the bread and pizza dough recipes from that series for my first starter experiments, but I can't wait to branch out!)