Sourdough for the Soul

In this episode...

With Thanksgiving and winter holidays around the corner, there’s no better time to spend than with baker and food artist Sarah Owens. 

Sarah is a California-based cookbook author, baker, gardener, and instructor, and she just might have the ingredients to help us learn to come to our senses with sourdough baking that could help you practice mindfulness in physical form. 

Today we’ll talk about our mothers and Sarah helps me troubleshoot my bad habits making sourdough bread. And we get some delicious recipes that will compliment your Turkey fixins this Thanksgiving.

Sarah won a James Beard award for her first book Sourdough and released her second in cook book titled Toast & Jam. Her third, Heirloom: Time Honored Techniques, Nourishing Traditions, and Modern Recipes came out just last year.

Healthy, or capitalistic pseudoscience?

Sarah began her baking career after going gluten-free to try to resolve debilitating health issues. She credits her study and practice of food fermentation with better digestive health. But she cautions about turning a health kick into a food obsession—when too much of a good thing isn’t so good, and how what she calls capitalistic pseudoscience in food marketing can mislead us:

“The gluten-free movement really took advantage of people not understanding where their food came from or how it impacted the body. And certainly, there’s nothing wrong with not eating gluten, but it’s very important to understand where something is coming from and why it is doing what it is doing [in the body.]”

But Sarah tells me it’s about how we bake, not what we bake.

“I always like to say with sourdough you never watch the clock, you watch the dough. You watch the starter.”

I prefer to think about pineapple upside-down cake and apple fritters!

“Creating a starter—creating a culture—is really just combining flour and water together. And when you understand the magic that happens from just combining these two seemingly inert ingredients…that’s a very incredible, very powerful thing that can happen in your kitchen.”

Sarah Owens
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