I made yeasted bread without the use of a little packet. I harvested yeast off the skins of plums from a tree in my backyard and pulled yeast right out of the air. These things, some rye flour, and water were the ingredients I used to make a sourdough starter so robust it has twice bubbled out of a large jar and has got a corner of my kitchen smelling yeasty. Yesterday and today I baked my first bread with that starter, and it worked! It tastes good and has a nice texture.
To many people in the world today and in the past this process was commonplace. It was called “making bread.” But to me who lives in this dependent-on-the-power-to-purchase time and place, it is a miracle and a liberation. Yum!
Thank you to Sandor Ellix Katz for his fascinating and effective book Wild Fermentation, where I found the instructions to make the sourdough starter and the recipe for onion-caraway rye bread.