Sourdough, Baby! An Experiment – Day Four.

We’re just over the halfway point now, by the end of the week I’ll be able to put Demi through her paces and make some bread! Overnight she’s started bubbling a little bit more and there’s a light froth on her surface (sounds delicious, right?). She smells pretty good – slightly alcoholic, not quite yeasty. But it looks like we’re roughly on the right track. Bet I’ve just jinxed it… Still got time to fix her I guess? The recipe says I should start seeing the beginning of active fermentation and I guess, yeah – I do.

Being impatient as I am, of course I’ve looked ahead to the rest of the recipe. I’ve always done that – it’s not a good habit. I always read the last chapter before I get to the first. Bread, Cake, Doughnut, Pudding is a fantastically attractive book. The picture ahead of the completed sourdough loaf is simply to die for. It looks rustic, it looks slightly knobbly, it looks perfect. So that’s my theme of the day for my lessons in bread. Which is what I wished I had called this series. Anyhow – perfection.

It’s only recently that I’ve discovered the concept of perfection – long story short – is actually a lie. There’s the old adage – beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Yes, this is commonly used in the context of physical beauty, which is a whole other issue for another time. I prefer to view it in a more general context. It may come as no surprise, even if I haven’t written much so far, that I sometimes struggle with the ideas of self-love, self-respect – all of that. Anyone who knows me soon finds out I’m actually very negative (I’m working on it…). It was a shock, actually, going off to uni, this came up a lot. All of a sudden, I was surrounded by people who didn’t know me – when I was at school, people knew to laugh off my rampant statements of negativity. But when shoved in a room of complete strangers who may or may not know when I’m being sardonic (I’m not as hard on myself as I make out) – I’d often get reactions of genuine concern. Are you ok? Do you want to talk about it? You’re fiiiine, don’t be so down.

This all got me thinking. I’d say about 90% of the time these statements of self-negativity are baseless, they are pretty much something to say to keep things going. I dish out self-disrespect like confetti throughout almost all of my conversations. After all, I’ve always been terrified of coming across as arrogant. But I guess it’s also fair to say that there is some element of truth behind them, that hurtful 10%. I don’t hate myself – far from it – but some of the time, a lot of the time, there’s a sting in the tail of my words. I do feel them, more than a little bit. Especially around exam time – I feel inadequate. I feel stupid, and useless. It’s such a common statement – we’d never talk to others as we talk to ourselves.

The point at issue is that feeling stupid is actually completely meaningless. I reckon it’s by highlighting it, by bringing it up and dwelling on it, that it actually starts to settle in my mind. We create our own realities – if I spend all my time telling myself I’m not who I think I am – who I think I should be – I’ll never get the opportunity to try it out. I am limiting my own opportunities, my own potential.

Essentially, to cut out the ramble, I am perfect at one thing. The same thing that makes us all perfect. We are perfect at being imperfect. We are perfect at being us. Making perfect mistakes, perfect errors in judgement. This is such an empowering truth because it lets us see the so-called errors we make and use them to keep moving forward. The sooner we accept, the sooner we can move on.

Ingredients for Day Three
50 g water
25 g strong white bread flour
25 g wholegrain rye flour

Literally just do the same as the last few days. Add everything, mix it up and go send a mass text to all your friends and family telling them you love them. Or go to the beach. Let your hair down and use the next 24 hours well. Be your own perfect self.

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