It is the time you have wasted for your sourdough bread that makes your sourdough bread so important

Photo: Birgitta Eva Hollander

Photo: Birgitta Eva Hollander

I really like to bake bread. And then, a warm slice with loads of salty butter. The downside is that I can’t eat so much bread, but I’ve found my ways. In our cold room we have a big bag of organic, whole grain emmer, low on gluten and high on the good stuff. I recently got a sourdough starter, which makes the bread even more digestible (and delicious), and, most importantly, I let time do its thing.

During the darkest months of the year, we often turned off all the lights inside and gathered around the hearth. My mother called it twilighting, and we looked at the flames and the embers as the dark blue and purple light outside flowed in through our windows and slowly became one with soot and bodies and the glowing space between us. The room was full of dancing shadows. We didn’t have time. We were emerged in it.

Every weekday morning I get up early to make coffee and lunchboxes and breakfast and life. Every weekday morning I feel like I’m under pressure. Am I? Am I really under pressure? I try to get the boys out of bed early enough (and into bed early enough...) to have some time together before we rush out of the house. Break bread, laugh of our silly jokes, get some warm clothes on. And then, more warm clothes. Every weekday morning I try to remember who I am. Who am I? Am I really under pressure? There’s almost never enough time. Elia needs to be in school and we often believe the thought that it is important to be there when the bells ring. So we run. And my breath shortens. And they don’t finish their bread. And I yell at them for not getting their bloody shoes on. And we run. And I drive really fast. And I try to laugh it off. And we run. And we make it, two minutes after the bells ring. 

I just read about a shipping company that’s using traditional cargo ships to sail their loads around the world. In the garden, underneath the humble snow that came last night, are sunflower seeds and tiny onions, patiently waiting. The boys are in school. My mother, when I give her a call, often sits by the hearth, her feet stretched out towards it, almost like sunflowers and onion greens stretch towards the sky. And in my kitchen, I prepare the dough in the afternoon and leave it until the next morning. It takes almost 24 hours before we can eat our freshly baked bread. I wish it would take even longer. The dough, the fermentation, the melting butter. The boys. The fire. These are my teachers. It is time.


(Bread. Recipes bore me. Nevertheless, here’s an idea of a slow bread:

2/4 Emmer flour
1/4 Spelt flour
1/4 Buckwheat flour
A small cup of oats
Sesame seeds
Sunflower Seeds
Sea salt
A pinch of yeast
Sourdough deliciousness
Enough water (and then a little more)

Mix it and give it some love. Leave covered for the night. Give it some more love and distribute it in loaf pans greased with butter. Leave for another hour, then bake on 180C for about an hour. Take it out of the pans, dance for an hour. Add salty organic butter and love.)

(Have some cargo to ship? Check out Fairtransport.)

(Yes, the title is borrowed and remixed from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and his Little Prince. Here's the original: “It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”)