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Womancraft: On Making Bread, and “Woo” Thoughts

This morning, as I took the sourdough dark rye dough out of the refrigerator to continue its long, slow rise after its nighttime slumber, I saw it in a different way.

It is art, yes. An “artisan loaf” with fennel, anise seed, caraway, molasses and orange zest…

It is nourishment, certainly. My Husband and daughters will gobble in up and absorb it into the strength of their bodies, perhaps not even pausing long enough to slather it with butter, or turn it into a sandwich first…

It is science, absolutely. As I learned so well in my first attempts when forgetting to add the salt and finding an impossible-to-shape-knead-or-touch sticky dough…

It is magic, perhaps. The way water, flour, and salt come together to form something so much greater than the sum of their individual parts…

This morning, however, I saw myself as I imagine a gardener must (for I have found it nearly impossible to keep plants alive in my past).

I am GROWING our food, when I lovingly feed my rye sourdough starter each day…I can SEE its different responses the next morning when the slurry I carefully stir in each night is a different consistency…I can WITNESS my happy yeast babies rush forward to great me when I release the lid from their Mason jar home to pour some out and add to my recipe…I can FEEL the excitement of their beings as I let the mixed dough ferment and watch their dance create the air bubbles that will make bread rise or lift or crumb deliciously.

And while I have yet to have a single conversation with these creatures that I nurture daily, I am simultaneously proud of their growth and grateful for their gift.

I feel like this Mason jar’s mother…

And I finally get those women who name their starter 😉


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