Earlier this year I got inspired. I was going to fully utilize the gifts God had given me and embrace ancestral food preparation. Week by week we added new things on the plate–there is still some resistance to the double fermented kefir, but I am not losing confidence. We somewhat successfully worked our way through the list…until last week. Sprouted Spelt Sourdough sounds so easy. I mean, its name is an alliteration so how could it not be pure perfection?
I created a sourdough starter and fed it regularly. I even burped it. After two weeks of “dough sitting” it was alive and very active (as is evident from its prolific hooch production). I took out my starter and gave it a good feeding of sprouted spelt and special water. Eight hours later, I started adding more flour, kneaded it and then let it rest for an hour so autolysis can occur. After that, add more flour and water and kneaded again. Rest. Then you oil it up for the first rise. Punch it down. Rest. Shape it and allow for a second rise. Then you follow very specific directions on how to slash the top (angles, not straight so you don’t undo all your hard work) and then almost 24 hours after you started this process, you put it in the oven and hope for the best. Friends, this sourdough thing is a full-time job.
I put mine in the oven and was super thankful everyone was out of town as the first attempt was an utter failure. It went straight into the trash. I tried again the second day…and then the third. Finally, I got something like this:
My daughter stated it best, “mom, this tastes good, but it feels like lead. What did you do wrong?” Here is where it would be really easy to end the story. After three attempts I could call it a failure and move on to something else.
How often do we do that in life? We feel called to do something and it doesn’t happen in our timeframe so we simply abandon it. No one likes to feel like a failure, so we just move on.
We sometimes forget the words of Romans 5: 3-4 We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame.
Hope is a pretty powerful thing. The New York Times recently featured a study done by MIT. It was huge–encompassing 21,000 people in six countries. People were given either a cow, some goats or even bees. In India alone, this project yielded a 433% economic return. That means the individual’s wealth increased more than 4 times. It wasn’t due to the animals alone. They found that the people who received the animals increased the number of hours they worked, took odd jobs and experienced an improvement in their mental health. What did the researchers attribute this astounding change to? Hope.
Hope, or the belief that things can get better, can literally change your life.
Faith and hope are often compared to a mustard seed
“It is like a mustard seed which is the smallest of all the seeds on earth. Yet, when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.” Mark 4:31-32.
It may start or appear small, but, hope is powerful and life-giving. It also appears to be one of my favorite topics as I keep coming back to it.
Some of you are rolling your eyes. “Really, girl,” you are saying. “You are equating not being able to make bread with…” Faith and hope start in the small things. I was really ready to give up on the sourdough, but then I saw a post on my FB feed with a new recipe. God says that He know the number of hairs on our head so why would He not care about me feeling like a failure? I took that new recipe as a gift from Him. James 1 talks about facing “trials of many kinds.”
It then goes on to say that we must, “believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed about.” (James 1:6) I imagine the small things like this sourdough issue as adding planks to my boat. Everyone knows that a large tanker can weather a storm easier than a small dinghy. When we experience success on one area, it helps us embrace hope in another. It adds to the size of our “boat.”
There are times in life when we are knocked to our knees, but I believe that you have your own sourdough success stories that will give you hope which allows you to be propped up until you eventually stand again.
Hope is such a beautiful thing.
What is your sourdough story? What fuels your hope? Please share!
Deanna is a wife, mother and life group leader who daily lives in the Grace of God’s Goodness. She also loves alliteration and a good, long run.
P.S. Failing a little–or a lot–at something right now? Here’s a bit of encouragement. http://prize31.com/failing-fabulously-by-deanna-duncan/