Sourdough Secrets: Lessons in Patience, Persistence, and Spiritual Growth

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Long after the trend of sourdough baking started I decided to jump on the bandwagon and try it out for myself. My routine had been busy enough, but I thought it would be worth giving it a try so we could have fresh healthier bread made at home. I used a shortcut and bought one of those dehydrated starter kits, and then dreaded another couple of weeks after it arrived to find the energy to try it out. The whole time I kept thinking how the whole process was going to be time consuming and I would probably do something wrong. Getting out of our comfort zone is definitely not easy, but like so many things in life, I knew I had to at least try. 

The first step was rehydrating the starter, a process that would take up to four days. After four days I was able to "feed" it regularly and, according to the instructions, even start baking. I was so excited, after waiting days and being so dedicated to feeding that little blob of flour and water. I just didn't know enough, of course I wasn't an expert. My starter wasn't growing enough after the feeds. For weeks, over a month actually, it was painful to watch after each feeding and twelve hours later - nothing. I researched online for all the tips, what could have gone wrong, some people say that the starter needs weeks to "mature" and grow like it should, but in this case I bought a dehydrated starter from a supposedly mature one, and I would see so many people online baking their loaves after the first feeding. Why was mine not working if I followed all the instructions correctly?

And there, my friends, is where the spiritual and emotional part of this journey enters the stage. I am sorry if you clicked on this post to check a very successful way to bake sourdough. This post is to show you my reflections on how this whole process made me feel, and how God taught me - and my kids - some lessons along the way. I have to add the excitement of my children when they learned I was in the process of learning to bake sourdough. They LOVE sourdough bread with grass fed butter, it's one of their favorite things to eat. As a mom and nutritionist, I was also excited to be able to feed them something that is fermented (which increases the prebiotics and can help with digestion), and has vitamins and minerals, at the same time it won't spike their blood sugar the same way regular bread would. So, back to my kids, I knew they were watching. They were watching and they could see my frustration in every feeding. They saw the hard work and the time consuming process.

But they also saw their mom not giving up. They saw me trying and trying again. Once my daughter asked me if I was going to cry or stop trying. I remember telling her that yes, I felt really sad and frustrated because things were not working as they should, but I also told I was going to keep trying because I wanted to be able to do this for my family. I remember praying and asking the children to pray for my starter to grow. And during all this process, even with some attempts of baking bread when the starter wasn't active enough (which resulted in so many loaves that didn't look great, but all tasted good and were gone fast!), my children would keep asking: when are you going to bake bread again? It's so good. And that for sure kept me motivated, because I wanted to do this for them, from the bottom of my heart.

Most days I patiently waited, some days I would just think about throwing it all away and maybe even looking for a new starter in the future. I considered taking a break, but I just couldn't. Every morning the kids would ask: are we having sourdough today? And that would warm my heart and, at the same time, it wouldn't allow me to stop, as much as I had considered it. To make the story shorter, one month and a half later, the starter miraculously started growing as it should. It was bubbly and active, and I was looking for more recipes: sourdough rolls, sourdough sandwich bread, sourdough pancakes, sourdough cookies… it was like a dream come true. I have my own bread making routine now and have been gaining more confidence. 

Until today, every time I bake bread is a time I talk to God. Whenever I have to work on the dough, to fold it consistently, to shape it, I keep thinking about how the Lord has been constantly working on me, on my character, on my desires. How the Lord is generous in teaching me lessons He knows I have to learn. How many times it hurts, it is frustrating to hear a no, it is frustrating to wait, but still you have to keep going. As we read in Philippians 2:13 "for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure." He works in us, friends. We have to be willing to surrender and be shaped by The One who knows better than us. So many times the journey is hard, and it's not only the sourdough journey! Life is hard, and moms have so many daily challenges. But if we let ourselves be shaped by the Lord, we'll see His beautiful works as we GROW like sourdough (and it takes time! It's a long fermentation process!), but just like the tasty bread, the Bread of Life is SO worth it! 

I pray that my story would serve as an encouragement to you! May we all allow ourselves to be shaped and folded by our Creator.