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  • Louise Fuller

My new alpha: Cassio 2.0

Updated: May 26, 2020


Most days I get up as early as I can bear, go downstairs, get myself a mug of Pukka Herbs Echinacea and Elderberry tea and check in with my latest book. I’ve been doing that same routine for roughly five years now, and I probably would have carried on doing it, but then, lockdown happened.


Like everyone else around the world, having my whole life turned upside down has been a mix of good and bad, and like a lot of people I have been trying new ways to pass the time without leaving the house.


So now, I have a new routine, and a new Alpha who is demanding, vigorous and hungry for attention.


Not once, but twice a day.


His name is Cassio 2.0, and he is my sourdough starter. (Guilty secret: he had a predecessor but I let him die, that’s why he’s Cassio 2.0.)


Now before I go to my office, I make a quick detour to the kitchen. I remove and discard about half of Cassio; measure out and add his flour and water; clean his jar and put him somewhere warm. I then repeat the whole process in the evening.


To be honest, at the beginning I found our relationship exhausting and a little one-sided. However, as you can see above, in the last few days, Cassio has been sharing the strength of his rise and making me feel very special.


There are loads of sourdough-specific websites and blogs that are excellent so I’m not going to include a recipe here. Basically all you need is flour, water and a jar. But in my experience you will also need quite a bit of discipline and some faith.


After you have your starter, and by that I mean a really healthy, bubbly, active starter, things get a little easier. Sourdough doesn’t need kneading, just stretching and folding, and there are loads of ways of incorporating the process of rising, resting and proofing into your day.


For detailed schedules go to Mike Greenfield’s video, 15 Mistakes Most Beginner Sourdough Bakers Make. The video is very helpful, and you can click on a link to his five stress-free bread baking guides.


For everything else I would go to www.northwestsourdough.com. Teresa Greenway is calm, reassuring and has an encyclopedic knowledge of bread making. She talks you through the whole process from making a sourdough starter to baking in her lovely, gentle voice.


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