Starter. The catalyst of a beginning. Everything requires a beginning…a relationship, a home, a job, a vacation, a great meal. Everything must start somewhere. In cooking terms, a starter is most often associated with bread. A typical starter consists of flour, water, and yeast. Simple ingredients mixed together, tended carefully, with the end result being a magnificent loaf of bread.
In life terms, a starter is the beginning of a connection. One person intentionally befriends another. A simple lunch uncovers shared experiences and friendship blossoms. Tended carefully, the end result is a magnificent relationship.
All because of a starter.
Not only is this Sourdough Bread recipe absolutely amazing, the story that accompanies it most fitting. The recipe came from my friend Cay Greer who is the picture of hospitality. For 10 years, Cay was involved in the college ministry and fed, in her home, 12-50 hungry college student a week. Think how much food it takes to feed that many college students! This is only one example of the many, many places Cay has served. A Cay-greeting is one of delight, a warm hug, often accompanied by a latte. Conversations with Cay are intentional and satisfying, with phones silenced and interruptions set aside.
Maybe you’re thinking, “Some people are just born that way.” Possibly true, but as Cay shared this recipe, she shared that it was her mother-in-law, Sally Greer’s recipe, and it was Sally who taught her about hospitality. Cay and her husband, Tommy, have been married for 34 years and in those years, Cay watched Sally’s intentional hospitality. She saw Sally serve not only enough food for everyone present but more than enough…an abundant provision which ensured all were satisfied. Still today, Sally’s table always has a seat for everyone and everyone is invited.
Senior Minister Ethan Magness recently challenged everyone to “lean into the gap” of hospitality. Press forward in extending intentional hospitality rather than backing away.
Cay most definitely leaned into the example Sally set. The countless lives that Sally touched and continues to touch carries forward in Cay. How many college girls will say Cay Greer taught them about hospitality!
Onto the bread! Sourdough bread requires starting, feeding, and tending before that magnificent loaf comes out of the oven, and you can do this.
FROM THE RECIPE BOX OF CAY GREER & SALLY GREER
2 pkgs Yeast (4 1/2 t)
1 1/2 c Water
2 c Sugar
3 T Instant Potatoes
Mix yeast and ½ water and let stand for 5 minutes in a bowl. Add rest of water, sugar, and potatoes. Cover loosely and leave at room temperature for 8 hours. Refrigerate for 3-5 days then begin bread process.
MORNING – Sourdough starter must be regulated (fed) every 3-5 days as follows: remove starter from the refrigerator and add ¾ c sugar, 3 T instant potatoes, and 1 c of water. Mix well and leave at room temperature all day. Then remove 1 cup of starter for bread and return the rest to the refrigerator. Repeat every 3-5 days. If not making bread after each feeding, give away the 1 cup of starter or discard.
EVENING - Place 1 cup of starter in a large bowl. Add ½ c sugar, ½ c corn oil, 1 T salt, 1 ½ c warm water, a 6 c bread flour. Stir into a stiff batter and place in a greased bowl. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and leave out on the counter overnight to rise.
NEXT MORNING – Punch dough down and divide into 2 parts. Knead each part until smooth and place in 2 greased loaf pans. Brush with oil. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise 6-12 hours.
EVENING – Bake on bottom rack at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
Lots of steps but each one doable. Requires time and patience – intentional planning. Again, you can do this! While this bread is absolutely delicious toasted and slathered in butter, it also makes an awesome turkey, bacon, and avocado sandwich! Best summer sandwich ever!
Stay tuned for our next Summer Cookout recipe! What have you been cooking this summer? I would love to hear from you!