C’est La Vie #26

A boule of artisan sourdough bread
Hi, how are you doing?

Doesn’t that question feel completely different right now than it did just a few short weeks ago? I use the word “short,” but often the hours drag. Then without warning, the next day I’ll realize it’s suddenly 5:15 p.m., and I really can’t remember what I’ve been doing for the last eight hours. It’s truly a day-by-day (but more like hour-by-hour) mood/time-warp situation. Does this ever happen to you too?

We are doing just fine here. Anxiety, heartache, gratitude, boredom, frustration, joy<—All emotions I might feel on any single day…unless you are asking my husband Ben. He will tell you I am feeling most of those emotions at any single hour.

Mostly, like the rest of us, I’m just doing the best I can. I hope this website is a place of respite and positivity for you. I’ve been hearing from more of you who have been making my recipes, and I can’t overstate how much happiness that brings me. The kitchen is long where I have found a sense of peace. If this website is helping you find some, that is one of the best gifts for which I could ask.

Speaking of the kitchen, if you follow me on Instagram, you might have met St. Germain, my sourdough starter (check out my sourdough highlight!). He’s named for my favorite neighborhood in Paris…as well as for a certain cocktail ingredient.

I’ve absolutely loved diving into sourdough, and it has become one of the most joyful parts of my Stay Home experience.

From learning about the process (fascinating, at least to this baking nerd!), to making the actual recipes (even as a novice, I’ve managed to pull off everything from artisan breads, to muffins, to waffles, to the best pizza dough, to popovers), and to the best part EATING IT, sourdough has truly been the most delightful adventure. I’ve learned so much and will link to a few of my favorite resources below.

Not into homemade bread? No biggie. Find something else that makes you happy (and yes, sitting on your couch counts). For all of my carb-driven productivity, I have yet to touch the unhung pictures in our basement, a chore I keep promising myself I’ll tackle, then putting off in favor of more interesting projects.

And of course, I’ve been doing lots of lounging on my couch and maybe a little bit too much online shopping. For your perusal, here are a few of my favorite finds this month (spoiler: LOTS of cute, comfy loungewear!).

Love the Colors of This Cute Sweatshirt. Plus it’s 40% off!

Adorable Floral Lounge-y Sweatshirt. And matching pants. I mean if you’re going to go for it, go for it.

I Might Not Ever Take This Off. A little bit fun and a lotta bit comfy.

I FOUND MY MOM JEANS. I’ve tried dozens of “boyfriend” and “mom” style jeans, and these are the first that are actually flattering. They are SO COMFORTABLE, I’ve been wearing them around the house instead of sweats (it’s true).

The Sweatshirt Everyone Is Asking Me About On Instagram. Yes, I have the matching pants (which look like they are sold out, but they have the shorts!).

Ultra Comfy Jeans. Snagged a pair on sale, and I am very excited to bust them out on days when I feel like I need to put on real pants…but don’t actually want to put on real pants. The wash isn’t too crazy in person. I think these will be great for summer!

Chic Joggers You Can Definitely Wear in Public. Can’t wait to be able to pull these on and head out to my favorite coffee shop!

Whenever I Start Doing My Hair Again. This is going to be the first thing I buy.

Cream That Is Saving MySkin. I put this on my face at night, and it feels wonderful when I wake up the next morning.

Nude(ish) Lipstick that is actually flattering (the color is called “Honey Love”). This is another purchase I’m saving for our first night out.

Reading. The Alice Network. It’s certainly a page turner! Next on my list after my sister’s glowing rec: A Woman is No Man.

Streaming. Some Good News.

Pantry Recipe We Can’t Stop Making. Vegan Brownies. No butter or eggs required and SO FUDGY. Even if you aren’t vegan, you’ll love them! Out of flour? Make these flour-free Paleo Brownies instead. For a savory pantry option, this Pasta al Limone is my current fave.

Foot Peel. Yes, I actually did this. It was gross but also oddly satisfying (and yes, it worked!).

Our Easter Dinner Menu. Bacon Wrapped Asparagus; the Paprika Chicken from this wonderful cookbook; a berry galette with sourdough pie crust (recipe not sized for two, but you won’t see us complain about the leftovers); sourdough popovers (see a theme?); wine.

The Homemade Pizza We Can’t Stop Eating. The topping combo is AMAZE (and we’re using my sourdough for pizza crust).

Because My Life is All About Bread. This tip to revive a stale loaf of crusty is fascinating.

crumb of artisan sourdough bread

Top Sourdough Resources.

  • A Beautiful Plate’s sourdough series. Her artisan sourdough bread is the recipe you see pictured in the photos here—this was my first-ever “bake” as they call it in the sourdough biz. I have much room for improvement, but I was pretty proud!
  • Girl Versus Dough also has a fantastic series.
  • The Perfect Loaf. A gold-star sourdough blog written by expert Maurizo Leo. You can lose yourself in a wealth of sourdough knowledge. I used his method for my sourdough starter but with whole wheat flour instead of rye. I also now use this method to make sure I have as little sourdough waste as possible.
  • Flour Water Salt Yeast. A great book to familiarize yourself with the basics of artisan bread baking, with lots of helpful step-by-step.

Kitchen Equipment I’ve Found Actually Necessary for Sourdough Bread Baking.

  • Kitchen Scale. A MUST; you’ll use it for other things too, trust me.
  • Instant Read Thermometer. Vital to bread baking to make sure your water is the right temperature.
  • Giant Mixing Bowl. For stirring up your dough. I love that it’s clear so I can more easily see how much the dough has risen.
  • 9-inch Banneton Basket. I’ve found it worth the investment to make sure my loaves rise well and don’t stick. Plus, this one comes with a bonus scraper and lame (which you will need to score the top of your dough).
  • A Bench Scraper. To divide and move the sticky dough.
  • Jars for Your Starter. These jars are ideal for a small or moderate starter quantity (what you’d need for one loaf; I ordered this larger size too). The straight sides make them easy to clean, and they hold up in the dishwasher. When you are feeding a starter twice a day, you’ll realize how vital these small traits are to your sanity.
  • Skinny Spatula. Great for daily starter feedings. It’s another little thing that will make a big difference.