This year I have been reflecting on time and sourdough. I have been fermenting baked goods in ways I have not done before – to see what happens when I let different ingredients linger a little or a lot.
Each kitchen and cook has a rhythm. As I work, I often wonder if recipes and methods are born when we try to meet our needs, our tasks or when they meet us. In my kitchen, both.
I’ve learned that when I am focused on what I can do during a particular “time slot,” I am focused on a particular outcome. But the beauty of fermentation and working with microorganisms is that they remind me that time is relative and fluid. Time is the ingredient that can develop a project into a new story.
The pathways are not set. And as we humans pass through times, we may not remember or be able to hold on to lessons from previous generations. Since progress, whatever that is, is happening, earlier lessons probably wouldn’t even fit us anymore. However, some of the microorganisms we don’t see may remember everything for us. We can relearn from them, or learn with them.
When I ferment, I give myself permission to be, not just to do. I can observe, accept or reject and work with the outcomes. The open formulas I use are not product-oriented. Instead of perfection, I seek connection with the process, and try to link myself to the opportunities for growth that my ingredients hold.
Here the fermented wild apples rye bars sheltering the last blueberries and grapes of the season.
Fermented Wild Apples Rye Fruit Filled Bars
Mix all ingredients and let ferment on the counter for the day. If longer fermentation is desired, continue fermenting in the fridge for several days.
2 cups flour ( wholemeal rye, wheat or we love all cornmeal or a mix of flours. For GF version, use GF starter or just ferment your favorite flour with milk kefir. )
½ teaspoon of salt
1 stick of butter, softened
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup of sourdough
About 1 cup of grated wild apples, if desired
2 tablespoons of milk kefir or whipping cream.
Split the dough into 4 pieces.
After fermenting, divide the dough into 4 parts.
Press a thin layer of dough into two loaf pans, lined with parchment paper, or greased with fat.
Fill the bars with jam or fruit preserves and cover with more dough. I use us my fingers to flat 2 inches pieces and lay over the fruit. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Sprinkle some cinnamon and sugar and bake. It will even out in the oven as it bakes.
Bake 350F for 35 minutes until golden. Let it cool completely before cutting into bars.