Almost a year ago my niece offered me a sourdough starter. I had NO idea that it was a trend, I was simply interested in offering my family a healthier version of bread so I gladly accepted it. 

Even though the starter came with instructions, I was out of my league. I was familiar with the traditional kneading and proofing process of bread made with packaged commercial yeast. I had so many questions. Discard? Daily feedings? Stretch and fold? Scoring? Fermenting? The list went on. So I did what any baker-wanna-be would do: I turned to the Internet for education. What I found was a lot of opinions, a lot of advice from professionals, and a lot of ignore everything that you read and do your own thing. **so helpful, right?**  I forged ahead and made my first loaf.

I’d like to share a little of what I’ve learned about life and business on my sourdough bread journey.

First, have a plan. I have to plan about a day and a half before baking. I also learned that taking shortcuts gave me less than desired results. My first loaf was barely edible. At times I took shortcuts to make the starter rise faster. Occasionally, I miscalculated my timing. The same is true for marketing. I create a content plan in advance–months in advance. Shortcuts and rushing to create content for the sake of creating can lead to errors. 

Second, know which tools you need and which tools are optional. I’ve discovered that I don’t need a fancy banneton or scoring tool or even a digital scale to make good bread for my family. If I were to become a professional I might need them, but that’s not my intention. In marketing having a strategy, an editorial calendar and using the right online platforms are required. Project management tools, an image creation tool, and a content scheduler can make your efforts easier but are really bonus tools. 

Third, trust the process. I went on a 5 week trip shortly after starting my sourdough journey. Being new to live cultures, I was concerned the starter would die being left unattended for such a long period of time. Upon my return, I was delighted to see it was what I call “hibernating.” I stirred in the hooch and began my regular feeding schedule again and soon enough I was baking fresh bread for my family. It’s not unusual to make business decisions with limited insight; we can be uncomfortable not having a clear idea of the outcome, even though we’ve done the research. Should I hire that person for the role? Should I invest in that new software? Sometimes life throws curve balls that are out of our control and we have to do the best we can under the circumstances. A team member had a medical emergency and will be out for a week or two. Who’s going to pick up the slack? You have everything you need to be successful, and overthinking isn’t going to solve the problem. Trust yourself!

As I continue on my sourdough bread baking journey, I plan to expand into more creative ideas, things like English muffins and bagels. And if I’m invited to your home for any type of occasion, you can expect me to bring along a loaf as a gift.