Recently, I discovered (via my friend Tereza’s blogpost) an awesome Czech invention that supports self-sufficiency, community and bread-baking in the form of a sourdough map!
In order to make sourdough bread, you need to make a pre-ferment (also called starter or lévain), basically a mix of flour and water, which you then expose to the air to capture natural wild yeasts and lactobacilli. However, this is a finicky process and more often than not you may end up capturing microbes in your dough that you really don’t want to eat and thus start over. There are also commercial sourdough starters sold in stores, but this third option must take the prize: What if you could just borrow your neighbor’s tried and tested starter and thus have a unique and yet successful bread-making experience?
The map is called Kvaskova mapa in Czech and shows all the locations in the Czech Republic where people have sourdough starter they are willing to share with others. If you find somebody in your city, click on the link and contact them per e-mail – the pins on the map specify also what type of starter they have and what you are expected to bring in return – ranging from a warm thanks over some seeds for the garden to a kg of wholewheat flour. The rate of participation is pretty impressive, too: from the looks of it, there must be hundreds of people signed up and at least one person in each major city of the country willing to help others with their bread-baking adventures.
The only other reference to a sourdough map that I could find on the internet is this one here, documenting the travels of a single sourdough starter in the US, which while also interesting doesn’t give the same utility.
Don’t you wish you lived in the Czech Republic just for that fact? Have you heard of similar projects in other countries?