by Emily Esterson
Scrolling around the other day, I came across a picture of chocolate sourdough bread.
As you already know, social media is not a good place to express one’s political opinions; however, it is a good place to get a baking idea. At the moment, I can’t think of a single other thing, not a one, that social media is good for outside of baking ideas. But I digress.
A few weeks ago, it sure seems that the *100th monkey (read: 100th baker) decided to make focaccia. The hundredth monkey is a hypothetical phenomenon based on the idea that a bunch of monkeys on separate islands who have no contact with each other will all suddenly learn how to wash the dirt off a sweet potato at the same time; in effect, a new behavior or idea is spread by unexplained means. Or so Wikipedia tells us.
Of course, the theory of the 100th monkey is made null and void by the fact that I know exactly what that guy in Cardiff, Wales, the one I follow on Instagram, made this week. Now if Cardiff dude and I were not weakly connected through a mutual love of Baking Porn, and:
- He made focaccia,
- While I simultaneously also made focaccia,
- And so, likewise, did 98 different people, all at once, none of them followers of the same Bread Porn Instagram (BPI) feeds…
maybe this would be a true 100th monkey moment.
But fact is, suddenly all over my BPI were images of people poking their puffy focaccia dough and artfully arranging vegetable toppings in the shape of a tree branch, or a heart, or whatever-the-fuck to make it look pretty.
It took a few weeks of this gentle back-of-the-mind (i.e., other metaphorical monkeys) nagging me to finally get to it, and, when I did, I spent a lot of time artfully arranging some tasteless Albertson’s cherry tomatoes (which sadly did not become tastier when they were baked) on my focaccia dough, after poking it.
Those monkeys were right. The focaccia was good. Really good. And damn straight, I posted a picture of it.
Then there was the chocolate sourdough.
I don’t know which baker had that one in their post, but I’m pretty glad they did. As basically a conglomeration of two of my favorite things, dark chocolate and bread, it took me no time at all to decide to bake that one.
The bread itself was not actually chocolate sweet, but instead a tiny bit bitter (since I used unsweetened cocoa in the dough) and also sour (thanks to Tribble’s summer tastiness) with tiny explosions of dark chocolate goodness (in the form of a sprinkling of chips throughout.). Yeah baby! (Editor’s Note: Do not eat dark chocolate sourdough within seven hours of trying to get some sleep. It won’t happen. The eating will; the sleeping won’t.)
It’s kind of nice being the 2nd monkey instead of the 100th.
Some days I feel like I want to yell at people who are all excited about pandemic quarantine sourdough: “I WAS HERE FIRST, DAMMIT!.” A friend texts me to tell me “Good Morning, America” or “Sunday Morning” is doing a segment on sourdough baking. I’m like, yeah, whatever. Wannabes.
Actually, that’s not entirely true. I’m pretty happy that there’s a whole new tribe of people who have discovered how fun it is to bake. And when I post this picture of chocolate sourdough, will someone in, say, Amiens, see my post and decide to bake a chocolate sourdough? I hope so, for their sake.