While it’s often difficult for young urban couples in dense living quarters to have a pet, we have managed it. Say hello to Sparky:

Starter, dough, and finished product

Isn’t he cute?*

We bake a loaf of sourdough about twice a week off the little tyke, using a no-knead recipe adapted from the famous Sullivan Street Bakery one that subs him in for the yeast. Admittedly this is all the result of a certain amount of tinkering, but I think the quality of the product and the ease with which it is produced speak for itself.

We use 90 grams of a 125% hydration starter culture (that’s Sparky) along with 560g of flour (bread if we have it), 400g of water, and 12g of salt — that works out to 75% hydration. Mix (we use a stand mixer) until integrated, then cover in plastic and leave for 18-24 hours. Proof for two hours on a cornmeal-covered cloth; at 90 minutes, preheat your oven to 475 and put a dutch oven inside it. When the proof is done, put the loaf in the dutch oven (shake around a bit to make sure it’s not folded over on itself), cover, and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the cover and bake another 15. Remove from the oven and be happy.

*The story of how he came to live with us is one I’ll leave to in-person retelling, if only because I basically can’t get over the way Sugar Girl longingly says “Puppy?”