A lot apparently. As I develop my fourth or fifth sourdough starter, I am reminded of how much patience goes into this process. I had gotten to the point where I believed that I could troubleshoot any problem with my starter, and yet it is being very finicky and not wanting to cooperate. Perhaps I am taking too many shortcuts with my feedings, or maybe I am not feeding it at the correct ratio and need to adjust it… it could be a multitude of things. The environment may not be conducive to growth, it may be that my timing is off… all things that can be applied to friendship.

In my early friendships, I was always a problem solver. There was no issue or conflict too big for me to tackle. I became so efficient at solving the problems that others were having, however, that I neglected to figure out my own stuff. This confidence in helping others did not translate into helping myself. Being an expert troubleshooter with others doesn’t necessarily mean you are with yourself, or that you will ultimately be able to navigate every situation. Overconfidence, therefore, is a problem in baking as well as friendships.

Shortcuts are also problematic in the world of friendships as it is in baking. I remember once thinking that I could make two different events with different friends in one evening if I did not disclose the truth about what I was trying to accomplish. I ended up hurting both people and not enjoying either event as a result. Just as with baking, you get what you put into a friendship and the effort should reflect the investment you intend to make with each individual.

Environment also plays a part in both friendship and baking. I joined a club in college that did not fit with my values or personality in any way. It was the kind of organization that makes up in numbers what it lacks in depth. I could easily have had hundreds of friends by being a part of this club, but none of whom I would have remained friends with to this day. I developed a clear understanding through the process of how important the right environment is to develop the kinds of friends who will last a lifetime (or at least through college). The right environment is critical for my sourdough starter to thrive as well, too hot or too cold and it will not metabolize well.

Timing is incredibly important to friendships and is critical to baking. I have found that meeting the right person at the right time has the greatest impact on whether or not we will become friends. Timing in baking is absolutely essential to achieving success.

I am hoping that I can revive my sourdough starter and actually get it to the baking stage. My frustration with it is beginning to peak and I really don’t want to start over. I mean, how hard is it to scrap a friendship and start over rather than putting in the work to make it stronger? I will keep you posted!