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Leavening with Michael Strausz

Michael Strausz is a sourdough enthusiast, baking in Fort Worth, Texas. Starter-Along Sourdough Pizza Recipe | Serious Eats - To offer your own advice, call Zak @ 844-935-BEST


ZAK: We've come to the end of another week of The Best Advice Show. It's Food Friday. If you have some food-related advice for me, call me on the hotline at 844-935-BEST.

MICHAEL: I mean, it's pretty cliched, but it was during the pandemic, I think a few months in and my spouse, Kate, she started to think, maybe we should try sourdough. So first we tried to make our own starter and we failed. So we gave up on that but then we just borrowed some from a friend. Cause, that's the nice thing about sourdough is that you can share it very easily. So we got some from a friend and we started feeding it. I feel like that was around June. And we've been feeding it and using it a ton ever since.

ZAK: It's kind of like a lifestyle.

MICHAEL: Definitely a lifestyle. I really like the fact that I can keep this thing alive in my fridge and use it to cook and I really like just the ability to sort of continue to produce my own leavening agent. I think that if it wasn't for the pizza dough and breads that I make with it, including pita bread, it's very good with pita bread by the way. If it wasn't for that, I probably wouldn't do it. But just being able to have your own leavening agent that you're growing is really enjoyable.

ZAK: Do you have a name for yours?

MICHAEL: We call it The Animal. And my kids will joke sometimes that I love it more than them, or it's third, after the two of them The Animal is a close third.

ZAK: And for those of us who are like, alright, there's too much work. There's this living thing in our fridge. Make the pitch for why we should try this.

MICHAEL: So, if it's in the fridge. The work that it takes you to just keep it alive is once again. You get it out of the fridge. You take some out and then you add in, you know, the same amount of water and flour. So, I usually do 100 grams cause I have a kitchen scale. It takes like a minute. You pull a little out. You add the same amount of water and flour and then put it back in the fridge and that keeps it alive and that's it. And then whenever you want to use it, it's there.

ZAK: So, I'm gonna include your favorite sourdough recipe in the show notes. What might that be?

MICHAEL: It would be the pizza dough. I'll send it to you. It's from Serious Eats.

MICHAEL: I'm Michael Strausz. I'm the President of the Board of Directors of the Jewish Education Agency in Fort Worth which runs a pre-school. The Lil Goldman Early Learning Center.

ZAK: Thanks for listening to the show. If you're enjoying it, please consider leaving a rating or review wherever you listen to podcasts. And again, I am hungry for your food advice. Call me at 844-935-BEST.

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