Sourdough from Taipei
The Setting: Stormy Queensland rain (Cyclone Oswald passing through)
Fresh greenery against a thick grey sky
Music: “The Ground,” Tord Gustavsen 
The world out there is blowy but inside my tearoom the air is sweet.
A bird came to visit on the railing outside:
My baking has not stopped. Such a delight to be able to create:
This bread was my very first sourdough baked in Taiwan. My family and I spend a lovely Christmas and New Year holiday in Taipei. My oven is Bosch there. I used no steaming mechanism. Spray can did the trick for me on this bread. I did not aim to make a perfect bread, just a bread.
We thoroughly enjoyed the bread, but I had no hesitation to put my starter away. On holidays these days I prefer not to spend too much time in the kitchen. Maison Kayser and Frédèric Lalos Bakery are both in Taipei and their breads are very good standards.
During this last trip to Taiwan, I made an effort to go to A-Li-Shan Mountain in the central island region to see the ancient red cypress trees. The oldest alive in Taiwan is estimated to be 2,700 years old. Look at the stats below:
Age: approx. 2,700 years old
Height: 43 meters
Circumference: 20 meters
Altitude: 2,350 meters
There are about 20 of these ancient giant red cypresses, ages ranging from 1000 to 2700 years old. The Japanese left them untouched at the turn of the last century because back then these trees were already hollow in the middle and were considered to have no economic values. The Japanese ran a massive logging industry in Taiwan during their 50 years of occupation before the end of the Second World War. The red cypresses were shipped back to Japan for use in their temples and their Emperor’s residences.
It was not possible to take a good shot at the giant tree; I apologize for the poor quality. It was very early morning and the sky was still dark blue. As the morning progressed, I was able to take beautiful shots of the mountains and the sea of clouds:
The holiday is now over. My daughter is in San Francisco on an exchange program for the first half of the year, and my son is in full swing preparing for a medicine exam in March. Christmas tree was folded and put away for another year: