Working with sourdough makes many things possible as a home baker. For one, you get that delicious depth of flavor provided by sourdough that simply cannot be mimicked with commercial yeast. This stems from a longer fermentation and the complex nature of a sourdough starter which holds not only yeast but bacteria and acids as well.
The other perk of sourdough is that it is not as volatile as commercial yeast. This buys me time in the kitchen. With a commercial yeast bread I might only have a couple of hours between mixing the bread and baking. This can create a high-pressure situation in which I must be very attentive and available during this small window of time for punching down and shaping and baking.
Sourdough, on the other hand, gives me a larger window of time between the mixing and shaping stages and the final proof and baking. This is a real blessing to the busy home baker. You can plan these 4-12 hour stretches around other meals, time away from home, and sleeping patterns. And if that isn’t handy enough, use Erin’s tip for delayed fermentation in the refrigerator to buy you even more time.
If that isn’t reason enough to work with sourdough, maybe this chewy, crusty-bottomed Italian bread will help.