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My mother’s 1972 printing of the Joy of Cooking, opened to the page on Yeast Breads. This book literally taught me the basics of cooking. It’s a long story as to why I wasn’t taught by the parental units in my life, but thankfully, I’ve always been able to learn by reading! Not quite sure where the grease stain came from.

I’ve been baking bread since my early 20’s. One of my first attempts was a bagel recipe found on the back of the yeast packet. (I had no idea what I was getting into, but reading the bread section of The Joy of Cooking helped. My work mates scarfed them up like they had not been fed for days, but none of us were particularly picky at that age.) Being a small woman without a lot of upper body strength or height, hand kneading dough was (and still is) difficult for me, and so I only made bread occasionally until the bread machine craze of the late 80’s/early 90’s. Read the rest of this entry »

Fresh from the oven sourdough baguette.

Well, I wrote too soon. Turns out the morning after my sourdough post, my starter “woke up”.

I had decided to stop feeding it twice a day, as that had become a bit of a pain with little reward. Having not fed it the night before, I fed it that morning for the first time in about 24 hours.  As I puttered around the kitchen, I looked over at the starter jar and… drum roll… it was growing. “Well hello there” I said. Read the rest of this entry »

The dough (a 50-50 mix of white and rye flour) at the beginning of the adventure.

I don’t know why, but I want to make bread that is ONLY risen by a sourdough starter. I’ve messed around with sourdough starters for years. Years ago I used a recipe with baker’s yeast (not a good idea. The acidic environment in a good sourdough will kill bakers yeast). I also tried one that used yogurt to get things going (not a bad idea, as the wild bacteria in good sourdough is a lactobacillus bacteria, and so are some of the bacteria in an active yogurt culture. This would also explain why some starters feed with flour and milk, rather than flour and water, but…yuck…warm milk sitting on top of my fridge…can’t go there). I’ve made some tasty starters, but I have never been able to create a starter that could rise a loaf of bread on its own. Turns out, I still can’t. Here’s my adventure.   Read the rest of this entry »

Jennifer Kleffner

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