Starkville Sourdough

True Southern Culture: Starkville Sourdough

There is a website out there that will sell you sourdough starter culture from exotic places all over the world. This concept has lead to many heated debates in the bread making community about whether this is even possible or if the minute you expose your exotic mother to the air in your kitchen it will become contaminated with local species of yeast and bacteria resulting in exactly what you would have it you had simply started a culture on your own. It seems that all of this arguing could very easily be settled by a microbiologist, but maybe it is more fun to let it remain a mystery.

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wild yeast starter

What’s so great about wild yeast?

It never ceases to amaze me that so many varieties of bread are the result of just four simple ingredients. Combine the first three, flour, water, and salt, and the result is a hard tasteless cracker, the kind sailors used to gnaw on. Once we invite yeast into the mix, however, the magic starts to happen. Continue reading

baguette

What is “Artisan” Bread?

“Artisan” has become an all-too-common term when describing bread. You find it everywhere from the names of small specialty bakeries to the buns surrounding  fast food products. The meaning is diluted. I try to find more specific words to differentiate between my hand-made bread and what you find in the supermarket, but there are times when “artisan” is the most efficient word to convey this idea, and before I can edit myself, I hear the a-word slip out of my mouth. Well, if I am going to use the word, let me take a moment to explain what I mean when I say it. Continue reading

Whole wheat sourdough

My Dream of a Neighborhood Bakery

Last year the Mississippi legislature passed the Cottage Food Law allowing home bakers such as myself to produce baked-goods and other non-hazardous foods in the kitchen of a private home for sale at farmers markets. This provided a great opportunity to test the waters and see if there is interest for my bread here in Starkville, and if long hours baking large quantities of bread would be as much fun as I kept telling my wife it would be. Continue reading

My First Loaf of Bread

Troy DeRego at the helm of the S.S.V. Corwith CramerI will never forget my first bread baking experience. It happened in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in the galley of the 134 ft brigantine schooner S.S.V. Corwith Cramer in April of 1991.

My junior year at Rhode Island School of Design I decided I needed to get away from art school for a semester and explore biology and oceanography. The Sea Education Association in Woods Hole, MA is like a study abroad program where students spend six weeks studying at the campus on Cape Cod and six weeks in the open ocean aboard a student research vessel. My cruise track would leave from Miami with port calls in the Dominican Republic and Bermuda before heading back home to Cape Cod. Continue reading