I’m going to let you in on a little secret.
Jan at de la terre bakery in Vineland will spare you some of his sourdough starter, if you ask nicely. Wheat, white or spelt, he’ll happily oblige your request for the magical stuff that gives a jump-start to his sublime loaves with their porous innards and tang throughout. The only catch is that you have to share the results with him.
As someone who has never baked bread — well, until recently — I find that more than a little intimidating. It’s the culinary equivalent of spastic me asking to kick around a soccer ball with the German national team. I fear I could easily make a fool of myself, even though Jan has offered me the goods to play with rather than wait for me to ask.
A few weeks ago, though, someone came into my life, promising to help me along when I do pay a visit to de la terre for my hunk of fermenting flour. Her name is Adrienne Kane and her assistance comes by way of her new book, United States of Bread: Our Nation’s Homebaking Heritage: from Sandwich Loaves to Sourdough (Running Press, $23). —Continue reading—