Meet Manfred

I’d like to introduce you to a member of our family, Manfred. Manfred is a special starter I bought in Savannah at the Savannah Candy Kitchen (you must go there at least to see the pralines). It’s made by Miss Edie’s (check out the site to order the starter and also for recipes). It’s not a sourdough starter exactly – more of a sweet sourdough starter, which is why I like it so much. It’s not super sour at all. I picked some up when we were staying on Hilton Head several years ago and started using it after the trip. Dude Martha was little at the time, and fascinated with the fact that it was alive and I had to feed it. So of course, he gave it a name. Manfred. I don’t know why.

Manfred stayed with us for a year or two but at some point I lost track of the feeding and baking cycle (which can be exhausting since you’ve got to feed it every 3-5 days and at least dump some out at that point- or bake with it to avoid Manfred guilt) and Manfred died. Sniff. A friend went to Savannah this summer and I sent her a long email with all of my recommendations (where to eat and shop – the most important factors in any trip). I mentioned the candy kitchen and Manfred. To thank me for helping her, she brought back a jar of Manfred for me. Thanks Jay!

So Manfred lives again. And this time, I’m going to stay on top of it, or at least find out if I can freeze him. Dude Martha helped me make our first batch of Manfred. I first used Miss Edie’s white bread recipe from the site (go to the recipe section to see all of them), but subbed out some wheat flour. The bread was good. It is slightly sweet (kind of like challah is sweet, but it is a much heavier bread than challah). If you let it sit a bit after baking, it slices nicely (if you’re impatient it shreds all over).

Manfred was delicious as always, although he never seems to rise as high as Miss Edie says and always takes longer to bake for me.  One of my favorite things to do with Manfred is make hot pretzels. I use a recipe I have for pretzels and sub in Manfred for the water and yeast. They turn out very nicely.

I also tried Manfred waffles, using Miss Edie’s recipe. They were great. The

oat bread

recipe on her site says they make 12, but I ended up with about 6 big round Belgian waffles. I like that recipe because it uses wheat flour instead of white.

And I made Miss Edie’s whole wheat and oat bread using Manfred. This bread was fantastic, but time consuming. You have to mix the starter with some flour and water and let it sit overnight (beware: fruit flies LOVE this stuff), then make a sponge, let it rise, add flour and let it rise, then make loaves and let it rise before finally baking it.

In the past, I made Miss Edie’s recipe for cinnamon buns with Manfred and that was good too, so I’ll probably give it a try again soon. I want to try out the other recipes on her site and experiment with some of my own. Manfred is fun, but I’m already starting to feel pressured. He needs to be fed soon. It’s like Little Shop of Horrors in my fridge. Fortunately, Dude Martha is old enough to do the feeding if I remind him, so that helps. But I still can’t bring myself to dump some out when we feed (as you can see from the large amounts of baked goods I’ve already made!).

And on top of this, I’ve got a package of Alaska sourdough starter I bought on this summer’s vacation. I can’t handle two starters at the same time, so that one will have to wait in the cupboard until I’m ready to bring it to life. I wonder what would happen if I combined them?

Do you have starter that you use?

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22 Responses to Meet Manfred

  1. Lyndsey says:

    Very interesting, I have never used a starter dough. I’m not that good of a baker. I don’t care for sour dough bread, but manfred sweet-sour sounds good. Maybe I’ll check it out. Those pretzels look awesome, my daughter would go for that.

    Did you name him?

  2. marthaandme says:

    He’s Manfred again. The bread does not have that sourdough taste at all – it’s nothing like the stuff you get in San Francisco

  3. Alene says:

    Wow! Busy girl! My husband is the bread baker in our house, so I’m opting out of these recipes!! One less thing to worry about. Have a great day everyone!

  4. marthaandme says:

    Good for him – and for you!

  5. Good luck with this Manfred! I used a starter dough one time, a popular one that was going around when I worked in the corporate world. If I remember right, it was good, but like you, I fell down on my duties and didn’t feed or split it as I should.

  6. I love these stories! It reminds me of how, in Japan, there is a pickle made of rice bran and you have to care for the rice bran mixture every day, or else it becomes unusable. I’m wondering if this sweet sourdough starter is the same thing that is needed to make Amish friendship bread? Have you ever heard of that or tried it?

  7. marthaandme says:

    I’ve made that too and it’s different. It’s been a few years since I’ve had it, so I can’t remember exactly how it tastes, but it’s different. The process is different for caring for that too as I remember.

  8. marthaandme says:

    It gets to be too much work. I was hoping I could freeze this, but the instructions say not to freeze for more than 5 days. I’m thinking maybe I can at least feed and dump once a week and then bake when I feel like it.

  9. Merr says:

    I have been reading how sourdough has some probiotic-type properties that are very good for you so this post is quite handy along those lines.

  10. Alexandra says:

    I read this post with fascination. Golly, I want to try this. Loved that your son named it Manfred. But, second time round, I think you could have called it (Man)-fredrica instead.

  11. marthaandme says:

    Oh no. We’ve had lots of angry confrontation over the fact that his tortoise, whom he named Flamez is actually female, so my daughter insists on calling it Fredrika and it drive him nuts!

  12. Frugal Kiwi says:

    I’ve never bought sourdough starter, but I’ve grown my own. I don’t have one at present, but should grow another. Maybe if I name it, I won’t lose it!

  13. Manfred lives again. This is so cool. I’ve been afraid to feed a sourdough starter but I’m inspired. Also dying to make homemade pretzels after seeing your photo!

  14. marthaandme says:

    OMG the pretzels are just to die for. I can send you the recipe for that if you want it. It’s easy

  15. marthaandme says:

    I don’t know how to start your own but would love to!

  16. I love it that you named your sourdough starter. I know many people that also consider their starters part of the family.

  17. I’ve used a sourdough starter, but never one that’s sweet. I’d love to try this, but I’m off wheat these days. 😦

  18. marthaandme says:

    Oh, sorry to hear that! I think it could be used with gluten free flour though. It would at least be worth a try.

  19. Jane Boursaw says:

    Lovely, Brette. I’m on a baking jag, so will resurrect the sourdough method.

  20. Manfred sounds like a worthy companion, if a little high-maintenance. My one attempt at a sourdough starter petered out after a week – I can remember to feed my cats, but not the goopy thing in a bowl on my counter – so maybe I’ll try again.

  21. Stephanie - Wasabimon says:

    I’ve had a hard time trying to come up with a gluten free starter. I may be out of luck. Let me know if you ever hear of such a thing……..

  22. marthaandme says:

    This one uses potato starch as its main food, but I think I also had to put in a little bit of flour too when I “woke up” the starter. On a feeding basis though it only uses potato flakes, sugar and water. Couldn’t you use GF flour in it?

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