Meet Manfred

Posted by Brette in Food

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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