bread loaf

Saint Paul Bread Club

We knead to bake!

Bread Baker Biography – Laura Bender (9/19/2008)

Who are you?

Laura Bender.

How long have you been baking bread?

About 30 years.

Who taught you how to bake bread?


When did you start baking bread at home?

After my son was born. My two oldest children were always very active, so I went to a diet of no processed foods when they were young.

What’s your favorite bread to bake?

Deli rye.

What bread do you make most often?


Where do you get your bread recipes?


How do you mix your dough?


How do you proof your dough?

I put the bread in a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap wrap in a towel, and place it on my waterbed with a comforter lightly placed over it (also works great for incubating yogurt).

How do you bake your bread?

In my oven, usually shaped.

What gives you the greatest satisfaction in baking bread?

I find bread baking to be very spiritual. I take a few simple ingredients, flour, water, yeast, and salt, and, with the grace of God, those ingredients turn into something that will support my earthly body.

What was the most difficult bread you ever made and was it worth the effort?

Probably one of the loaves from the Bread Baker’s Apprentice. It was not worth it, because of all the time and steps it took to make it.

What was the most unusual bread you ever made?

Some weird concoction I had made in the bread machine using spelt flour.

What was the most unusual ingredient you ever used in making bread?

Probably the spelt, though more people are using it now. I never did get the hang of it.

What was the simplest bread you ever made?

My favorite bread recipe now which is from Artisan Bread In Five Minutes a Day.

What’s your favorite flour?

Organic unbleached all-purpose flour that I get from the bulk-food store.

What’s your favorite yeast?

The instant yeast I buy in bulk. Not sure of the name.

Do you bake with sourdough?

I have tried numerous times, but can’t get it to ferment right. One of my goals in life is to actually be able to make Klecko’s starter and keep it going for more than a week.

What kind of oven do you use?

I have a Kenmore gas range that is about 10-years old.

Do you use baking stones or water pans?

Usually both.

What’s your favorite tool for making bread?

My hands!

What kind of bread pans do you have?

Some nonstick ones.

What shape loaves do you make?

Round or oval. I have started making my loaves much smaller than I used to.

What’s the biggest batch of bread that you have made at home?

Four loaves.

Do you bake bread year round?

Not as much in the summer.

If you buy bread, where do you buy it?

Grocery store.

What’s your favorite bread book?

At this moment, Artisan Bread In Five Minutes a Day.

What is the bread book you would recommend to beginners?

Artisan Bread In Five Minutes a Day. It is so easy to make; it gets you over the fear of bread making and gives you confidence to move on to other more difficult recipes and gives one the courage to start to experiment.

How did you find out about the Bread Club?

From Klecko last year.

What was your first Bread Club meeting?

Last fall. (Oct., 2007)

What do you like about the Bread Club?

Meeting people and sharing with others my thoughts. It has been a wonderful learning experience for me.

What have you learned from the Bread Club?