My passion for food probably started right around the time when I ruined my mom’s Easter dinner on a fine evening in April ‘95. But despite a larger than life appetite ever since, my love for food didn’t really transform into the kitchen until the discovery of a good friend. Hermann. Don’t worry, I am not schizophrenic. So let me explain.
In Germany, Hermann is not only an elegant name, but a ‘Freundschaftskuchen’ (friendship cake). In essence, it is a sweet, yeasted starter dough, which continues to grow over time to a point where you give the natural surplus to your friends to use in a cake. It is basically an edible chain letter.
Fast forward a few years to a cold winter day in Amsterdam, when I decided to give sourdough bread baking a go. It is tradition to give a name to your homemade starter, so naturally, it had to be Hermann. The moment I baked my first loaf, something magical happened. The bread looked monstrous, it had no rise, it felt dense and gluey. Yet I was hooked. The simple act of cutting a homemade loaf of sourdough bread and seeing the puffs of steam fill the room with a mouthwatering scent, must be one of the most humbling pleasures I’ve ever experienced.