Finding the right formula for her latest book may have taken Victoria Redhed Miller several years, but the Sequim author looks to provide readers tools they can use and pass on for generations to come.
Miller recently released “From No-Knead to Sourdough: A simpler approach to handmade bread,” her third book for New Society Publishers in a line of diverse how-to-guides following “Pure Poultry: Living Well with Heritage Chickens, Turkeys and Ducks” and “Craft Distilling: Making Liquor Legally at Home” (now in its second printing).
“I don’t know why it took me so long to write about (making bread),” Miller said. “I’ve been doing it longer than distilling or raising poultry.”
The love for making bread grew in her junior high years, she said, the same year her mother learned the skill.
“I have seven siblings and my mom was a stay-at-home mom,” Miller said. “We were always encouraged to read a lot from a young age.”
Part of that reading included Time-Life’s “Family Creative Workshop” series that included a section on making sourdough.
That planted a seed in her mind, she said, which was set to be this book’s focus but through feedback at various presentations Miller learned interest in making homemade bread is much bigger than just sourdough.
“It’s a balance because you can’t be all things to all people,” she said. “Because I realized that, I was really trying to share my love of baking bread. I would have really hated it if someone didn’t pick up my book because it was only about sourdough-based breads.”
Sourdough is one of a few “comfort zones” Miller writes about in “From No-Knead to Sourdough” with her aim to appeal to people with little to no time. She covers kneading breads and not, breads with pre-ferments, low- and no-gluten breads, flat breads, pizzas and more.
“If you like the results, stay in that comfort zones,” Miller said. “If you want to learn something additional, move onto the next comfort zone, adding kneading to the process.”
Good, bad wrap
Miller says bread has gotten a bad name in recent years despite being a staple in cultures around the world.
“After thousands of years of eating wheat, we’re being told it’s not good for you,” she said.
However, she recognizes there are exceptions to that belief, including Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disease that damages the small intestine after they eat gluten.
“Considering it’s a food so basic to every culture in the world for such a long time, it’s been puzzling to me we’ve gotten to this place of being intimidated about making bread,” Miller said.
Through writing “From No-Knead to Sourdough,” she said the reason most people don’t make bread isn’t because of adversity or difficulty but due to time.
“The book addresses how to make it work for you,” she said.
“I’ve also made it clear, there’s not one schedule that’s going to work everyone. I do give some suggestions so you’re not completely flying blind. It makes it a low maintenance thing and so simple that anyone could do it.”
“From No-Knead to Sourdough,” like her previous books, is a combination of a how-to and a memoir.
One of her original pushes to make her own bread was its cost.
About nine years ago, she and her husband, who live off the grid in Sequim, were buying artisan bread at about $5-$6 a loaf, and discovered they weren’t finishing it before it would go bad. So Miller began investigating and experimenting and says her book’s suggestions use 500 grams of flour and cost “well under $2” per loaf. Miller uses organic ingredients but leaves that decision to her readers.
Following the release of her third book, Miller plans to continue booking speaking engagements about breads, distilling and poultry, and take some time off from writing and spend more time with her mom in the Seattle area.
She has multiple events lined up for the rest of 2018, including speaking at Mother Earth News Fairs across the U.S., along with engagements tentatively set at the North Olympic Library System and its four branches, Lamb Farm Kitchen, and Nash’s Organic Produce.
“From No-Knead to Sourdough: A simpler approach to handmade bread” is available from newsociety.com and major book sellers like Amazon for $29.95, and in e-book format for less.
Learn more about Miller at www.victoriaredhedmiller.com.