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Serving it Up: A baker’s delight

Regina Hux, of Farmville, said she is not one of those cooks who can just throw anything together and have it come out well.

“I’m going to go by a recipe,” she said.

Hux grew up in Hickory, North Carolina, but the bulk of her experience in the kitchen came after she grew up.

“My mother died when I was 8, so I had a stepmother who I learned a little from, but most of it was just trial and error afterwards on my own,” she said.

She was on her own starting when she was 21, and she did not get married until she was 28.

Over the years, she has learned that she enjoys baking in general, and she enjoys sweets.

“I’m a chocoholic, for one thing,” she said, noting that she makes fudge, brownies and sometimes cookies.

She also makes her husband’s favorites.

Among the things she enjoys baking is sourdough bread.

“This is one that I can do without looking at the recipe,” she said as she prepared a version of sourdough bread she has now made hundreds of times.

Hux was introduced to this bread recipe years ago by a neighbor when she was living in the Battleboro community of Rocky Mount, North Carolina.

The bread has since become a regular product of her work in the kitchen.

“I’ve made it for ‘thank you’ gifts,” she said. “I’ve made it for when our church has the bazaar at Heart of Virginia (Festival), and I usually then try to make mini loaves.”

She has made different versions of the bread over the years, including some that feature cinnamon, vanilla icing and raisins. The recipe indicates the bread is often made in three loaves.

“I’ve just been doing this for a number of years and give most of it away, definitely,” Hux said of the bread. “We have even made pizza with one of the three loaves.”

SOURDOUGH BREAD

Sourdough bread starter

1 package dry yeast dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water

1 cup warm water

3/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons instant potato flakes

Combine ingredients and let stand out all day.

Refrigerate that night.

After three days, take out and feed again.

MORNING: Sourdough starter must be regulated every three to five days as follows: Remove from refrigerator and add 3/4 cup less two tablespoons sugar, three tablespoons instant potatoes and one cup warm water. Mix well and let stand out of refrigerator all day. Remove one cup to use making bread and return the rest to the refrigerator as starter. Keep covered. Repeat every three to five days. If you are not making bread after feeding starter, throw away or give a cup of starter away.

EVENING: Place the one cup of starter into a large bowl, add 1/2 cup less two tablespoons sugar, 1/2 cup corn oil and one tablespoon salt and 1 1/2 cups warm water and six cups sifted bread flour. Make into a stiff batter, roll in corn oil and put into large, greased pan. Cover lightly with Saran Wrap. Leave on counter overnight to rise.

NEXT MORNING: Punch down with fist and divide into three parts. Knead each part on a floured surface and put into three greased loaf pans. Brush with oil (optional). Cover with Saran Wrap. Let stand and rise six to 12 hours.

EVENING: Bake on bottom rack at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Remove from pan. Brush with melted butter.

CINNAMON RAISIN BREAD (THREE LOAVES)

Follow the same steps until the morning to punch down. Make a mixture of cinnamon and sugar (1/3 cup sugar and 1/4 cup cinnamon). When kneading dough, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar each time you roll dough out, and then put raisins on dough. Continue to knead and sprinkle generously with cinnamon, sugar, and then put on raisins. Brush with corn oil after putting in greased loaf pans. Cover with Saran Wrap. Let stand on counter to rise six to 12 hours.

ICING (FOR THREE LOAVES)

1 cup powdered sugar

1 to 2 teaspoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring

1 tablespoon melted butter

Melt butter; mix with powdered sugar and add just enough milk to get an icing consistency. Add vanilla flavoring. Pour over loaves when taken out of oven and remove from pans.