In the world of food, there are some seriously great smells: chocolate chip cookies, homemade pizza, and a nice cheesy casserole. However, nothing comes close to matching the aroma of freshly baked bread. When I was younger, my mom would get "starter" from a neighbor and off we'd go to bake a dreamy loaf or two of sourdough bread. We'd keep it going for awhile, then someone would forget to feed the starter and we'd be back to store-bought sliced bread.

So when I heard that a coworker had starter, I knew I had to ask for a little bit. Thankfully, he graciously shared it, along with a printed sheet of instructions, recipes, hints, and tips. Daunted at first, I quickly realized that the key to baking homemade bread (at least in my recipe) is being home every 12 hours so you can add flour, add more flour, add even more flour, then knead. That's right, knead. There's no bread maker in my limited-space kitchen!

I learned a lot while making the bread, namely that I really enjoy the few minutes it takes to knead the bread because you can't do anything else, but also that making bread is definitely cheaper than buying. I had to buy everything, and even then my loaves have averaged out to about twenty-five cents per loaf. I love serving it with a simple dip of olive oil, red curry flakes, sea salt, black pepper, and grated Parmesan cheese.

So give it a try. Make a starter and share it with friends, asking them to pass it along as well. See how far your starter goes, and try lots of different sourdough bread recipes, then let us know which is your favorite. Do you have any helpful bread-making or kneading tips? Let me know! I'm still learning...

By Ashley Kappel and Ashley Kappel