It is said that man does not live on bread alone, but the breads from Homemade Delights sure make it worth the try. For over 40 years, Debbie Turchiano has handmade her sweet dough breads: fig, apple, sweet potato, banana and – the star of the show – her glorious Amish bread loaves.
The origin of Amish bread is centered around sharing, and for 10 years Debbie has shared hers at the Delcambre Seafood & Farmers Market. Moist and delicious, they are covered in an irresistible cinnamon sugar mixture and filled with pecans or chocolate chips, making them nearly addictive. “One customer buys a loaf to eat while he’s at the market and another one to take home,” says Debbie.
With a cake-like consistency, the loaves are made with only a handful of basic ingredients – and no preservatives. From the kitchen of her Lydia home, Debbie begins with a sweet-dough starter (given by a friend years ago) that is fermented for five days, then combine with sugar, flour and milk and then fermented for another five days. Each day Debbie “visits” her bread and stirs it. After 10 days, one cup of the starter is mixed with dry ingredients and the magic begins. Pans are sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar; the result is a glorious loaf that’s crispy on the outside and soft and airy on the inside. Debbie’s recipe produces five small or two large loaves. While there are recipes that render quicker results, Debbie’s Amish breads are testament that the slowly-developed yeast makes a better bread with a more defined flavor and texture.
Although customers say the loaves taste just as fresh taken from the freezer to the microwave, Debbie will not hear of freezing her breads after baking them. She is adamant about the loaves being as fresh as possible when they are bought. “Always homemade with downhome freshness,” she says, like it’s her motto. So, to bake 50 loaves to sell at the market means two days of constant baking. “I bake until bedtime and then start again the next morning,” she smiles.
With her supply of pecans low, these days, Debbie searches her recipe box for breads that don’t require nuts. This may be a dilemma that turns out a new delicious bread.