The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hello from Santa Rosa, CA

xaipete's picture

Hello from Santa Rosa, CA

Hi everyone! I've been around for a few weeks now and done some posting but never really introduced myself. My name is Pamela and I live in Santa Rosa, CA. My husband, Jim, and I have been married for nearly 38 years, have raised three daughters (all married and living in other parts of the country). But we are not empty nesters. When the kids left, we acquired two dogs: our 9-year old female Jack Russell terrier, Heidi, who, apparently, is the pack leader of our family and a very lovable 7-year old mini-daschund, Genya. We were successful parents, but are total failures at raising dogs, esp. the terrier who is literally a "terror", but we love her anyway. Jim and I both like to cook and bake, but since Jim is gainfully employed, I end up doing most of the cooking and baking, but sometimes he joins in on the weekends, and, of course, he always home in the evening for the eating part!

I've been baking bread off and on since we got married. My first few years of baking weren't very successful since I didn't know how to cook at all, but I kept trying and eventually turned into a pretty good cook and baker.

Last fall went the economy fell off the cliff and bread and food prices really sky-rocketed, my reaction was to make almost everything that I could instead of buying it--cooking and baking made me feel more secure and in control of my future somehow. But the funny reality was that I didn't save any money at all because I bought all kind of new food and baking related items (a new food processor, bannetons, scrapers, bins for grain--I already had a Nutramill grain mill--, more grain, malted barley powder, pH paper, and the list goes on and on).

There were also many new books purchased too. Some of them were by Peter Reinhart. In the beginning I was making Laurel's 100% sprouted wheat bread, but after I bought WGB, I adapted my recipe and method a little. Then I came upon an opportunity to be a tester for Peter's new book, and I can't tell you how many pounds of bread flour I've gone through in the past month alone. Anyway, I'm certainly not saving any money, but I am having a lot of fun and I have become a much better bread maker as a result of all the testing I've done!

I found this site reading Peter's books. At first I just watched, but after a while, I saw how nice and helpful everyone was, and, that led to my participation. This is a great forum and I'm learning a lot from what I'm reading here. It isn't that easy to meet people who share such a passion for bread and I'm truly grateful to have found an outlet for my pursuits, a place to learn and share.

I have a picture gallery here were you can see some of my successes and failures.

Hello to all,


gaaarp's picture

Thanks for introducing yourself.  It's always nice to learn more about our cohorts around here!


Paddyscake's picture

Looking forward to sharing your baking adventures!


mountaindog's picture

Welcome Pamela, I admire and share your desire to control your own destiny by trying to make things yourself where possible, and yes, it does give you a feeling of security, doesn't it? Your investment in steepening your learning curve with all the serious breadmaking will pay off in the long run...think of how many people have no clue where their food comes from, yet you are able to make a highly nourishing and delicious food from just flour, water, and salt.

Floydm's picture


I grew up in Sonoma County (mostly Forestville) and lived in Santa Rosa for a few years as a kid.  A beautiful area, and the area where I originally got into baking while working for Peter at Brother Juniper's Bakery.  Lots of good Peter Reinhart inspired bakers and bakeries around there!

janij's picture

You sure have some yummy things coming out of the oven there!!!


Marni's picture

Nice to meet you! I'm also in CA, in Los Angeles.

I agree with you, this is a wonderful, helpful site.



SylviaH's picture

Hello, very nice introduction... I like the story about the dogs...we have 3...raised a family too and now have grandkids '4'...Yes also have a JR...his name is Joey...we also refer to him as the 'Boogie Bear'...only one he really minds is our little 'Bella' a mixed Papillon ??...totally rules him!

Sylvia in San Diego

Janknitz's picture

Nice to see you. 

I live in Santa Rosa, too.  I'm just coming back to bread baking after a several year hiatus.  I'm having fun getting back up to speed with techniques, especially shaping my loaves.

I'm a big Peter Reinhart fan and I'm re-reading his books.  I miss the old Brother Juniper's bakery--used to stop there for lunch when doing home health work in that area. 

We are certainly lucky to live in this area where there is a bounty of good food, good wine, and good bread, but I just can't keep paying $6 a loaf anymore.  So I am happily rekindling my love for yeast baking.

gijane's picture

Hi Pamela!


I too live in lovely Santa Rosa!  I was wondering if I may pick your brain a bit.  I have been baking bread for about 6 months, and the only consistancy I seem to have are nice tastey bricks!

Anyways any feedback would be appreciated!

GI Jane

xaipete's picture

Sure you can pick my brain. Send me an email on the forum and I'll give you my phone number so we can talk.


Janknitz's picture

Hey, I see you are a knitter, too!  Bread and yarn--what more does life need?

xaipete's picture

One needs bread, yarn, and wine. --Pamela

blackbird's picture


I lived in Santa Rosa and Sebastopol long ago1956 to 1973, haven't been there since a visit in 1976.  Bit of a clod-kicker farmboy was I.  Nice photo site.   Did you grow up there?

xaipete's picture

We moved here about 7 years ago, but I'm a native San Franciscan. --Pamela

Janknitz's picture

Hey Pamela,

I was looking through your gallery at your English Muffin photos.  Did you just use canning jar lids as the rings?  


If you did, that's genius!  ;o)

xaipete's picture

But isn't wasn't my idea. However, it worked pretty good. --Pamela

Janknitz's picture

"One needs bread, yarn, and wine. --Pamela"

My dear husband is an enologist and works for a winery.  We have LOTS of wine, lots of yarn, and lately lots of bread ;o) 

Life is good.

xaipete's picture

I certainly 2nd that! Wine makes everything better! --Pamela

Soundman's picture

Wow, Pamela, I just saw your introduction here: that's one amazing gallery of baked goods! The scope of different breads is admirable, and everything looks so good before baking, and fantastic when finished.

You may have started out without knowing much, but you're sure have a storehouse of know-how by now!


xaipete's picture

I had some successes and some failures. All I can say is that I work hard and often, and that helps me make progress. --Pamela