The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Ronco Sourdoughmatic

hutchndi's picture

Ronco Sourdoughmatic

 As an active sourdough bread hobbiest, and one who believes that the best bread one can ever eat is one made with his or her own hands, I have been watching the fast and steady rise of sourdough's internet popularity with somewhat mixed feelings.  I fear that it is only a short time until this this wonderful home past-time  becomes cheapened by commercialization. How much money can be stuffed into the pockets of the growing mob of culinary geniuses that continue to market book after book detailing ever more infintisimal minutia concerning  a subject that everybodies great great great grandma used to do probably much better and without the fuss or fanfare. How far away are we from seeing ronco sourdough-matic machines on everybody's kitchen counter? How long until brightly labeled jars of geneticly engineered sourdough crystals with DNA that can withstand the process of dehydration, granulation, animate existance deprivation and eventual instantaneous reconstitution pop up in an infomercial starring the Sham-Wow guy??? 

althetrainer's picture

Big marketers can twist traditional food as much as they want, but people who know SD will not deviate their course.  For the majority, bread is bread while others are content with their bettter-than-nothing thought.  If SD bread machine will ever appears on our average North Amercian kitchen counter, it would be just a fad. 

I make milk kefir at home and of course I have seen commerical kefir sold in every single grocery store.  Many new comers to our kefir forum started off with store bought kefir but once they realized they could make the real thing, they came to us for help. 

I guess the positive side of traditional food being commercialized is that the concept of "real food" being introduced by the mass media.  People who knew nothing about traditional would come to a better understanding.  If they have the desire to pursue true sourdough they will become one of us; no big marketers can take them away. 

By the way, in cruel reality, the original Sham-Wow guy was replaced.  He died a while ago.


hutchndi's picture

I made kefir for a year or so. I got sick on it one day that I was building my grape arbor in midsummer heat and havent been able to stomache it again.

Too bad about Sham Wow guy, he was a classic....

Elagins's picture

it was the Oxi-Clean guy that bought the farm.

As for "instant" sourdoughs, etc., that stuff already exists and is flourishing. Go to any bakery supply house and you'll find tons of "bread bases," which are pre-mixes sans flour, with added salt, sugar, eggs, flavorings (lactic and acetic acid crystals in the case of sourdough bases). And I have it on very good authority that a lot of commercial bakers, especially the small local bakeries who don't claim to be "artisan" bakeries, are the biggest consumers of bread and cake bases and mixes.

The "value-added" (quality-subtracted) marketers have been here for a long time and are likely to continue to be here as long as people are willing to surrender their right to make their own decisions about what they eat and how it tastes. I think it's a testimonial to the strength of the honest-food sentiment in this country that a behemoth like Coors is scared enough of the craft beer brewers that it's come up with its own fraudulent clone under the name Blue Moon.

Viva the Luddites!

Stan Ginsberg

mrfrost's picture

Maybe the reference was to this:

Shamwow guy arrested-


althetrainer's picture

I meant Billy Mays.  Mays died the day after hitting his head on something while the plane his was on rough landed.  Here's an article on MSNBC:


tgnytg's picture

He may have had a bump on the head, but Billy Mays' demise was brought on by a cocaine overdose, in fact, the complete toxicology report showed Billy had ingested a small medicine chest.  He died the day before he was scheduled for a hip replacement.

I was audibly assaulted by one of his commercials the other day.  Sorry, but I am glad he will do no more ads.



Thomas Mc's picture
Thomas Mc

I've been making my own kefir for years. Just part of my daily routine.

One time when I was on vacation I saw "kefir" in the grocery store, and thought, "wow, I can even drink it on vacation." Yuk, what a mistake. The stuff was so awful I couldn't even drink it. There is NO comparison.

Janknitz's picture

Sounds like snobbery to me.

You probably have similar sentiments about bread machines and no knead methods.

Not everyone is ready to delve into these culinary arts to the degree of many bakers here. For some, the packet of Gold Rush SourDough starter (perhaps packaged with a fancy crock), bread machine, or no knead dough is a person's entree into a deeper understanding of the art and science of breadmaking. For others it stops at that first step. Who are we to judge where a person comes from or who makes a buck from it? Some people will find their way here seeking a greater understanding, and they should be welcomed, regardless of point of entry. If they come this way led by the Ronco sourdough machine that's a good thing, not bad.

Sure our grandmothers could do this in their sleep without any Ronco toys, but it's because they HAD to if they wanted to see bread on their table. Nowadays not only don't we have to--we have other demands on our time that make it difficult when we WANT to. Once upon a time if you wanted a new pair of socks you had to shear the sheep, spin the yarn and knit them yourself. I don't see anyone here complaining about buying socks (I knit my own for pleasure, not necessity). So who the heck are we to look down on others that want to try and follow a popularized and commercial route to begin???

As much as some people confuse the two here sometimes, it's bread, not religion! There are no mandates from on high to do things a particular way. However one comes to breadbaking and wherever you choose to go, welcome--there is a place for you here.

hutchndi's picture

 I really don,t desire to defend this post, as it was written rather tongue in cheek. As I said, mixed feelings. Enjoy yourselves, hopefully that will lead to enjoying better bread also.  I did not imply great great great grandma was happy about her lot. I have no spare time to make my bread either, only the time I make for it, as both me and the missus still work for a living too, for which I am probably going to be late this morning. No, not a religion, but, baking bread is not just about the finished product for some of us. As for bread machines, I have owned a few myself, even  a zuroster or whatever it was called that had amongst it's miriad of features a sourdough setting! I very quickly learned that the best thing they are capable of doing for me is kneading dough. Unfortunately for the bread machine, which I gave away, great bread does not always have to be kneaded, which addresses your other concern over my sentiments.

Gardenwife's picture

"As much as some people confuse the two here sometimes, it's bread, not religion! There are no mandates from on high to do things a particular way. However one comes to breadbaking and wherever you choose to go, welcome--there is a place for you here."


Thank you, thank you. I want to try sourdough after having good success with yeast whole wheat breads, and sometimes the forums here are a little overwhelming.

It was a humble Oster bread machine that got me into baking bread in the first place. Soon after, I found this forum and started reading.

I'm officially addicted...Just got a 7-quart Cuisinart stand mixer to help me out with the kneading since I have bad tendinitis in my wrists and right thumb. Of course, after getting it, I saw the eye opening techniques thread! I'm not returning my mixer, though. LOL

PaddyL's picture

I couldn't have said it better myself!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

A present for my great great grand son for his Mars Mission:

"Brightly labeled jars of geneticly engineered sourdough crystals with DNA that can withstand the process of dehydration, granulation, animate existance deprivation and eventual instantaneous reconstitution." 

So he can have (as long as it tastes good and is healthy) space sourdough and I'd like a jar of my DNA Crytals too,  "Instant Grandma."   What better way to spread ourselves into the universe?   (Please include in my jar, blue skin and a one way ticket to Pandora.)


By the way, I'm not a Grandmother yet.  But if it's the only way I can get into the space program, I'm game.   Do you think if Capt Janeway can order Earl Grey tea from a replicator, we could one day order town specific sourdough loaves?  That would be truly awesome!  Ok folks, make your city proud!  Replicator proud! 

Meanwhile can I get a GPS with halogram display in the windshield while I wait for my sd to rise?

will slick's picture
will slick

I think for that to happen we would need to do extensive testing on the effects of a space environment on wild yeast. I elect Mini to be on the science team. I think she would look cool in one of the star trek uniforms. Mini you better brush up on taking Tricorder readings. Oh one more think Mini watch out for the trilobites!

hutchndi's picture

Or better yet, use the Tricorder to search for sourdough life signs where no Grandma has gone before!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

where no grandma has gone before!"    Can I quote you on a T-shirt?   Do you suffer often from cabin fever?


hutchndi's picture

Only when I run out of flour...

ehanner's picture

I am irked that a person who obviously knows their way around this forum would show up with a new account and start this ridiculous thread. If you have something to say, don't hide behind an anonymous new account. We all have a reputation that is earned as a result of our posting history and content. Please do not cheapen this community with this farce.


hutchndi's picture

This is halarious! I am so glad that everybody has had so much fun with my little post while I was at work today, especially the wonderful Eric the Irked whom I will be chuckling about for years to come! I assure him that I am not some kind of mysterious past member of this forum returning from banishment, just in case he is head of the local bread mafia. hutchndi has been my handle for many years at and I have never gone by anything else, and the only "reputation" that I want to read about in a bread forum is one earned by baking some pretty darned good bread. What skills I posess were mostly taught to me by the good folks at RFS, where I am notorious for starting ridiculous threads. It has been slow over there, so I fugured I would give this place a try. Hey,  if you want to quickly see whats in the soup, give it a good stir...

Russ from RI  (really) 

Floydm's picture

Hi Russ,

Welcome to the site.

I should warn that what is acceptable here is very different than what passes on  This isn't a place for alpha bakers try to prove who the biggest stud is.  Please treat community members here with courtesy and respect. 

hutchndi's picture

See? Floyd knows I really am the new guy....

Thanks for the welcome. I will try to be good ;)

Dancing Bear's picture
Dancing Bear

I thought it was a hoot.

And anything that gives more people access to better bread can only be a good thing :)

World Peace through Baking!

Thomas Mc's picture
Thomas Mc

I saw a Sourdough Bread Mix in a store a few years ago. I wondered how they kept the lactobaccili alive in the package, so I read the ingredients. It turned out they just used lactic acid and citric acid for the flavor. I have no idea how it tasted, because it was $6 for a bag that made one loaf, and it costs me only about 25 cents a loaf to make my own.

Crider's picture

Even King Arthur sells sourdough flavor. Ingredients: natural sour flavor [cornstarch, naturally fermented lactic acid, vinegar, sodium silico-aluminate (processing aid), corn flour, citric acid, natural flavors], whole rye flour, inactive yeast.

To each their own, I suppose. The supermarkets around here that have in-store bakeries sells 'sourdough' loafs that have sourdough flavor rather than being naturally produced. 

Since there are more than 6.5 billion people on the planet, there surely is something for everybody.

What continues to motivate my own breadmaking is the lack of interesting bread available commercially. They're the ones that actually have the Ronco Sourdoughmatic:

hutchndi's picture

Holy Frijole!

I just know the Lucy and Ethel are somewhere along that assembly line trying to keep up, I can hear Ethel screaming at Lucy through the whole video....