The Sourdough Detective Saga
A Half Baked Idea

The first hint of things to come began with the arrival of a recipe request from Myra Helfer. L.S.

9/7/99 Myra Helfer I have a request also. Does anyone have a clue as to how Grandma Pia Siegel made her sourdough rye bread??? There was no recipe but maybe someone knows how to make it as close to the way she did as possible. Or maybe someone knows who knows. Please respond to website or to me. 
(I remember that incredibly delicious bread. 
The last person I know who had the recipe for Grandma Pia's sourdough rye bread was my Uncle, John Siegel. You might email him or call him and see if he still has it. I will put it in the "Recipes" section of our web site if you find it and forward it to me. L.S.) 

9/17/99 Andrea Karsh
"I found Grandma's sourdough rye bread recipe!  Aunt Ann Siegel Marans copied this verbatim from Uncle John Siegel who got the recipe from his mother Pia Siegel. I send it to you exactly as it was given to me. She sent it to me about 20 years ago as I was an avid bread maker."
The recipe received from Andrea has been posted in the Recipes section.

9/18/99 Myra Helfer I just go the recipe from Andrea and am going to get stuff and try it this weekend. I will definitely let you know. If it tastes anything like Grandma Siegel's it will be a miracle for me. I have thought about that bread for DECADES and everyone here said the recipe died with Grandma. Guess not. Will keep you posted.

9/17/99 Jessica Gross There must be a mistake on the site. I have never heard my mother (Myra Eder Helfer) ask for a recipe. And what does she intend to do with it?

9/17/99 Leighton Siegel Jessica, life is full of little surprises.

9/17/99 Jessica Gross Indeed. I am looking forward to sampling the bread.

9/19/99 Myra Helfer It is baking now, or at least what I hope will be bread is baking. Never even thought about saving starter. If this turns out to be bread, edible, and not a disaster, then will keep starter next time. Thanks for tip. I should have thought about it. (I suggested obtaining and keeping sourdough starter as a substitute or addition to the yeast. L.S.)

9/19/99 Myra Helfer I hope Great Grandma Siegel, looking down on us or whatever, will forgive what I did to her recipe this first try. It is definitely bread. It is definitely rye. It is definitely NOT edible by my standards. But, it IS a good try and I have emailed Andrea to see what she thinks I did wrong. It did rise lot. It is heavy, dry and rye but blechhh! I went to the mall and told Murray that if anyone tries to break in while I am gone, he should throw the bread at them. Definitely an assault weapon. Bread Bakers!!!! Help. Please. Check the recipe online and send advice to by email. 

This is not the end. Myra and Andrea are both working to recreate the original bread. Their efforts and results will be detailed here as the story unfolds.

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