Victoria Frahm worked to create the perfect starter mix to use in sourdough breadmaking.
For 18 of those 24 months, Frahm failed.
“The first two times I tried to make my own starter, I killed it,” she said. “But the third time was successful.”
On Thursday, Sept. 7, Frahm debuted her cottage business, “Baked from the Heart,” at the Luverne Farmers Market.
Frahm specializes in organic wholegrain sourdough breads.
Four types are currently available: Artisan sourdough boule, sourdough sandwich loaf, artisan yeast boule and yeast sandwich loaf.
Frahm plans to add sourdough bagels and English muffins in the weeks to come.
She’d also like to develop a sweet bread treat.
“I love baking, especially bread,” she said. “Baking comes from my heart. It gives me joy in the crazy chaos of everything. It makes me happy.”
Developing her love into a business took years of research and dozens of test runs for the final bread products.
Her husband, Lucas, and 14-month-old son, Ty, were her main taste-testers.
“He (Lucas) is my harshest critic,” Frahm said. “He likes it dense and chewy. Most people really don’t, though.”
Friends and co-workers at Colter Deutsch Trucking near Steen helped Frahm perfect the final bread recipes’ tastes and textures.
She can easily list each of the ingredients in her baked products and where they came from.
The flour is from organically grown grains that are milled in Minnesota, and she uses filtered water. The Himalayan salt, used for flavoring, is ordered online.
“Store bread has so many other ingredients that can’t be pronounced,” she said.
Because ingredients are fresh and Frahm bakes her loaves the morning of the Farmers Market, she recommends her purchased loaves to be cut into desired slices and then frozen.
“That is a great way to preserve it,” she said. “If you want a sandwich, just pull out two slices.”
Toasting or warming the frozen slices brings the bread back to its fresh status.
Sourdough was commonly used by pioneers crossing the plains, who relied on the flour and water mixture to survive.
In 2021 Frahm watched a TicTok video of baking bread without using commercial yeast.
“I can do that,” she said. “I’ve been baking forever — I made my first successful loaf of bread when I was 17.”
A two-gallon glass jug sits on Frahm’s kitchen counter in rural Ellsworth, the starter for all her sourdough baking products.
She said she was lacking one element when she tried to start making natural yeast from the milled flour and water mixture.
“The secret to the starter is patience — something in normal life I lack, but in baking bread it’s amazing,” Frahm said.
A starter mixture takes three- to four weeks to create the natural yeast used for sourdough and 24 to 36 hours to rise or proof before baking. Loaves bake in less than an hour.
On her first day at the Luverne Farmers Market, Frahm said she didn’t intend to sell her loaves in plastic bags — she wanted to use paper bags, but her order came in at the wrong size.
She also wanted her homemade labels to be in color, which she hopes to have in the final weeks of this year’s Farmers Market.
Her loaves, which range in price from $10 to $12, can be ordered online at bakedfromtheheart.org.
Ultimately the Luverne Class of 2013 graduate would like to open a bakery on Main Street.
“That might be awhile,” said Frahm (nee Brouwer). “I don’t want to set it as a goal — I want to set it as a hope someday.”