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About Us

How I Unexpectedly Became a Sourdough Baker

It nourishes me. It nurtures me.  It grounds me.  I love every part of it.  It's not about the end result, it's about every part of the process. I love having my hands in the dough. I love seeing the bubbles as the dough ferments.  I love the aroma of my kitchen. I love seeing the beautiful boule presented from my oven. I love the sound of the crust and the taste of the freshly baked loaf.  I love not being in the corporate world or being told how to work or how to run my day.  It calms me and I like to eat it too.  I don't rush it, I flow with it.  It's been part of a growth process for me.  It's not about being someone whom I am not, it is about being who I truly am.  It is about just be-ing.  The corporate world, and the world as a whole broke me.  I was empty.  I never want to go back to what was.  I bake to nourish myself, and as a bonus other people want what I bake too.  I love my customers.  They are all so grateful to have to be able to enjoy bread again. It brings me great joy to serve you all.  

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Fresh Bread
Happy Guts

AL & SHANA LEMKE

 I am a retired Functional Medicine Health Coach, Fitness Instructor and Wellness Educator.  I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance 15 years ago and struggled to find food that I could digest. Then, I became an Unexpected Baker. I wrote my first recipe for Gluten-free cookies 15 years ago.  I enjoyed them and shared them with my friends.  Though I was encouraged many times to sell my cookies or at least sell my recipe, I just didn’t see that as a viable path for myself. Then, about a year and a half ago I found a local bakery that was making “gut-friendly” artisan sourdough bread.  I knew that “gut-friendly” meant that I could eat their bread and not have any negative effects from it. Their sourdough was amazing.  I became a loyal customer and shopped them weekly.   
Sadly, only a few months after finding this bakery, I learned that they were closing their doors for good.  I knew that I couldn’t go without their delicious sourdough. I knew that I couldn’t go back to store-bought, gluten-free bread!  I realized that it was time that I learned how to make it for myself. I researched, I learned, I failed and tried again and again.  I made terrific bread and I made many duds too.  But I kept at it.  Before I knew it, people were asking to buy my bread. I continue to learn and research, and what I know for sure is that we can all be sourdough bakers.  It just takes desire, a heart for sourdough, trial, error, grace and patience for that delicious loaf. 
I am so grateful to be serving this sourdough. I have people come to me for sourdough because they cannot digest commercial bread.  I have people with ALS, gluten-intolerance, Crohn’s, Lupus and many other debilitating conditions.  They can eat this bread.  My earlier path in life led me to become a Functional Medicine Health Coach, Wellness Educator & Fitness Instructor and my older adult clientele were able to slow the aging process and to stay independent in their own homes.  Then my life took a drastic turn and now I nourish people in a different way. 
And that is how I became an Unexpected Baker. I own Pure Bliss Baking LLC and I run it from my Cottage Kitchen with my husband, Al.

 

 

Al found his love for being in the kitchen in high school where he was the star forward in basketball and football quarterback.  He was also known as the class clown....the one teachers cringed at when they found out that he was on their roster.  One day, he got himself kicked out of typing class.  The teacher was at her last straw and sent him packing to the principal's office.  The principal thought that a great punishment for this guy was to send him to Home Economics as the only guy in the class.  When the Home Ec. teacher found that she too was going to be punished with student Al Lemke, she took him out to the hall and respectfully asked that he not give her a hard time.  He  quickly agreed that he would not.  One of the first assignments was to go shopping for pizza making ingredients.  He was thrilled to get to leave campus.  And then got to come back and bake a pizza!  He ended up making dinners for his basketball and football team mates.  His kitchen adventures have only increased.  He loves to try "different" ingredients.  Al continues to be the main cook in our home. 

 

AMANDA
LAVIN

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Amanda has been a registered nurse for 16 years and is a self-proclaimed fanatic about health and wellness, especially gut-health.  "Healing my own gut put my Hashimoto's into remission, balanced my hormones, and gave me my energy back".  After being gluten-free for 12 years, she is happy to have bread again.  "Long-fermented sourdough has been a game-changer for me and my family". Two years ago, Amanda and her family embarked on a grand adventure of selling their home and living in an RV and traveling the country.  This is where she eventually mastered sourdough, which is a very intimate understanding and relationship between baker and starter.  Over the course of two years, multiple climates from snowy mountains to the humid south and through the plains, Amanda learned to nurture her starter and make sourdough in a 400 sq. foot space and tiny little oven, which is no easy feat.  She absolutely loves the entire process of sourdough.  Amanda says that she is so happy to get to bake for others and to pour love into each and every loaf that she makes with us at Pure Bliss Baking.  

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