Inspiration can be found in the most unlikely places.
For actor Patrick Duffy (best known as Bobby Ewing on the TV show “Dallas”) and actress Linda Purl (from Happy Hour and Matlock) ”), the inspiration for starting his own bread company came from family memories.
Duffy’s Dough, as Duffy and Purl put it, launched last week. While Duffy was making her sourdough pancakes, they started selling dehydrated yeast starter kits at Purl’s home in Colorado Springs. The couple have been dating for about two years.
Since the first day of pancakes in the kitchen, their sourdough experience has expanded to producing hundreds of sourdough starter kits in the commercial kitchen at Stellina Pizza Café in the Mid-Shooks Run community of Colorado Springs.
Duffy and Purl say the origins of their business go back more than 70 years.
In 1952, Duffy’s parents drove him and his sister from Montana to Alaska in a GMC pickup truck, dragging a trailer house behind them as they drove on gravel roads.
In Alaska, Duffy’s mother received a serving of sourdough starter — a leavening agent that, according to the online recipe site, keeps the dough fermented from a neighbor.
The legend surrounding the starter is that the spores used in the starter date back to the days of Alaska’s gold rush miners.
“I don’t know if this is true, but I stand by the story because they can’t prove it wrong,” Duffy said. “But we’ve had it in our homes since 1952 and it’s been a pure yeast starter with nothing added but flour, sugar and water for over 70 years.”
When they flew back from Alaska, Duffy said, his mother still had the starter when it exploded due to the pressure of the plane and had to scrape some dough out of a suitcase full of clothes.
Duffy himself didn’t start baking until he graduated college and inherited some of his mother’s sourdough starter from his sister.
Duffy makes everything from bread to pies with his own appetizers.
After making his sourdough pancakes for Purl during the pandemic, the pair decided it would be worthwhile to sell the sourdough starter as their own business.
Purl, 67, and Duffy, 73, who have no entrepreneurial background, said they needed friends to help them with their business.
From creating the website to understanding the ins and outs of the business, the couple relied on friends along the way, such as local bike and tire business owner Steve Kaczmarek.
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“Everybody jumped in,” Duffy said.
From January to July, Purl and Duffy performed 152 theatrical performances in the UK together, while they worked on all aspects of their business.
Purl would sit backstage and scribble potential logos for businesses with crayons — sticking together a mockup of their marketing plan with Band-Aids.
“Every bit is hands-on,” Duffy said.
It has legs.
From working together in the kitchen with hairnets on, to learning how to make their appetizers in dehydrated form, to packing the first 1,000 kits, they were involved in every detail.
Buyers can order a dehydrated yeast starter kit (so it travels by mail), a Duffy family cookbook and other cooking gear for $78.
Duffy and Purl’s business goal is to make enough money to donate their net proceeds to charities focused on food insecurity.
“If we succeed, that’s definitely our hope and desire,” Poole said. “Right now, we’re a long way from any net gain.”
Either way, Duffy hopes the business will be a tribute to his mother and the entire family.
“We have this company to thank Linda and her perseverance, her knowledge and her friends, and all the ways in which I give back the memories of my parents’ trip to Alaska,” Duffy said.
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