Donald Bender has crafted his art all across the nation.
He got his first experience of fine dining working for an Italian Restaurant in Tucson. He moved on to a restaurant and brewery in Albuquerque and then Proud Larry's and Bottletree Bakery in his hometown, Oxford, MS.
Later, Donald worked at Susan Spicer's Spice, Inc. and the Windsor Court in New Orleans, Franklin Street Bakery, the Turtle Bread Company, and Whole Foods Bakery in Minneapolis.
After all of his travels, Mississippi was calling him home. He moved to the Greenwood area where he soon opened Mockingbird Bakery.
Donald now bakes Mockingbird Bakery artisanal breads and baked goods for the Viking Cooking School, Giardina's, Delta Bistro, and Turnrow Café. After great success, The Mockingbird Bakery has been featured in Delta Magazine, Leflore Illustrated, and Inc. Magazine.
"You just can't put a value on my Sourdough Starter. It is the most important ingredient I own and I would be useless without it. I started it by fermenting 4 pounds of red seedless grapes for a week then added flour and water and I have maintained it since 2003 by 'feeding' it once to twice a day with equal parts flour and water. During the process, it has turned into natural yeast, leavening and flavoring all my sourdough. I feed it six times a week with flour and water and pull from it according to my recipes."
"Levain - like the starter, it is made to put in the sourdough to give it flavor and 'lift.' It is also an ongoing process, but it is kept in the cooler so I don't have to feed it as often. Made up of flour, water, and dough, this 'Mother' starts many types of dough from one batch. This combination of Starter and Levain gives my sourdough its unique flavor."
- Donald Bender, Baker