Linda Purl (known for playing Gloria on Happy Days) and Patrick Duffy (Bobby from Dallas) have more in common than long acting careers. The couple also bonds over making sourdough, which is a time-honored tradition in Duffy’s family — and their shared love of bread has evolved from a pandemic pastime into a bonafide baking business. Read on to learn how breaking bread helps Purl and Duffy keep the spark in their relationship alive.
For the Love of Sourdough
When Duffy was a kid, his mother used a sourdough starter (natural leavening agent made from flour and water) to make baked treats. “My parents took my sister and myself in 1952 in a little trailer house, towed by a truck, from Montana to Alaska. While we were there for almost two years, my mother was gifted by some old woman a sourdough starter,” he told People. Duffy’s family has kept the starter active for over 70 years — he adds that “every time we activate the starter, it bubbles up, it’s exuberant, it makes incredible meals and it lives on.”
The starter even helped Duffy win Purl’s heart at the beginning of their relationship in 2020, when he made a batch of sourdough pancakes which she called “remarkable.” These later served as inspiration for a line of sourdough kits called Duffy’s Dough, released in September. “Now I didn’t think I was ever going to start a business, but Linda is Linda and took it and ran with it instantly,” Duffy told People. “We have been dehydrating the original sourdough starter. So it’s absolutely pure from the time that my mother received it.”
Breaking Bread Helps Strengthen Bonds
Sourdough baking saw a resurgence during the pandemic, as people stuck in quarantine had more time to allow the dough to rise and bake this classic bread. “People have been making sourdough in North America for a long time,” Benjamin Wolfe, PhD, explains in a Tufts University article. “It’s really great during stressful times — it’s sort of like a creature, and you’re taking care of it. It’s a fun distraction, and if you get great bread, all the better.”
Duffy and Purl are proof that sourdough doesn’t only lead to delicious homemade bread — it also helps connections blossom. “There’s a possibility of really good things happening and real communication happening,” Purl told People. “It starts with the tiny little spore of yeast, but it can expand into an experience on many levels.”
When they’re not baking sourdough, the couple still spends lots of time in the kitchen. “When we got together, I can actually remember I arrived late in the afternoon and we had dinner and we cooked dinner in the kitchen,” Duffy recalled. “And it was a dance that we had never done together, but the choreography was known to both of us.”
Whether they’re creating a business or co-starring on the stage, this pair’s lives are intertwined — and they wouldn’t have it any other way. “I’m really proud of both of us in the fact that nothing gets in the way of our relationship or our ability to function in the world because we are in fact in love with each other,” Duffy concluded.