"Making bread must be easy if all you fucking morons are doing it"
July 27, 2020 5:33 PM   Subscribe

Remember when sourdough was a thing? What was that all about? When We Were Bread Heads.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm (60 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
We started and have not stopped. Our starter's name is Alfonso, and he's a good bread. I have no desire to purchase bread ever again, honestly. Aside from sourdough, we've also been baking our own hot dog and hamburger rolls, and they are hands-down far better than anything store bought. We made loaves instead of a boule this past weekend and our sandwich form thanks us for it.

So, it still is a thing.
posted by grumpybear69 at 6:30 PM on July 27 [11 favorites]


There is something extremely weird about "Remember when?!" articles written like less than 3 months after a micro-trend. Has COVID-time really scrambled our chronology and time demarcation of nostalgia so badly?

(I am rising sourdough right now but I have also had my starter around for a couple years!)
posted by mostly vowels at 6:33 PM on July 27 [40 favorites]


There is something extremely weird about "Remember when?!" articles written like less than 3 months after a micro-trend. Has COVID-time really scrambled our chronology and time demarcation of nostalgia so badly?

I have experienced a flash of nostalgia for the early days of the lockdown, which I thought was a weird thing for my brain to have done, but it did it.
posted by thelonius at 6:35 PM on July 27 [51 favorites]


Seems so long ago now, doesn't it? Back in March, I was baking lots of banana bread and apple bread, not because of ample pandemic-related free time so much as that we were going to move the following month and I needed to use stuff up before then. I was taking a social media break at the time and didn't hear about the sourdough craze for a while, though I've never liked sourdough much anyway. I became aware of the jigsaw puzzle shortage much sooner; both my mom and I are puzzle hobbyists, and when I first tried to find some to send to her after her spring travel plans had to be cancelled, Barnes & Noble and the major online puzzle shops were sold out of most everything.

The bit in the article about how most flour made in the US is for commercial use reminded me of something. Our old local bakery started selling groceries on the side shortly after shutdowns started, with both retail products and repackaged commercial-grade items. I was able to get some of the powdered cocoa they use in their awesome pastries thanks to that. Haven't put it to use yet, though.

I enjoy baking and thought it was neat to see so many get into it this past spring, but wonder how many will stick with it in the end, especially since it can be quite time-consuming. The BLM protests did seem to be a turning point. It's since become easier to find jigsaw puzzles for sale again, too.

BTW, after we moved, we got a welcoming gift from one of our new neighbors. It was a loaf of homemade sourdough.
posted by May Kasahara at 6:35 PM on July 27 [5 favorites]


tl;dr. "and just because it’s not trending anymore among the influencers, that doesn’t mean people aren’t still doing it"
posted by lalochezia at 6:37 PM on July 27 [16 favorites]


The BLM protests did seem to be a turning point
I liked the meme that I saw that showed a person in two stages: "Quarantine Week 2: Bake sourdough bread. Week 12: Smash the State!"

It's since become easier to find jigsaw puzzles for sale again, too.
I was out last weekend, and I dropped by a re-opened sporting goods store at the end of the day, when it wasn't crowded, to see if they had any dumbbells yet: nothing doing.
posted by thelonius at 6:39 PM on July 27 [6 favorites]


It was way too close to 100ºF today to turn the oven on.
posted by zamboni at 6:42 PM on July 27 [13 favorites]


My wife has been baking bread for many years (we basically never buy it and eat a lot of it), so the only change for us was it suddenly got harder to buy materials.

It's still basically impossible to buy actual bread flour, although AP flour works close enough.
posted by thefoxgod at 6:46 PM on July 27 [3 favorites]


I have a joke about kneading bread which I won't repeat because it is mostly punching down.
posted by straight at 6:55 PM on July 27 [133 favorites]


I was pretty regular with the sourdough but it's been too hot for the last two months which has both messed up my feeding schedule and also made me not want to bake bread. My starter's still doing OK but it's in the fridge for the most part, biding its time, and providing me with discard to make pancakes, waffles, and pretzels with. I haven't been buying bread either, we've just stopped eating it for the last couple of months. Although I did pick up some bagels a couple of weeks ago and they were glorious.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 6:57 PM on July 27


For many folks who found themselves suddenly working at home, suddenly, time became a newfound luxury. You no longer had to rush out the door at 7am to beat rush hour traffic and get home 12 hours later. The typical "9-5" commuter culture is no place for carefully feeding your sourdough then kneading, rising, baking on a schedule.

Suddenly, a bunch of folks realized that going out into a pandemic to get a loaf of bread for the week might not be a great idea. So they made their own. Now supplies for most people are back to "normal" and the novelty has worn off. Is it really much more complicated and worthy of analysis than that?
posted by jeremias at 7:01 PM on July 27 [16 favorites]


I made rye bread back in April and it was my first successful loaf ever out of maybe 5 tries over the years. Man it was good. Gave most of it away because carb heavy anything is not great for me. But like the meme above I've also moved onto "burn the state" as far as new hobbies to try out during this era of fantastically fast changing social norms and social contract.
posted by MillMan at 7:02 PM on July 27 [2 favorites]


I could have swore Seamus Blackley's project using some excavated ancient-Egyptian yeast was at the beginning of all this, but he's not mentioned at all!
posted by rhizome at 7:06 PM on July 27 [1 favorite]


Aside from sourdough, we've also been baking our own hot dog and hamburger rolls, and they are hands-down far better than anything store bought.

Yes, my spouse makes hamburger rolls and any burger you put in them automatically tastes amazing. If I were running a burger shop I'd spend less money on the ingredients for the burgers and just work out a way to have a continual supply of fresh rolls.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 7:12 PM on July 27 [2 favorites]


I couldn’t make anything with my starter besides an odor so foul I had to open the kitchen windows and wait a day for it to clear. But I was able to make very good chocolate banana bread and my own crackers. I mostly eat crackers and flatbread when on my own, rather than loaves, but my flatbread was a greasy, smoky mess. Baking can make you feel less helpless, but it is just that: a feeling.

There’s a lovely little novel called A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking that’s about fighting a fascist takeover when all you have is dough. It wasn’t supposed to be timely, but now is when it came out.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:24 PM on July 27 [16 favorites]


I actually had been working with a sourdough starter since summer of 2019, so this is apparently one of the very few opportunities I have to be stereotypically hipster and say "I was doing sourdough before everyone else was doing it."

....I've made a "bread" type of bread exactly once; bread is actually not a great option for me since I largely am baking just for myself and it's not been easy to find a recipe for a loaf of bread scaled down to just one person. I did find a thing that can be made into a few miniboules, some of which can be frozen for later; I may try that again.

Mostly I've just been working with the discard as I keep it going week to week, and for a year I used it for a weekly treat of pancakes. But I recently discovered a recipe for sourdough pizza crust instead, which was very easy to scale down to both suit my amount of discard and also make just enough dough for a generous personal pizza.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:36 PM on July 27 [3 favorites]


I have a joke about kneading bread which I won't repeat because it is mostly punching down.

I have a joke about proving. It always gets a rise.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:52 PM on July 27 [24 favorites]


My wife is a baker, more cookies and crusts than breads, but...

She found a focaccia recipie. Mmmm. Makes awesome, easy, individual, homemade pizzas.

I think she would do someone harm for a proving drawer.
posted by Windopaene at 8:03 PM on July 27


I think she would do someone harm for a proving drawer.

The most dangerous people are those with something to prove.
posted by zamboni at 8:07 PM on July 27 [18 favorites]


Thanks Countess for sharing the book recommend - I'd followed Ursula Vernon on Twitter before "March happened," but missed the release of her book. Glad to have some fiction for August, just in time for Lammas.
posted by SoundInhabitant at 9:17 PM on July 27 [1 favorite]


Sourdough starter is a living mixture that needs feeding and pruning, attention paid and paid again, like a houseplant, or a jarred pet. To make a happy, fragrant slurry that will eventually beget bread is to play God.

I'm lazy and keep the starter in the back of the fridge. Sometimes it goes a month or two between feedings. It's fine, and it's been fine for years. I keep some dried starter powder made years ago in the freezer in case the power goes out. Multiple tiny jars and check them every so often and they're fine. You can overthink this.
posted by meehawl at 9:59 PM on July 27 [3 favorites]


I don't know thelonius, I see plenty of dumbbells out there.
posted by evilDoug at 10:27 PM on July 27 [3 favorites]


I read this article in a state of anxiety expecting an awful thinkpiece about "trends" during this pandemic shutdown and was mostly relieved to read a fairly sane take.

I baked bread before the pandemic often enough to regularly turn out a reliable sandwich loaf, but did so intermittently when I felt like it. I bake bread weekly during the pandemic to just flat-out supply us with bread, because it helps minimize how often my spouse (who is the primary grocery-shopper) has to stop off at a store.

My working from home makes it easier to fuck around with proofing times and whatnot, so I took it as an opportunity to try to make boules rather than sandwich bread. I post both my beautiful and ugly loaves on social media and laugh among friends about it. I declined to adopt a pet starter; I just use commercial yeast. Flour supplies were dicey for awhile but my high-end local bread bakeries now sell bread flour in five-pound bags, and a friend bought yeast in bulk early on and shared it.
posted by desuetude at 11:37 PM on July 27 [1 favorite]


This is just to say

I have eaten
the bread
that was in
the pantry

and which
you had probably baked
in the midst
of life in the time of COVID

forgive me
it was so delicious
and besides
we both know
you'll make more
tomorrow
posted by Kitchen Witch at 1:41 AM on July 28 [19 favorites]


jeremias: "Suddenly, a bunch of folks realized that going out into a pandemic to get a loaf of bread for the week might not be a great idea. So they made their own. Now supplies for most people are back to "normal" and the novelty has worn off. Is it really much more complicated and worthy of analysis than that?"

You forgot to mention the plate of beans. Probably just an overthought.
posted by chavenet at 3:09 AM on July 28 [3 favorites]


I have a fancy breadmaker, a replacement for one I’d had 15 years, and I’ve been making our own bread since my oldest was a baby. So around mid-April when the weather here wasn’t great and we hadn’t adjusted, I got my kids involved in planning shopping and trying new things.

Their big ask, besides instant ramen, was...Wonderbread.

We’re back to normal.
posted by warriorqueen at 4:21 AM on July 28 [2 favorites]


I feel like there's gonna be ample opportunity for everyone to get back into baking again this fall when we're still dealing with covid and it's no longer 1000 degrees out.
posted by geegollygosh at 5:55 AM on July 28 [18 favorites]


There’s a lovely little novel called A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking that’s about fighting a fascist takeover when all you have is dough. It wasn’t supposed to be timely, but now is when it came out.
posted by Countess Elena


I am 3/4 through this book and it is great! So much baking and magic and humor. There is a sourdough starter in it named Bob who is much more than you expect.
posted by bijou243 at 6:13 AM on July 28 [2 favorites]


I have experienced a flash of nostalgia for the early days of the lockdown, which I thought was a weird thing for my brain to have done, but it did it.

I remember saying to someone (in person) that at least it was nice to have a common goal that everyone was working for regardless of politics.

Not a good prediction on my part.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:52 AM on July 28 [3 favorites]


Yeah this heat wave killed a lot of my indoor bread enthusiasm. I was considering trying a bake on the grill with a pizza stone. Anyone tried that?
posted by HumanComplex at 7:51 AM on July 28 [1 favorite]


Yeah this heat wave killed a lot of my indoor bread enthusiasm. I was considering trying a bake on the grill with a pizza stone. Anyone tried that?
If you bake your bread in a dutch oven and your outdoor grill can maintain ~500F, it shouldn't be too hard to make it work.

Personally, I've just adjusted my baking schedule (long proofing no-kneed sourdough) to bake at 7am so I can vent the heat before the day really gets hot -- and get extremely fresh bread for lunch.
posted by 3j0hn at 8:18 AM on July 28 [3 favorites]


My options for good bread here have always involved driving for 3 hours (no thanks) or pretending that supermarket "artisian" loaves were any good at all. And my attempts at instant yeast bread, while tasty right out of the oven, didn't age well and were too dense for sandwiches. Finally taking the time to learn sourdough and a crazy 6 hour proof recipe has paid off, because I'm getting consistent good bread, and it keeps for a surprisingly long time, so I can do a weekly baking schedule.

Can't see stopping unless a bakery opens closer to home. And I hope one does, surely with all the people who've learned, more will decide to go pro? The way bakeries doing bread (rather than only deserts) in the US are mostly a large city thing has always mystified me, compared to other countries where it seems every little town has a bakery making good bread.
posted by joeyh at 8:23 AM on July 28 [4 favorites]


I bought the King Arthur starter last year, and failed to read the instructions. I called to ask what I was doing wrong and got scolded by the help desk. "You're starving your starter!" Chastened, I started feeding it twice a day and it bounced right back. (Its name is Janet.) I don't eat enough of it to make bread very often, so Janet lives in the fridge and gets fed once a week.

On topic, sourdough is the bomb diggity and everyone should be baking it.
posted by corvikate at 8:32 AM on July 28 [4 favorites]


I haven't mastered the art of baking bread whilst WFH to avoid the plague. I have, however, finally mastered the art of storing bread from the local bakery. Turns out the trick, whether you're putting it in the freezer for later or keeping it out on the side for eating now, is to wrap it in a layer of clingfilm and then a layer of tin foil. I still end up having to toast the last few slices, because one person alone just can't get through a two-pound loaf before it goes stale, but clingfilm + foil keeps it for longer than anything else I've tried: paper bags, plastic bags, bread bins, tea towels.

It's possible that two layers of the same material would be just as effective. However, clingfilm as the inner layer keeps the bread from acquiring a metallic taste; and foil is easier to work with than clingfilm as an outer layer, because you can see if you've left any gaps and it doesn't stick to the layer below, which makes repeated unwrapping and re-wrapping easier.

The trick also works for freezing cheese scones, which just go stale in the freezer when frozen in a ziplock bag, but come out good as new when frozen in compact little double-wrapped stacks.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 8:42 AM on July 28 [1 favorite]


This isn't about bread, this is about the media ourobouros selling you a story in month 1, then deriding you for buying it in month 2. What a cynical shitshow.
posted by dmh at 8:44 AM on July 28 [8 favorites]


I have been baking sourdough for a couple years (before it was coo--well, sort of while it was becoming overly trendy) and have been amused by the sourdough trend. Also, the recent Grub Street article linked in the FPP is by someone I know, and it just cracks me up. Pretty sure my partner, the house chef, thinks I am like her boyfriend, the bread baker, and I don't disagree.
posted by ferret branca at 8:45 AM on July 28


I managed about six loaves - not enough to get really good at it - and then killed my starter from neglect (mold). I'll begin again in the fall I'm sure!
posted by kitcat at 9:22 AM on July 28


This isn't about bread, this is about the media ourobouros selling you a story in month 1, then deriding you for buying it in month 2. What a cynical shitshow.

Although I don't think it's a conscious action, you do have a point there. I don't even like sourdough bread. It's, well, it's sour, unless you soak it in good soup or cheese. But I was scared and who knew when yeast was coming back into stores--plus you didn't even want to go to stores--so I made a starter according to a viral Twitter thread's instructions, using cranberries out of snack mix. Like I said, it made me feel less helpless.
posted by Countess Elena at 9:37 AM on July 28 [2 favorites]


Last week we 100% traded a neighbor in our building half a loaf of my sourdough bread for his pair of unwanted dumbells, so basically the covid barter economy is still going strong here in brooklyn.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 9:37 AM on July 28 [8 favorites]


I started baking bread when my sister-in-law on a whim decided to send me a sourdough starter at the beginning of the pandemic. I'm still baking now. Perhaps instagram has moved on and the celebs are no longer interested, but the wave of popularity has broadened our appreciation for handmade bread and likely created more than a few lifelong bakers. More importantly, it gave us a lens through which we could interrogate the system we've been living with.

I disagree that the sourdough wave has been only a distraction or a calming technique. At least some of those of us privileged enough to have extra time on our hands while working from home (or those who have been living on unemployment) have had time to think about what we might do with a few more hours every day, which can lead to thinking about our employers' demands on our time, what we as a society should provide for each other in difficult times, what our labor system should look like, and what our food system should look like, after they taste how good even a mediocre homebaked loaf can be when compared to industrial bread.

I'm glad to see the end of the competitions over who can achieve the laciest open crumb, the fanciest scoring/flouring pattern, or the brightest purple butterfly pea flower bread. Make fun of the influencers who briefly dabbled in sourdough to squeeze a buck out of the trend if you must, but don't smear the whole community with it. I'd personally much rather hear about those who put their phones down, rolled their sleeves up, and learned something. If the act of making your own helps you imagine what we could choose to emphasize in our food system--community needs, nutrition, better farming practices, etc--and takes a tiny step toward decommodifying it, I'd say that sourdough is part of the revolution; the one you need to have in your head that brings you out to the one we have the streets.

Farmerama's Cereal podcast miniseries has been an excellent synthesis of these ideas and a good starting point toward rethinking the worst features of our food production system.
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 9:40 AM on July 28 [4 favorites]


Eh, it is fruit season. Hence I have moved on to crumbles, cobblers, and buckles. I'll get back to bread in the fall.
posted by medeine at 12:50 PM on July 28


Eh, it is fruit season. Hence I have moved on to crumbles, cobblers, and buckles.

Counterpoint: tomatoes are a fruit and its August this weekend. Tomatoes and bread are a fucking killer combination. [goes to remove the pan de cristal he's making pan con tomate with for dinner from the over]
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:53 PM on July 28 [1 favorite]


In 1983 we alighted in an ex ship-building and coal city in NE England. On demand, on my way home from work, I stopped at a Mom&Pop bakery for a chunky wholemeal loaf; it was grand. About a year later they were bought out by a chain, so I had to cycle across town for a similar place and product. A few months on, they retired and shuttered their shop. Shag it, I said, I'll have to make my own, and so I did, and have done ever since. I've found bread to be remarkably forgiving: should be baked for 40 mins but twice that will still yield a [crusty] loaf. Should be kneaded for X minutes but you can get away with X/4. Knocking back? Can't be bothered. White bread flour is risier, rye is tastier, wholemeal healthier, cornmeal brighter. Been doing sourdough for a few years: it works for me because I don't have to buy yeast. The run on flour at the start of Coronarama was a lesson in what I could cut flour with and still get a loaf with holes in it. I found all sorts of dusty bags treasure at the back of the cupboard and lurried that all in bit by bit. I'd never have found a use for coconut or rice 'flour' else. Every loaf is different, but every loaf is mmmm good.
posted by BobTheScientist at 1:14 PM on July 28 [4 favorites]


The fact that so many other people were trying, and succeeding, at making a starter and baking great-tasting loaves helped remove some of my worries about if I could do it. Like for years I'd been thinking that I should try to make my own sourdough bread and was awestruck when I heard other people talking about theirs (what can I say, I get impressed easily). Then the yeast ran out and everyone was making sourdough and it felt to me like the perfect time to give it a shot. It also helped that some friends got in on it too so that we could compare what we were doing and how our loaves tasted. But they've all moved onto what they're barbecuing or smoking at home now that it's summer.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 1:29 PM on July 28 [5 favorites]


I've lapsed into a lazy cycle of sourdough pancakes semi-weekly when feeding the starter. I don't think I'll go back to *not* sourdough pancakes.
posted by Made of Star Stuff at 2:04 PM on July 28 [1 favorite]


Because of my various psychological issues, I'd already been shopping at the restaurant supply store before COVID started. When we ran out of some stuff, and I asked friends if they wanted to go in on part of a 50 pound sack of high gluten bread flour, Jesus.

You would have thought I'd been offering up free cocaine, from the response I got.
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 3:31 PM on July 28 [4 favorites]


I've been baking every week since 1983 as well, BobTheScientist, and all sorts of bread. Did the sourdough for some years during the 00's till the kids vetoed it*. However, that is all normal here; the most surprising part of this article for me was that 96 % of flour goes to commercial use in the US, because I'd guess that here it's more like half and half commercial and private baking.
Every time there is a national crisis here in Denmark people start hoarding yeast, and it's become kind of a joke, because whoever needs that much yeast?** and anyway the stores restock within days. At the start of the lockdown our PM said - now don't go out hoarding yeast - and everyone went out to hoard some yeast and the stocks were replenished two days later.
What's been special in the US, (and maybe partly also the UK? Have other countries experienced this?) is that the shift from one distribution network to another has been so harsh.

*sourdough is fine and today the two now adult kids love it. But they also love the many different types of yeasted bread. This morning I made pitas for an Israeli breakfast, from a recipe by Ottolenghi. The good things about them, as compared to sourdough versions, was that they were neutral and soft. They didn't disturb all the other tastes on our breakfast spread.
Because I generally don't have the takers for sourdough breads, it is a lot of trouble to keep a live culture, so I buy sourdough at the bakers, and bake all the other breads.

** one packet of yeast can yield 10-20 loaves of bread, or an endless amount, depending on several factors. So anyone buying ten packets is momentarily insane.
posted by mumimor at 4:29 PM on July 28 [1 favorite]


We have always been a bread baking family, though we rarely make sourdough due to the low-key hassle. We haven’t made any sourdough during lockdown either, but we have made a lot of banana bread. Mostly because our local Krogers’ never seems to run out of “too ripe” bananas that they sell for like 40 cents a pound (which I honestly don’t understand, the best banana bread comes from bananas that look like they are ready to burst from over-ripening, this is credibly the cheapest way to make God’s Own Banana Bread, we can’t be the only family in our neighborhood that knows this?).
posted by Doleful Creature at 9:55 PM on July 28 [1 favorite]


In Ireland, about 10 years ago, Strong White [high gluten for bread] Flour started to be tagged "Suitable for bread-makers". I looked at my two floury hands and asked what else the stuff could be suitable for. After a bit [of indignation] I realised that there must be any number of machines for making bread cluttering kitchen cupboards throughout the land.
About 10 weeks ago, at peak lockdown, Herself went into a Polish deli for flour and was delighted to find 3x1kg of Melvit Mąka Żytnia which, she was assured, was for bread: Look at the picture, and it says "do wypieku domowego chleba". The only words in English were HIGH QUALITY PRODUCT and in minute font on the side "GB Rye Flour". It was fine, not wheat, but fine. She also came away with 500g [!] packet of fresh yeast. Blimey, that stuff is fizzy. If I followed sourdough rules like "allow to develop overnight in a warm place", it would be over the bowl, down the stairs and out the door.
posted by BobTheScientist at 12:24 AM on July 29 [2 favorites]


Dangit I keep forgetting I have both a recipe for a chocolate bread and the ingredients to make it with.

I mean, I know I said that baking loaves of bread wasn't really a good idea for me as a single baker, but let me just say again, chocolate bread.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:54 AM on July 29 [2 favorites]


** one packet of yeast can yield 10-20 loaves of bread, or an endless amount, depending on several factors. So anyone buying ten packets is momentarily insane.
The problem is that basically every recipe for yeast bread asks for "1 packet of yeast" to make bread fast and "fool proof". One good thing to come out of the bread-boom of the pandemic is that it is now easier to find recipes that use less yeast.

For example, King Arthur has started adding lower yeast tips to all their bread recipes as well as having a dedicated article: https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/blog/2020/04/30/how-to-bake-bread-using-less-yeast
posted by 3j0hn at 10:25 AM on July 29 [3 favorites]


My starter was doing amazing at first but instantly died when I ran out of the original flour and I haven't been able to revive or restart it with any of the flours I've been able to get at the grocery store (and no, I'm not going to go to a special baking store during covid for flour made by elves, or order a bag online at 10x what flour should cost). After 2 freaking months of 12h feedings and reading all the advice and still no rising at all I have officially given up. I even bought a kitchen scale. Apparently my 5-year old generic all purpose flour was magic that can't be repeated.

On the plus side I was eventually able to get some yeast, though after wasting so much effort with the sourdough I've been procrastinating trying it out and confirming that the problem wasn't the sourdough, it's me. Maybe I'm just a quickbread kind of person. My muffins and scones and berry crisp are great. Who needs bread anyway...

I miss good bread
posted by randomnity at 1:25 PM on July 29


Baking bread is generally of no interest to me as eating bread is not really of interest to me, but in terms of yeast availability-- will no-one think of the patisserie?
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 1:31 PM on July 29


For example, King Arthur has started adding lower yeast tips to all their bread recipes as well as having a dedicated article: https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/blog/2020/04/30/how-to-bake-bread-using-less-yeast

Good advice! I nearly always use a preferment, which means you can even bake a bread rich in butter and eggs like a brioche with just a little pinch of yeast. I don't do it to save money or because yeast is scarce, but because it tastes better.
Right now I'm baking a sourdough rye bread out of a package. For some reason I don't do well with whole rye breads from scratch, so I've turned to ready mixes for those and I am not ashamed at all, using a mix at home instead of buying it baked at the store ensures a better texture. The rye is for potato sandwiches and for sandwiches with salami.
I also have an overnight rising dough for a yeasted rye-wheat mix with buttermilk that we prefer for sandwiches with smoked fish and shellfish, because we are having both tomorrow for lunch as a treat.
posted by mumimor at 2:35 PM on July 29


While I got rid of most of my excess of yeast during the Yeast Run, I've had a couple of individual bag orders trickle in late, so if there's anyone around San Jose that is still looking for yeast I could maybe supply them a brick. I could possibly also mail but would need to get some mailers. PM me if interested.
posted by tavella at 3:30 PM on July 29 [1 favorite]


If anyone in the US is still having trouble finding yeast for sale in their area, PM me. I bought some packets of yeast to send to sisters who were having trouble finding a supply in their area but a couple of other siblings' relief packages reached them first. Consequently I have some I'd be happy to share and could pop it in the mail if anyone is in an area that is still short.
posted by Nerd of the North at 11:47 PM on July 29


How long does yeast keep for? I think I have some in my refrigerator (which is not where I'm staying these days) but they are at least several years old.
posted by rhizome at 11:41 AM on July 30


I think even packaged dried yeast has a shelf life - not that it would mold or rot, more like the older it gets, the less well it works. I think "several years old" is certainly on the upper edge of viability, if not "doesn't work". However, the fridge may have helped a bit.

When in doubt, you can "proof" it - most bread recipes include this step as part of the recipe. You dissolve the yeast in a little warm water with a little sugar and then wait about 5-10 minutes to see if it starts bubbling. That's proofing it - you're trying to wake it up a little and see if it works still. If it bubbles, then you're good to go. If it bubbles anemically, you may still be okay; maybe add a pinch more sugar and wait another five minutes to make sure it gets going. But if it still doesn't do anything, ditch it and start over with more, hopefully a bit fresher, yeast.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:08 PM on July 30 [1 favorite]


So "proofing" is "proving!" Finally, another mystery solved on top of all this.
posted by rhizome at 1:49 PM on July 30


I have eaten too much bread as a result of this thread and now my stomach hates me :( :( :(
posted by Kitchen Witch at 5:54 AM on August 2


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