March 26, 2020

The economy might be toast, but the sourdough biz is on the rise

Baking bread might return a little agency to our lives, at a time when we have so little.

In the heat of lockdown, we’re all baking sourdough now

Everyone from The New York Times to Quartz to your friends on Instagram and Twitter are serving up sourdough recipes for our long weeks of COVID-19 isolation. One of our favorites: pandemic sourdough waffles

How to explain sourdough’s sudden popularity? It may be about more than just the extra time we have to pursue neglected hobbies. Some academics think that kneading dough gives us more control in our lives, at a time when we have so little.

Yeast is disappearing, and it’s all Instagram’s fault

Sourdough fever is not entirely a phenomenon of the social-distancing era. In the Before Time, — you know, on February 25 — CNBC hailed the “comeback” of sourdough, which had seen an 11% sales jump in the past 4 years.

Although groceries are running out of yeast and other baking staples, Big Flour — AKA the North American Millers’ Association — would like to reassure you that there’s no grain crisis. Empty shelves are a byproduct of slow supply chains, not shortages.

The buns are hot, and bakeries across the country are cashing in 

With amateur bakers leavening in numbers, bakeries like Bien Cuit in New York have seen big upticks in the number of customers buying their sourdough starter kits. 

A Vermont-based seller of baking supplies, King Arthur Flour, told The Washington Post that it has received more than 22k messages so far this year. As one Bien Cuit employee explained, “I’m getting the vibe that people are baking more bread at home.”

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