With more free time and a struggle to find food on the shelves, now is the time to learn how to make bread.
There’s even lots of free tutorials on bread making for you to try.
But the problem is finding yeast – a necessity for most bread recipes (though there are some you can make without it)
Sure flour (another baking essential) is hard to find too but you are more likely to have some of that in the cupboard already.
The good news is that you can use the flour to create your own sourdough starter to make bread, bagels, doughnuts and all sorts of other things.
A sourdough starter is basically fermented flour and water that will help bread to rise (although it does it more slowly than fast acting yeast).
It needs looking after and fed daily at first so it’s a bit like a pet and a food source to keep you company through these solitary times.
Sourdough also adds a different flavour to your baked goods.
It is a slow process though – if you start today, it will be a week before you can bake your first loaf, but once you get one started, you can use it for years.
Some bakeries claim that the starter they use was started over 100 years ago.
You can also take some of it and give it to family members or friends (though you’ll probably have to wait until this is over, unless you are already leaving some essentials outside for them).
How to make a sourdough starter
- Find a clean jar (or a Tupperware would work if you don’t have one) and leave plenty of space for your starter to grow.
- Add equal amounts of flour and lukewarm water – around 200g is a good place to start. Any type of flour will work (as long as it is grain based) but if you can get your hands on some strong white bread flour, use that.
- Leave it uncovered and store somewhere warm overnight.
- The next day, discard half of the mixture and add 100g of flour and 100g of water (or half of your original amount again if you have started with a larger or smaller amount).
- Repeat this discarding and feeding process every day until you see bubbles in the mixture. This usually takes five to seven days.
- Once it reaches this point, you need to pop it in the fridge and feed it once a week. To feed it, bring it to room temperature, add the flour and water and then leave it out for 30 minutes to one hour before placing it back in the fridge.
- If you use the sourdough to make bread, replace the weight you removed. For example, if you use 100g of the starter in a recipe, add 50g of flour and 50g of water back into the starter.
- Once you have your starter, you can find a huge amount of recipes for all sorts of baked goods using sourdough instead of yeast.