Readers’ pick: Sourdough bread
Excess free time, online class and virtual internships have given students a little more free time to experiment in the kitchen with trending TikTok recipes. Of those dishes, the viral sourdough bread recipes are top-tier cooking.
The hearty bread, known for its distinct sour taste, is made with a sourdough starter: a mixture of water and flour that is “fed” for a few days to weeks, which ferments and cultivates the natural yeasts that are found in the air. Because the trend blew up when stay-at-home orders were first issued last year, many home bakers even opted to name their starters with bread-related puns on Reddit, like Bread Pitt, Clint Yeastwood or Yeast Witherspoon.
For many, like myself, baking sourdough bread helped to stifle quarantine-induced boredom and pandemic-induced anxieties. The act of creating something from literal scratch required a lot of time and took a lot of patience and love.
Sourdough bread is notoriously easy to mess up – starters take a long time to mature, the process of making the bread itself takes hours on end and special baking equipment is often needed. But when you finally achieve your first sourdough success, there’s no better feeling.
The fresh bread is versatile and tastes great by itself, with toppings or in a sandwich. Some of my personal favorite ways to use up my homemade sourdough are pan-fried in butter with flaky sea salt, in a gooey grilled cheese or slathered in nut butter and homemade jam. Sourdough can also easily be sliced up and frozen before going stale.
While I haven’t touched my sourdough starter in more time than I’d like to admit, I’ll always have fond memories of exploring the art of making bread during quarantine.