Home Bakers are Forced to Get Creative in the Face of a Global Baking Supply Shortage

By 3 months ago

For the longest time, baking was viewed as a hobby for old people, party chefs, and art school dropouts only. However, with 60% of American jobs suspended, people have been opting to take a walk on the wild (yeasty) side. The only problem is, if people keep walking at the pace they have been, there won't be anything left for anyone else. 

If you're an experienced baker, you probably bought your supplies in bulk at one point. Those who do bake as a consistent hobby, and even those that use baking for some under-the-table side income, most likely have a stockpile of five to ten extra pounds of flour just sitting around. However, something you can't just keep around is dry active yeast. 

It is important to note that dry active yeast can, in fact, be purchased in bulk. But, packaged yeast is not nearly as flavorful or powerful as jarred yeast. Once opened, dry active yeast can only exist for 2-3 months before dying completely. 

Much like other air-tight sealed ingredients, as soon as you open the package, the quality of the yeast starts to diminish. 

 

With the popularity of baking increasing the farther we go into our current quarantine, stores, factories, and farms have all taken a massive hit. Companies are unable to produce their goods as quickly as they used to, and stores are unable to stock their shelves frequently due to cutting staff numbers and hours for their own safety. 

These strange events have led to the only great yeast shortage that America has seen since the Great Depression. 

Although, home bakers are combatting this shortage by using yeast alternatives, and some people are even grinding their own flour. Making your own sourdough starter is a great way to get around using dry active yeast since the starter is just a slurry of water and flour that has been coaxed into fermentation. 

Additionally, lots of home bakers have started to grind their own flour. This is possible for all nuts, grains, and dried legumes. You can make flour out of practically anything nowadays. So, please, be mindful when you're going to the grocery store to buy 25 pounds of flour you might not use. Other people need to eat too. 

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