Before we crank the blog back up in earnest, let’s start with a quick pep talk. We bakers are hardy folk. I’ve written before that inside every Jacques Torres there’s a Chuck Norris waiting to get out. I still believe that (to one degree or another) and know down deep that as long as we keep our wits about us and take sensible precautions, we’re all going to come through this just fine — and even better, stronger bakers than we were before. Life in the future will not be a Mad Max movie. Too few of us have the groovy leather clothes. So let’s occupy our minds with the really important things, like the height of our biscuits and the volume of our meringues. Can I get an amen?
So now, to first things: ingredients. As mentioned in yesterday’s comment fields, flour has flown off the shelves most everywhere. Still I’m betting that most of us have at least some, which is good for a start. Distribution chains are holding up, which means that as time passes things will only get better in terms of supply, as the hoarders start to relax, the food makers continue to produce and ship, and the supermarkets get more product on the shelves.
Until then, what’s the best use of the flour we’ve got? For my money it’s the bread (sourdough) starter. Bread starters are not only good for raising bread, making use as they do of naturally occurring yeast, they make a great base for griddled breads like pancakes and English muffins, Johnnycakes and waffles. Starter makes a stellar deep-fry batter. And of course bread-wise you’ve got everything from country-style loaves to flatbreads (including pizza crusts), crackers, pretzels, muffins, and cookies. Many of these can be raised with starter alone. Others benefit from the added boost of a little commercial yeast, baking powder or baking soda. But we’ll talk more about that next post.
Meantime I’m going to wake my starter up, which may take a couple of days. Those who are interested can start one of their own. The process will take about 5-7 days start to finish. More soon!