Pandemic survival skills: sourdough

The pandemic has turned me into a sourdough ... baker. I have extra time on my hands, but have been confronted by empty grocery store shelves — in the yeast section, at least. So a couple weeks ago I whipped up a batch of sourdough starter, and now I no longer needed commercial yeast. The wild stuff is starter was enough.

The internet makes starting hobbies less intimidating than the dark old days when we had to rely on things like the Encyclopedia Brittanica to figure stuff out. YouTube is a great resource fo how to stuff like this, and that's what I relied on to get my sourdough game on. So far I've cranked out four loaves of bread, and there's sourdough pizza dough proofing in the fridge. And my starter on the kitchen counter keeps belching out CO2.

Here are some links to help you brush up your pandemic sourdough survival skills:

I followed this recipe from Joshua Weissman to create my starter. He's a young foodie social media influencer. The recipe works well, using unbleached AP or bread flours mixed with equal parts rye.

I used this Weissman recipe to bake my bread. It's from an episode of Basics with Babish, a YouTube foodie channel that I think is quite good. The recipe is great, but the Weissman-Babish bromance can be a little much at times. It's all in good fun, however.

Here are some other useful sourdough resources.

Sarah C. Owens is a California-based baker and author of "Sourdough: Recipes for Rustic Fermented Breads, Sweets, Savories, and More." I haven't read her book, yet. You can find her on YouTube baking sourdough bread here.

The Wild Life offers free online sourdough courses. I haven't taken one yet, but I plan to check it out.

Patrick Ryan is an Irish baker, and O'Day was my mom's maiden name, so I'm biased. His rye sourdough recipe on YouTube is on my schedule for next week.

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