Over the past few weeks, Americans’ everyday vernacular has grown to include phrases like “self-quarantine,” “social distancing” and, perhaps the strangest addition of all, “sourdough starter.” Maybe it’s because loaves are scarce on grocery store shelves, or maybe it’s a rediscovered streak of self-reliance, but making bread has become one of the most popular, time-consuming projects of the housebound—so much so that sales of baking yeast went up 647.3 percent in March 2020 compared to March 2019, according to Nielson.
Professional baker Daniel Riesenberger, who produces artisan sourdough loaves in Columbus, Ohio, says his popular Instagram page, “Dan the Baker,” has been flooded with questions about baking at home all of a sudden. He says he’s never seen anything like it.
“The food systems are still fine, but the thought is, well what if they weren’t?” he said. “I feel like there’s going to be a lot of preservation and food-making things come out of this and maybe bread is just the most quick and obvious one that’s in the forefront of people’s minds right now. It’s not a bad thing to know how to make bread.”
Riesenberger is now posting instructional videos on his Instagram page for the bread curious, and he shared with Robb Report his list of must-have gear for baking professional-quality loaves at home.