Why You Need to Stop Baking Bread
WRITTEN BY Caren White
I was walking down the baking aisle to see if the organic flour was on sale. Organic flour is expensive and I am poor so I always try to buy it when it goes on sale. There was no sale and no flour. The shelves were bare. My eyes travelled up to the top shelf. The shelf with the leavening ingredients. Also bare.
How could this be?
When I got home, I logged on to my laptop and started reading articles on the pandemic. I had stopped reading most pandemic related articles weeks ago because they were upsetting me too much. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t concentrate. I needed to distance myself. But I knew that the pandemic had something to do with the bare shelves in the baking aisle so I exposed myself to the turmoil once more.
It seems that there has been a run on flour and yeast because people are bored so they are baking bread to pass the time.
Baking bread is a way of life for me, not a hobby. Not something to do just to pass the time. I don’t eat store-bought bread. I rarely eat prepared foods of any kind. If you visited my kitchen, you would find food but nothing to eat because I only stock ingredients. I do all of my own cooking and baking. On Saturday nights, I don’t order pizza, I make it. From scratch. Including the crust. I also grow my own popcorn, but that’s a topic for another day.
You see, I am one of THOSE people. You know the ones. You offer them a plate of food and they look at it suspiciously asking “Is that organic?” I want to know what is in my food so I make it myself. By the way, croutons? Made from my homemade bread. Breading for fried chicken? Made from my homemade bread. Stuffing for the Thanksgiving turkey? Made from my homemade bread. So when you buy up all of the flour and leavening ingredients for the sake of pretty photos on your Instagram feed you are literally taking food from my mouth. And the mouths of other families who also do their own their baking so that they can provide healthy food for their families.
Here’s the problem. It’s Economics 101. Supply and Demand. Before the pandemic, very few people did scratch baking so the grocery stores carried only limited supplies of flour and leavening. Both go bad, so they don’t want it hanging around the shelves for too long. Hence the limited quantities. That was okay. There was always enough for those of us who needed it. But there is not enough now that we are competing with a bunch of dilettante bakers who care nothing for anyone but themselves.
Yes, I know that sounds harsh, but I’m willing to bet that not a single one of them stopped to think as they grabbed the last of the flour and the yeast that they were robbing other people’s children of their daily bread. Nope. I’m certain all they cared about was how impressed everyone was going to be with their picture perfect loaves of bread.
Here’s an idea. If you are bored and want to learn new skills, why don’t you learn how to garden and impress everyone with your tomatoes? Or how about learning how to sew to make masks for hospitals and first responders? I know, learn to crochet so you can make those cute market bags for when you go to the farmer’s market.
But, please, please, I’m begging you, stop baking bread.