With working ovens and plenty of time due to coronavirus-related stay-at-home orders, many Americans are trying their hands at baking bread.
Karen Colberg, Co-CEO of King Arthur Flour, told Cheddar Monday that people are looking for a way to pass the time.
“I think, right now, in such uncertain times, baking is such a comfort," Colberg said.
Unlike a batch of cookies, or even cupcakes, which can sometimes be made in half an hour, bread requires several hours to prepare. Now that many have the time to dedicate to the process, Colberg contends that baking bread can be more than just food prep.
“There is something really therapeutic about getting your hands, literally, in the dough and creating something.”
Google is reporting an all-time high for searches about bread, and Colberg said the most popular recipe is for sourdough starter, which requires an even greater amount of tending than a non-sourdough loaf.
“There’s been over 1.5 million views to this one recipe page over the past few weeks,” she said. “It’s elevating your baking game, particularly if you were already a bread baker.”
For those who might need a little bit more guidance in the kitchen, King Arthur’s Baker's Hotline has been operating for 25 years and is staffed with trained bakers who can answer all of your baking questions.
“We have seen doubled, probably two-and-a-half times, the numbers of inquiries through the hotline over the past couple of weeks, and then we have a really active engagement on social,” Colberg said.
The popularity of baking has increased the demand for flour and yeast and some suppliers are calling it "unprecedented." Colberg said to keep up with the uptick, her company is introducing a new packaging size to carry their flour.
“We’re working with a partner that normally wouldn’t be bagging our flour telling them, 'Here is a new pack size. How quickly can you get this up and running?' By the end of this week and over the next few months we will have over one million additional all-purpose flour [packages] getting out there,” she said.