Coronavirus: Quarantine cooking and baking sourdough bread with a Top Chef Canada contestant

It’s called quarantine cooking and it has people trying new recipes and dishes at home while maintaining social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

One craze making the rounds on social media is baking bread, with people posting pictures of their perfect loaves.

“Bread is food for the soul definitely,” said Top Chef Canada contestant Brock Bowes, adding “it’s something that is so simple but makes you feel so amazing.”

It’s perhaps why so many people are busy baking bread during the COVID-19 pandemic.

After all, you really only really need four ingredients to make bread.

“Flour, yeast, water and a pinch of salt,” Bowes said.

However, because of its popularity, one of those important ingredients is undergoing a pandemic shortage.

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“Yeast,” said Bowes.

But just because grocery and market shelves are thin on yeast doesn’t mean you have to be, so Bowes brought in a baking buddy.

Apparently, the key to making that basic sourdough loaf is sourdough starter, which actually makes its own yeast.

Bruce recommends looking up a good sourdough starter recipe.

When you’ve done that, you’ll find that besides tender loving care and time, the secret of baking bread is proofing.

“Proofing is very important; you have to have the right amount of proofing time at the right temperature,” Bruce said.

Proofing is the first baking cycle.

Bruce likes 80 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (26-27 Celsius) for an hour or two, then bakes the bread at 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260 C) for 15 minutes, then 450 F (232 C) for 35 minutes.

Remove from the oven, cover in copious quantities of butter and enjoy.

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