Finding Flour During the Pandemic
I started making sourdough a few months ago, finding my way to it though my journey into all things fermentation. Sourdough is yet another fermented product after all. The starter is a culture of yeast, lactobacillus, and other bacteria. I had made a few sourdough starters and even made a loaf a year ago but I wasn't committed then. I ran into issues with my starter and got discouraged. One felt too active and smelt overwhelmingly cheesy and at least one got moldy when I forgot to feed it. Every time I started a new one it was another week of waiting.
Thinking of myself as more of a fermenter than a bread maker, I tried to make a loaf that was easy and didn't require what seemed at the time like an unfathomable amount of work that goes into the process of making a good sourdough. It tasted okay but didn't look great. That was the only loaf I made that year.
I decided to get a new starter going and this time I was committed to mastering sourdough. It wouldn't happen overnight, I needed repetition. So I stopped buying sourdough from the store and this forced me to step up and make a loaf every week. This new found journey into sourdough positioned me perfectly for this new life of "safer at home" restrictions. I have not been to a store in almost 4 weeks but I've had wonderful artisan style whole wheat sourdough bread nearly every day.
To hoard or not to hoard.
The empty shelves made that decision for me. As the days went on I was kicking myself for not buying more than one bag of flour the week before the quarantine started — when the shelves were still stocked! I can still picture the beautifully stocked shelves.
My supplies were dwindling, fast. It seems the rest of the country also found a new love for bread making while shut in at home. Where can you still buy flour? The store shelves were empty the last time I was there, Amazon was all sold out, several other websites I found by googling were also sold out. I finally found one that that looked like they were still in stock and still accepting orders.
Camas Country Mill of Oregon. What could be better than buying straight from the source! It was a bit more expensive than buying flour from the store and maybe too expensive to be making pancakes with but we're on the pursuit of perfect artisan sourdough. The quality and flavor of the flour is integral to a bread where the only ingredients are flour, water, and salt.
My order was delivered quickly and I made my next loaf with Camas Country Mill Hard Red Spring Wheat Flour and their Dark Northern Rye Flour. It tasted fantastic — tangy, light, and a hint of rye.
This brings me to the reason I started writing this post in the first place. This pandemic has changed so many things and we've had to adjust in so many ways. We've had to become more resourceful and source our everyday needs from new places. Had it not been for the COVID-19 pandemic I would not have found Camas Country Mill. To this end, I am thankful. Thank you Camas Country Mill for providing a great product and a source of joy in these unique times.