How I Discovered the Best Homemade White Bread Recipe During a Flour Shortage



When Covid-19 came knocking in mid-March, and just going to the supermarket became an ordeal, I realized quickly that I could make far better bread than the usual stock in the stores. Having made plenty of bread in the past, but for various reasons, time among other things, I had gotten out of the habit. Not now. In casting about for a really good recipe — not too complicated, but one that provided an excellent texture (read: good slicing characteristics for toast and sandwiches) — I came across this recipe out of Rock Recipes. As in The Rock. The Newfoundland Rock, not to be confused with any other rock. Barry Parsons, the creator of Rock Recipes, has a true talent for turning out incredible recipes, and just so you know it is some kind of love affair, of course I have all his cookbooks.

A Bread Journey of Sourcing Flour in Short Supply

What ensued over the next several weeks and months, was a culinary journey. A bread journey to be exact. What started as white bread moved onto rye, pumpernickel, and a caramelized onion version.The rye and pumpernickel come from another source, but the onion is a variation I created on Rock recipes’ white bread. So here is the story: At first I started using the Rock Recipe white bread, but as we were in the middle of a pandemic, the usual supplies of flour and yeast dried up. It became a quasi-comical set of circumstances, but when in need of bread, one knows no bounds.

At first, my flour supply was not up to the whole task, so I had to find flour somewhere. Along comes Amy (not her real name), friend and wife of my mechanic. “Oh I have a 5-pound bag that I bought for someone else who no longer wants it. You can take it.” My car just happened to need its snow tires taken off. Done.

Then the yeast supply was gone. I asked my son the non-baker if he could help me out on this. Living in a big city, and knowing the local supply was devastated, he said sure. A few days later, a large bag of SAF instant yeast arrived, along with a story. He went across the street from where he was living to a little Italian market. He saw something called yeast extract, and thought, well, that sounded good. Gets up to the cashier. The girl, who knew him, suddenly asked, “Are you Australian?”


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