“The rise of sourdough popularity”

Sourdough starters, once a popular trend on social media platforms during the COVID-19 pandemic, are making a comeback. Searches for ‘sourdough’ have steadily increased since the onset of the pandemic, with a significant 3X resurgence already happening in 2024. The renewed interest in sourdough has led to a surge in bread flour sales, with King Arthur Baking Company reporting a noticeable uptick in demand.

John Henry Siedlecki, vice president of brand and innovation for King Arthur, attributes the rise in bread flour sales to various factors that are converging to create the current trend. Many people honed their baking skills during COVID and are now finding solace in bread making as a way to unwind from the stresses of daily life. Additionally, baking bread allows individuals to have control over the ingredients they use, and with grocery prices on the rise, homemade bread offers a more cost-effective alternative to store-bought options.

The influence of social media platforms like Reddit, Pinterest, Instagram, and King Arthur’s own online channels has further fueled the excitement surrounding sourdough baking. The visually appealing images of artisan sourdough loaves shared on these platforms inspire more people to try their hand at bread making, contributing to the growing popularity of sourdough starters and bread flour.

To cater to the increasing interest in sourdough baking, the Bread Bakers Guild of America recently hosted a two-day intensive session at the King Arthur Baking School in Vermont. The course focused on various aspects of sourdough production, including building schedules, flour selection, and fermentation techniques. Attendees learned how these factors influence the flavor, texture, and timeline of bread production, highlighting the importance of mastering these variables for successful baking.

Amber Eisle, the director of the King Arthur Baking School, offers some advice for newcomers to the world of sourdough baking. She emphasizes the importance of measuring ingredients by weight for accuracy and consistency, as well as establishing a routine for caring for and feeding the sourdough starter. Eisle recommends using high-quality unbleached flours like King Arthur All-Purpose or Bread flours to feed the starter and suggests exploring the range of sourdough tools available on the King Arthur website, including scales and temperature-controlling devices.

As the sourdough trend continues to gain momentum, King Arthur Baking Company remains at the forefront, providing aspiring bakers with the tools and resources needed to embark on their sourdough journey successfully.

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