Bread baking revived

Baking bread has always been a passion of mine. While I did attempt the sourdough path during the height of the pandemic in 2020, I quickly realized that it just wasn’t for me. Although tending to a sourdough starter for 15 minutes a day is not really a huge ask, what WAS a big ask for me was to constantly remove or even (gasp) discard starter. I am very anti food waste, so discarding was completely out of the question. Instead, I would always hasten to figure out yet another way to use sourdough starter discard, and eventually, it just got really tiring. I didn’t always want to make or eat bread. I didn’t always want to be fiddling in the kitchen. Sometimes, I just want to make bread and be done with it. And that’s where yeast packets are really handy: I can make my own recipe, get excited at the yeast being alive and growing, bake, and then be done!

Two years ago when I was very pregnant, I went a little nuts at Trader Joe’s and stocked up on six dry active yeast packets. I had this (extremely naive) thought that during my maternity leave, I would knead and bake bread while Kaia Pookie napped. Well, that never happened during maternity leave. In fact, I have not baked any bread since literally this time two years ago! The last thing I remember making was hot dog bao and freezing them to eat while recovering from giving birth. Boy, was our freezer stocked with homemade goodies!

Well, the expiration date on the packets said November 2022. It made me a little sad, but hey, many times expiration dates are not accurate. So I tested one packet of yeast with some warm water and sugar. Ten minutes later, it bubbled and grew large, so I knew it was still good to use! So I decided to make something quick with little fuss: focaccia. I chose a focaccia recipe on the New York Times cooking app that would also include some whole wheat (we have to be healthy sometimes, right?), and hoped for the best. I’m planning to make it as part of our breakfast on Sunday morning, so it will have two days in the fridge to develop flavor, so we shall see how it turns out.

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