A virtual Haida Gwaii Recreation program in the works for fall and winter promises to teach residents all they “knead” to know to start baking sourdough.
Taught by Sandspit-based baker Melissa Paugh, the program will provide participants with the basics of making the slow-fermented bread that has seen a rise in popularity amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Paugh told the Observer she is an exhibit designer who has been baking sourdough for about five years. She found baking was a nice way to take time for herself after her daughter was born, and sourdough worked well because it does not take a lot of active time, just “small bits of attention and patience.”
“I find the bread super tasty and really healthy, and it’s nice to do some baking,” she said. “You feel like you’re giving yourself and your family something wholesome.”
When the pandemic first started, some of Paugh’s family members reached out to request video tutorials featuring some of her sourdough expertise.
“I found I really liked it,” she said of making the videos, adding that they began to circulate online. “It does seem like people are quite keen.”
The details of the Haida Gwaii Rec program that was inspired as a result are still being decided, but overall, it will be an introductory course to making a successful loaf of sourdough bread, including the provision of a sourdough starter, recipes and reference materials.
Paugh will be sharing her own starter with participants, a “wild” yeast that she in turn received from a man who lives in Kispiox.
She will bring her laptop into the kitchen as she leads participants in making the bread and shaping the dough over Zoom, and she will also provide an overview of the steps required to continue to ferment and proof the loaves.
Since participants will have to wait for their loaves to reach the right level of maturation, they will do their own baking after the class is complete.
“At that point we’ll have done a lot of the tricky work together,” she said.
If there is interest, she also has ideas for a more advanced course so that participants could learn more recipes, such as sourdough pancakes, crackers and muffins.
“If people are interested in it I would love to do other classes,” she said.
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