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Coronavirus: Quarantine cooking and baking sourdough bread with a Top Chef Canada contestant

Click to play video: 'Baking bread with Chef Brock Bowes' Baking bread with Chef Brock Bowes
It’s called quarantine cooking and it has people trying new recipes and dishes at home while maintaining social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic. One craze making the rounds on social media is baking bread, with people posting pictures of their perfect loaves. Always a fan of carbs, the craze has caught the attention of Global News' very own Travis Lowe, who visited Top Chef Canada contestant Brock Bowes to get the "Lowe Down" on how to become a sourdough starter specialist. – Apr 17, 2020

It’s called quarantine cooking and it has people trying new recipes and dishes at home while maintaining social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

One craze making the rounds on social media is baking bread, with people posting pictures of their perfect loaves.

“Bread is food for the soul definitely,” said Top Chef Canada contestant Brock Bowes, adding “it’s something that is so simple but makes you feel so amazing.”

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It’s perhaps why so many people are busy baking bread during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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After all, you really only really need four ingredients to make bread.

“Flour, yeast, water and a pinch of salt,” Bowes said.

However, because of its popularity, one of those important ingredients is undergoing a pandemic shortage.

“Yeast,” said Bowes.

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But just because grocery and market shelves are thin on yeast doesn’t mean you have to be, so Bowes brought in a baking buddy.

You could call him a dough boy.

“He makes better bread than I do,” Bowes said.

That’s not surprising, since Jake Bruce is the baker at Bowes’ restaurant and catering service.

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“We are going to make a basic sourdough loaf that is 50 per cent whole wheat 50 per cent white,” said Bruce.

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Apparently, the key to making that basic sourdough loaf is sourdough starter, which actually makes its own yeast.

Bruce recommends looking up a good sourdough starter recipe.

When you’ve done that, you’ll find that besides tender loving care and time, the secret of baking bread is proofing.

“Proofing is very important; you have to have the right amount of proofing time at the right temperature,” Bruce said.

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Proofing is the first baking cycle.

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Bruce likes 80 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (26-27 Celsius) for an hour or two, then bakes the bread at 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260 C) for 15 minutes, then 450 F (232 C) for 35 minutes.

Remove from the oven, cover in copious quantities of butter and enjoy.

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