Here’s Why People Are So Obsessed with Sourdough Bread

It's a baking project that requires lots of time and care, and that's what we need right now.

If you’ve spent any time on social media recently, you’ve likely noticed a trend emerging: homemade sourdough bread. And more specifically, photos of robust sourdough starters, some of which are treated like first-born children. Maybe you’re seeing people name their starters, or maybe you’re seeing people post daily progress updates. Either way, people are obsessed with sourdough right now, and we’re right there with you, asking—why?

Here are a few reasons people are hopping onto the sourdough bread train right now.

It’s Really Fun

Have you ever made bread before? There’s something incredibly rewarding about breaking into a homemade loaf of bread that you’ve mixed, kneaded and baked yourself. You have the option to customize your loaf however you want, like by adding Gruyere cheese or by creating your own design with a knife. Baking is a craft project that ends with you eating lots of bread—what’s not to love?

Making your own sourdough is a step up from conventional homemade bread. It requires the same steps—kneading, resting, baking—but adds one extra step at the beginning of the process that can take days to perfect: a sourdough starter.

Forming a sourdough bread starter at home is like running a kitchen science experiment. You need to combine your ingredients, feed your starter every day and keep an eye on it for growth. You’re basically going back to middle school chemistry class and conducting your own adult lab test.

It’s Time-Consuming

Right now, we have a lot of free time. We’re looking for fun, entertaining ways to pass it—so what’s better than a kitchen experiment that requires a great deal of care, attention and time? A proper sourdough starter doesn’t require much—usually just flour, yeast and water—but it needs to sit for days before you can actually start working with it. This time is critical to the success of your loaf. While it sits on the counter, it’s growing and allowing the yeast to properly ferment. If you’ve done it right, you’ll end up with a flavorful loaf that has an enviable, crunchy crust begging to be broken into.

It’s the perfect time to commit to a bread recipe that could take a week to make. You need to check in with the starter every day, keep a close eye on its progress and be ready to make a loaf as soon as it’s ready. Since people are spending far more time at home than usual right now, they’re filling that time with time-consuming projects like sourdough bread.

It’s Very Photogenic

OK, we have to admit—even though we’re seeing lots of sourdough bread on Instagram right now, we definitely don’t hate it. Sourdough bread is gorgeous! Since the yeast has so much time to properly ferment, it leads to a rich-tasting dough that’s filled with air bubbles. When those bubbles are baked, they create that beautiful hole-pocked bread that’s just begging to be captured on camera.

There’s no shame in showing off your recent baking accomplishments, and when you make one that’s as gorgeous as sourdough bread, we but love seeing your pictures. And if you need something to serve on top of your bread, we definitely recommend making your own butter at home, too. Don’t worry—you have time!

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Kate Ellsworth
Kate is an avid baker, knitter and writer. Her passions include Star Wars, stress baking and—of course—chocolate. When she's not chasing her partner around the house asking him to try her latest recipe, Kate is probably knitting (another) sweater.