Barton Springs Mill owner James Brown took a millers’ vacation last week, and every employee at King Arthur Flour spent the Memorial Day weekend off work.
For the people who supply flour to the nation’s sudden influx of bakers to take a break means that Americans have enough flour in their pantries to experiment with babkas and challahs, apple pies and whole-wheat pita bread, sourdough loaves and crackers.
Those companies will be back online this week, fulfilling orders to make those dreams of homemade pasta and croissants come true. Eric Webb, Austin360 editor and head pasta-maker, has been baking all kinds of treats during this shelter in place: coconut cake, peanut butter brownies, candy bar cookies and, most recently, sourdough crackers.
Although I have made croissants, I’d never made crackers before. I asked Eric for some extra sourdough starter so I could make a batch. (We livestreamed it on the @Austin360 Instagram account, where you can watch a replay.)View this post on Instagram
Austin360’s Eric Webb and @broylesa use #sourdough starter discard to made crackers from scratch. Cuz why not? #austin360cooks #quarantinecooking #igcooking
Eric walked me through how he seasoned the dough (za’atar he’d originally bought to make hummus, with coarse sea salt and fresh-cracked black pepper on top) and how he rolled it out (on parchment paper, with a tapered rolling pin) and how long he baked it (18 minutes at 350 degrees).
I used oil instead of butter to make the crackers vegan and seasoned them with a mix of dried oregano and red pepper flakes. I rolled out the dough and divided it up with a pizza cutter and sprinkled with Lenoir’s finishing salt, one of my favorite seasoning mixes in the kitchen. I let this small batch bake for about 21 minutes to get an extra crunch.
When Eric posted his own crackers on Instagram, our former publisher-turned-yoga teacher Susie Gray commented that she’d made this same recipe from King Arthur’s website but used cinnamon and sugar to make a sweet version. Another good food idea worth borrowing.
Speaking of baking, Faraday’s Kitchen Store owner Tony Curtis-Wellings says baking items have been in demand throughout the pandemic. His Bee Cave store remained open as an essential business, and sales of baking supplies, including proofing baskets, rolling pins and bread machines, were up more than 200%.
Although business was down 80% during the shutdown, Curtis-Wellings says things are starting to pick back up now that the store has reopened for physical shopping. Only 15 customers are allowed in the store at any time.
Faraday’s always has a robust schedule of cooking classes and summer camps, and though Faraday's isn't hosting any adult classes online yet, its summer camps will be happening online next month. You can sign up for the kids summer camps at faradayskitchenstore.com.
If you were hoping to take a virtual class from Faraday’s soon, one of its primary instructors, Katy Parker Gill, is hosting virtual cooking classes, which you can book through her website, chefskitchenconsulting.com.
I finally got a chance to try some of the baking mixes from Skull & Cakebones, and I’m here to report that blueberry scones are now my Mother’s Day breakfast of choice. I used the vegan “butter” that came with the dry scones mix to make my own Mother’s Day treat, which tasted just like the cake I wanted to eat for breakfast that day. We also enjoyed the pancake mix, which is made with Barton Springs Mill’s blue corn that turns the pancakes the most beautiful shade of lavender.