West Stockbridge — There’s nothing like a pandemic to make a quarantined prepper desperate for a loaf of perfect sourdough bread. Preppers, as you may know, take pleasure in hoarding food and other necessities because it produces a comforting (if illusory) sense of control during times of crisis when the planet seems to be spinning off its axis and facing certain doom. Sometimes, though, MREs (meals ready-to-eat) provide insufficient emotional nourishment to the prepper, and that’s when Creature Bread in New Marlborough can fill a critical gustatory gap: Their organic sourdough bread — fragrant, moist, chewy, heavily crusted — meets a need that no other food item can meet (especially not sandwich bread). Moreover, it is widely held that sourdough bread is more nutritious than other breads because it contains probiotics that contribute to improved gut health. And, of course, there’s the flavor, made magically perfect by the lactic and acetic acids produced in the sourdough culture.
A well-stocked pantry provides the prepper not only with the peace of mind that comes from having a long-term food supply, but with a special sense of purpose in life. During a pandemic, fondling one’s pantry (or as some refer to it, “managing” one’s pantry) is a matter of monitoring inventory, rotating stock, designating items to be consumed only on special occasions, establishing other rationing policies, and protecting unfortified containers (not metal or glass) from the predation of rodents, pantry moths and various other pests, including raccoons, bears and deranged Texans.
Some preppers, early in the COVID-19 lockdown, started hoarding baker’s yeast and flour, fancying themselves breadmakers and celebrating culinary capabilities that will take years to master if they ever get serious about it. (If they knew anything about breadmaking, they wouldn’t be hoarding baker’s yeast, because natural yeast can be made from scratch with nothing more than flour, sugar, water and thin air.)
In the best of times, a perfect loaf of organic sourdough bread isn’t exactly commonplace. In the worst of times — well, what are the worst of times, if not the dark days when neither king nor peasant can get his hands on a freshly baked sourdough boule at any price?
But it hasn’t quite come to that, and the Berkshires are lucky to have Creature Bread in New Marlborough, making organic sourdough bread and distributing it through Rubiner’s Cheesemongers, North Plain Farm, Farm Country Soup, Mill River Farm, and at the West Stockbridge Farmers Market.
A prepper’s feelings of well-being can be enhanced significantly by consuming as little as half a loaf of this stuff. A little goes a long way.