The Real Reason You Can't Find Flour During The Pandemic

Are you having trouble finding flour on your local grocer's shelves? The reason for this is straightforward enough. If you've had the urge during the COVID-19 quarantine to take up baking as a hobby, or to refine your skills, then you're not alone. CNN reports that the flour shortage is not due to a lack of wheat — rather, it's due to a surge in home baking during the pandemic.

"The demand we have been experiencing is double what we experience during our busiest holiday months (November and December)," King Arthur Flour's Carey Underwood wrote in an email to CNN. Underwood attributed the rise of baking (no pun intended) to several factors: people have more time, they want to hone their skills, it's a healthy family activity, and of course — "great bread!"

While the risk of a meat shortage is so real that grocers are setting limits on how much meat customers can buy, the nation's wheat supply is not in similar jeopardy. It just takes time for the raw wheat to be milled, bagged, and transported, Underwood told CNN. This hiccup in the supply chain is just a "temporary blip," as Time reported.

#QuarantineBaking is perfect for Instagram

Baking at home during lockdown is a phenomenon made for social media. The hashtag #quarantinebaking has appeared more than 144,000 times on Instagram, including on this post by user thoughtworthyco: "We've been seeing a lot of cooking and baking from our friends and family (even those who rarely step into the kitchen!) on social media recently. That's nice to see because preparing our own food is a wonderful life skill, and also a therapeutic hobby to pass time with!"

Blogger @nycfoodsnob posted her attempt to recreate one of her favorite bakery's cookies at home: "Missing @levainbakery so much that I attempted to bake some thick, gooey chocolate chip cookies myself!"

If you're having trouble finding flour at your local store, some shopping sleuths have already gone to the trouble of tracking down reliable online sources. Some have reported success on Etsy, which is better known for its handmade, crafty offerings. Reviewed, a consumer-advice website run by USA Today, did some legwork and found various types of flour available from Amazon, Walmart, Bob's Red Mill, and others (via USA Today). So, if you've been inspired to get in on home baking's resurgence, you should be able to find the ingredients you need.