Nancy Silverton Weighs In On The Sourdough Pandemic Craze - Exclusive

When the pandemic hit, it felt like everyone discovered the joy of baking bread at home. Despite yeast and flour shortages, home bakers immediately took to the idea of crafting artisanal loaves in the comfort of their own kitchen. Thanks to the feeling of satisfaction you get from watching yeast rise and tasting the final product, baking bread captured the imagination of anyone looking to create something out of nothing and enjoy a common experience that goes back centuries. The particular challenge of working with a sourdough starter takes extra care and struck a chord with bakers who wanted the extra hurdle. For many, they were nurturing the bread starter in the same way they take care of a pet or Tamagotchi (via The Economist).

While the pandemic inspired many home cooks to take on the challenge of whipping up a loaf of fresh sourdough, the trend made sense to master baker and chef Nancy Silverton. This Michelin-ranked chef and authority on breads, pastas, and pizzas made her name creating the perfect loaves of bread. She even appeared on a recent episode of "MasterChef: Legends" where she challenged the contestants to make the perfect pasta dish (via Pizzeria Mozza). During an exclusive interview with Mashed, Silverton gave her take on the sourdough trend.

How a baking master approached pandemic sourdough

While many might not have expected the sourdough trend to take off, Silverton saw it coming. "I'll tell you, I thought that I understood why it became a trend, because ... I think that it was something that everybody sort of put on their bucket list," Silverton explained. "Like 'One day, I'm going to learn and I'm going to take the challenge of making a loaf of sourdough bread.' And, their life was full of excuses. They just didn't have the time. And when they finally got the time, I think there were enough people out there that thought, 'Look, I'm going to make the best of this bad situation. And, I'm finally going to learn how to make it.' And I think I would have done the same. I think I would have taken that challenge."

While many tackled this bread-baking challenge, Silverton didn't latch onto the trend. "Now, I didn't bake any bread during the pandemic," Silverton continued. "I did cook a lot more than I usually do at home. So, that was my challenge to myself, but I really understood [why people made sourdough]. And, I got so many pictures from people that were so proud of what they made, it was really good."

If you found a new love for making sourdough bread or homemade pasta over the past year, don't miss Nancy Silverton's appearance on "MasterChef: Legends" and catch new episodes of the show every Wednesday at 8 p.m. on FOX.