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May Trend Flight: Bread Baking Tips, Local Shopping, and the Instant Pot

Bread Making Tips From Room 214

You don’t need me to tell you that there’s been a resurgence in old school home-ec practices. What your grandma did before Netflix (embroidery, baking, cleaning drawers, etc.) we’re now seeing all over Instagram. Searches for bread baking, focaccia, and challah recipes are all up on Pinterest. Here at Room 214, our old lady activity of choice is bread baking. There are at least two loaves a day dropped into our #Bread Slack channel and as an amateur bread baker myself, I am a passive member of the channel. On a scale of no-knead bread to sourdough, I am focaccia so I looked to our Room 214 bread baking buffs for their beginner tips. So, if you’ve been able to find yeast but not a recipe that didn’t require an expert level skill, here’s where to start: 

  • My tip is to be patient with yourself. It's a learning curve. And get a heating pad for your dough. - John Franklin, Director of Client Services
  • It’s okay if, in the end, you decide bread making isn’t for you. - Kate Broussard, Creative Producer
  • Think of your temperature as an ingredient as it related to proofing (temp of the water you add, temp of your room), and cooking (temp of oven, etc.) - Caitlin Sherwood, Account Director
  • My tip is to start with easy yeasted breads that don’t make you want to pull your hair out. Starting with sourdough is like trying to ski a double black diamond as a beginner. - Vanessa Kahn, Account Supervisor 
  • If at first you fail, try try again. -  Cassie Clussman, Senior Designer
  • Get your tools together: thermometer, scale, dutch oven, etc. - Makenna Bortells, Account Coordinator and Junior Designer

Here’s proof that you don’t knead sourdough starter to enjoy bread baking. 

Shopping Local Amidst COVID-19

When COVID-19 arrived in the United States, small business owners across the country voiced a need for support from their communities to weather the pandemic and remain open. Now over two months into social distancing, mask-wearing, and Door Dashing, American consumers are doing their best to keep their local favorites afloat—and this shift in consumer trends may be one that hangs around once the world has returned to something resembling normalcy.

In a recent survey conducted by AMC Global, 38% of respondents said they will support local businesses more in the future because of the virus. That’s huge news for the restaurants and small businesses who can survive the coming months, and shows a marked shift in the way consumers are thinking. In the past, local business may have been viewed as just another shop or restaurant—but they’ve now been humanized, highlighted, and given a voice now more than ever. They’ve been repositioned as community hubs, hometown heroes, and essential businesses, and many have risen to that challenge. 

Here in Boulder, Colorado, Room 214ers has been doing our best to support local businesses and restaurants. In times of economic stress, where we put our dollars becomes a greater indicator of what we believe in. Our team has found it easy to give to businesses like Arcana who is offering their meals on a ‘Pay What You Can’ scale, River & Woods who is providing essential goods like toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and—of course—cookie dough, and J&L Distilling who switched from bottling booze to bottling hand sanitizer for essential workers. 

Local businesses who can find ways to serve their communities and customers may just see that service returned and then some, as consumers return to spending and socializing after the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you want to support local restaurants during this time, head to www.saverestaurants.com/ to donate or learn how to get involved.


How the Instant Pot Changed My Life

Let me first just say that my kitchen doubles as a hallway to my bedroom, meaning there is little-to-no room; and yet that didn’t stop me from having a rice cooker, slow cooker and everything in between! As COVID-19 continues to keep us in our homes, my use of that small kitchen/hallway has increased exponentially. It wasn’t until I purchased my very own Instant Pot that I began to see the light...literally. I no longer had the need for my plethora of appliances when I had one that could do the job of seven. As remote working continues, more people are looking for ways to make quick and easy meals while maintaining that “I’ve been cooking this all day” taste. No one said that more time at home meant more time should be spent working over the stove. From what I’ve found, the quicker the cooking time the happier I’ll be, and I know I’m not alone. For many people, there is a lack of motivation and energy to plan elaborate meals, so we are all turning to simpler ways of cooking, many of which involve the Instant Pot. 

As an Instant Pot owner, the second you walk out of the store you are initiated into the cult following. Usually, when products or services go viral it is a result of strategic marketing, brand presence, PR, and a plethora of others. So what was it that made the Instant Pot so popular? It was merely the innovative product itself. An Instant Pot Spokesperson told the New York Times in 2017 they were expanding as fast as they could produce the product. 

Although I may be a tad late to the game, my kitchen/hallway has never seen so much cooking action. Now off to make my favorite Enchilada Soup for the fifth time this month. 

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For media inquiries please email fwt@room214.com

Vanessa Kahn



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