Seattle Home Bakers are Donating Bread Loaves for Families in Need

Baking nourishing homemade bread for local food banks.

Homemade healthy bread loaves.

(Arkadiusz Fajer / Shutterstock.com)

Kneading dough and baking bread is an art, centuries old, that is now flourishing. Home bakers in Seattle, Washington are sharing the work of their hands – and ovens – with people in need of sustenance by donating loaves of bread to area food banks.

That’s because Community  Loaves, an organization that began as a Facebook group of home bakers, is on a mission to provide nourishing home-made bread for people in need during the coronavirus pandemic and they have already donated over 1,300 loaves according to TODAY.

Led by Katherine Kehrli, the associate dean of the Seattle Culinary Academy who has a passion for baking, she uses her own kitchen as a staging area. She told TODAY that the project developed from an initial small donation early in the pandemic to a larger effort to give back to the community. And what better way than by providing bread to Hopelink, a community nonprofit as well as other area food banks.

“Bread's been around for a long time,” Kehrli said. “It's four simple ingredients: flour, water, salt,[and] yeast. But it's been around for thousands of years, and each time someone discovers it for the first time, it's like magic.”

This group of 140 volunteer bakers are not just making ordinary white bread. The Community Loaves Honey Oat Pan Loaf is made from 50 percent whole grains and high-extraction flour sourced from  nearby farms according to The Seattle Times.

Each batch made from the group's special recipe makes four loaves, three to donate and one for the baker to keep for their own family. After all, the bakers are paying for the ingredients – at a reduced cost – and giving their time.

Kehrli calls the bread family friendly because it is healthy and can be used for toast, sandwiches, and for dipping in hearty soups.

 
 
 
 
 
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The loaves are added to the boxes of food that Hopelink gives to their clients. “It provides our clients with the only source of bread at the food bank since the beginning of COVID,” Nicole Novak, a spokeswoman for Hopelink told The Seattle Times. “When bread was difficult to find in stores, it was nice to have this staple available to our clients.”

How did this project begin? It’s really a no brainer for Kehrli. “What can we do with the network of committed, quarantined bakers with time on their hands? They can’t eat all the bread they’re baking, so they’re giving it away to friends and family. Why not expand that to the community?”

In November, Community Loaves adapted their recipe to make rolls for Thanksgiving, according to TODAY, and in December the group baked 4,000 pecan holiday treats made from Kehrli’s grandmother Ruth’s recipe.

Summing it up, Kehrli told TODAY, “[This project] has restored my faith in the collective good that we can actually do. And it restores my faith that we can be more self-determined even in the face of the pandemic.”

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