During the nationwide COVID quarantine, folks picked up hobbies to pass the time.
In the case of Bend resident and owner of CRUMB Sourdough Micro-bakery Jenny Berg, that new hobby, became a bright new future.
“There’s a lot of people out there like me that go their whole life and they wonder, ‘what’s the matter, why don’t I have this passion of innate gift. And for me, sourdough has been that,” Berg said.
After seeing her friend bake a sourdough loaf, jenny was inspired to take the hobby on herself.
She bought a sourdough starter from San Francisco to capture the taste of the California bread she grew up on.
“It came in the mail, and I revived it, brought it back to life, and I baked my first loaf in May of last year. It was really ugly,” Berg said.
But Jenny was determined to bake the perfect ‘boule’, or loaf, of sourdough.
“I like to say it’s like a unicorn, finding a unicorn when all the elements of sourdough come together,” she said.
After testing several techniques and recipes, Jenny made her hobby into a business. Crumb Sourdough Micro-bakery operates out of Jenny’s home kitchen, with customers picking up their sourdough boules, off of her porch.
Through an Oregon law called the Home Bakery Exemption, Jenny sells 16 loaves of homemade bread per weekend as a side job.
CRUMB’s sales are all carried out through its Instagram page, where Jenny shares pictures of her newest sourdough creations.
“When I first got my first boule from her, I posted some stuff, you know, just pictures and just raved about it and she asked me not to anymore because she’s growing so quickly,” said CRUMB customer Shelley Akers.
For Jenny, the artform of sourdough inspired her to spend her weekends baking, each with intricate carvings of wheat, swirls, and even shaping some ‘boules’ as pumpkins.
The process not only brought Jenny comfort during a dark time for us all but gave her a new outlook on life as well.
“It came really late in my life, but it’s just given me a lot of joy, personal enjoyment, um, and really for the first time fulfillment in what I do for work,” she said.
For the future of CRUMB, Jenny sees things kneading in the right direction as she continues to bake, create, and find her spark in the smell of sourdough wafting through her bread-filled kitchen.