Why everyone's suddenly baking bread

This story was excerpted from the April 10 edition of CNN's Meanwhile in America, the daily email about US politics for global readers. Click here to read past editions and subscribe.

(CNN)It's pale, flabby and growing by the hour.

Bread dough is on the rise in homes across the West, as quarantined home bakers exorcise their cabin fever with furious kneading and punching. Manufacturers of commercial yeast -- the tiny living organisms behind good bread, beer and wine -- say demand is soaring to near-unmanageable levels.
    "We are producing yeast as fast as possible, however the new demand is simply unprecedented," says US manufacturer Red Star Yeast on its website. "No one could have predicted that yeast would disappear off the shelves so quickly." French, Italian, Canadian and Swiss distributors of baking supplies say the same thing.
    Stocking up on ingredients for the staff of life isn't crazy -- many countries have already restricted grain exports amid the global economic slowdown, sensitive to the fact that bread shortages have long been cause for revolution. Wheat futures are up, too.
    Baking during a pandemic can reduce stress and provide comfort