A little flour, salt and water are helping Lynn Valley grow. From a pandemic project to community building, Eva Lee has been learning the ins and outs of baking sourdough and sharing her successes and lessons to help others rise.


Like many people during the pandemic shutdowns, Lee shifted to work from home and was making her circle small. With extra time on her hands, along with a couple of friends, Lee restarted working on a goal to master sourdough bread.

“I thought it was going to be easy peasy,” laughed Lee. “It’s really hard!”

Eva Lee, left, at a cooking class.

Armed with a starter from an artisan market, a previous lesson and lots of information online she thought that in no time there would be bread on her table.

“There is a lot of information online but it’s so confusing,” she said. “In hindsight, I think I made it more difficult than it is by trying to add whole grains – like rye and buckwheat.”

It was a learning curve that had her going through jars of starter and bags of flour. With day-to-day contacts mandated to be low, Lee turned to the Lynn Valley Buy Nothing Facebook group (an online community that offers and asks for goods and services instead of traditional commerce) to share her newfound abundance of bread.

“I was making bread every day, and so I started giving it away almost every day,” she said. “This was a community I loved and I wanted to share. Bread is a good way to give back.”

Community rising

Lee continued on her path to mastery and was feeling confident after four or five months. 

“Once you understand it, sourdough is not ridged. It can be very forgiving using the fridge to slow fermentation and I learned that it can be dictated to my schedule.”

With loaf after loaf being dropped off on doorsteps to the Buy Nothing members throughout Lynn Valley, Lee’s reputation as a baker was rising along with the dough. People began seeking her guidance. As health mandates lessened, Lee began to plan a class.

For Tanya Verret it was a chance – and a challenge – she was intrigued by.  

“When I first moved to Lynn Valley Eva was always offering bread,” said Verret. “She was so generous, she would come by and pick something up and she would leave a beautiful loaf of bread.”

The challenge of baking bread felt intimidating to Verret as she continued to heal from a traumatic brain injury (TBI). 

“Learning a new skill is challenging,” she said. “I have never baked bread in my entire life. Sure, maybe a banana loaf here or there, but never, ever bread. I’ve eaten a lot ”

Lee’s class did much more than teach her the basics of sourdough baking. 

“I don’t think Eva understands what she has given to the community,” said Varret. “She is a magical woman who has the ability to bring people together. She has given me this skill but it is so much more than that. She has given me confidence and the ability to be calm and in the moment.”

Simple flour, salt, water and Lee’s support have been ingredients that have helped Verret rise along with her dough.

“With a TBI things can be hard, Eva has given me a gift – and it’s having a real impact,” she said. “I make bread every week. I usually give away a loaf every time I bake. I feel lighter. I haven’t felt proud of something I have done in a long time. I learned something new, and it’s something that helps take care of my family. It’s amazing.”

Breaking bread

After a couple of classes, Lee appreciates some of the unintended benefits of sharing her love of baking. 

“It’s hard to meet people and during the pandemic, it was even harder,” she said. “Most of the people who came to the first class ‘knew’ each other online. It was a chance to finally meet in person through a common interest.”

Lee supported bakers after the class offering more opportunities for connection through a Facebook group to ask questions and share the bread challenges and support. This led her initial students to help out her second class. 

“I loved helping out. It was wonderful to see how Eva had honed her teaching skills and advanced. The first was great but she is so thoughtful and intentional that she is working to make it even better” said Verret. “She is so gentle and encouraging and makes her students believe they can do this. Eva really is magic.”

While the classes are still infrequent and informal, and her bread deliveries are a little less common as she refines her skills, Lee is leaving crumbs throughout Lynn Valley. 

“We are lucky to have the community we do,” said Verret. “Eva has given us a lot more than she knows – and I do tell her but I don’t think she quite gets how great she is – and how delicious her bread is.”

Looking for more?

There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

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