After being cooped up inside for so many weeks, people are turning to baking for a fun and relaxing way to pass the time. If you’re making a sourdough starter, it’s important to keep an eye on how much flour/water mixture you’re feeding it each day.

Fortunately, there are a few simple questions you can ask yourself to determine if your sourdough starter has been overfed.

First, are you in your kitchen? Take a look at your starter, are large bubbles starting to form in the dough? Is it spilling over the sides of its container? Has it grown exponentially in just the time you’ve been looking at it? Is it now approximately the exact size and shape of a full-grown human man?

Look again. Has this bread corpse casually slithered off of your countertop, pre-heated the oven to 375 degrees, opened the oven door with its doughy hand, and baked itself until its crust has achieved the perfect, golden-brown hue?

Then, after cooling itself on a vented metal rack, has this newly birthed bread-person innately sensed that maybe you too could use a moment to vent?

Has your newly-named dough monster/person Brad (pronounced “bread”) opened up a bottle of chilled white wine and invited you to join him on the couch, just to relax and talk? Have you and Brad lost track of time while drinking wine, swapping funny stories, and sharing your most personal, intimate secrets? Do you feel like you’ve found your new best friend and possibly your soulmate in the most unlikely of circumstances? Has this much needed moment of true human/bread connection lasted into the wee hours of the evening?

Have you gone to bed filled with an overwhelming sensation of warmth that radiates from the inside out, not unlike a fresh-baked loaf of sourdough bread?

Have you awoken with a start, alone and hungover? Are the events of the previous night starting to look a bit uglier in the harsh light of day? Are you slowly beginning to realize that Brad’s relentless questions about your high school mascot, your mother’s maiden name, and your social security number were perhaps asked not simply out of a desire to get to know you, but instead to benefit some kind of secret, sinister plot?

Have you checked your bank accounts recently, only to find that all of your funds have been completely drained and several credit cards have been taken out in your name? Have you opened the door to your garage to find that your car has also been stolen and Brad is nowhere to be found?

When you turn on the TV, is every channel playing bread/Brad-themed propaganda? Are people angrily marching on Washington, holding signs that say things like TAKE THE PATH OF YEAST RESISTANCE, BE A BREADWINNER, and IT’S DOUGH OR DIE? Has the news cut to interviews with Brad (bread), where he speaks of “rising up” and creating a new world ruled by bread and other pastry-themed products?

Has an evil, gluten-based militant faction successfully overthrown the government? Has this new dictatorship forcibly seized control of all non-stick bakeware in order to create a fiercely loyal army of bread people, causing a massive shortage of baking pans, thereby creating its very own PANdemic?

Has this new dystopian government enslaved the human race, forcing all of us to abandon our old lives and enter a new world where our only purpose is to grow and harvest wheat? Has the entire bread-human relationship been upended, so that now we are the ones being baked, sliced, and turned into sandwiches?

When I asked if you were in your kitchen earlier, were you lying?

Have you actually been sitting on the floor of your shower this whole time, quietly weeping while you experience pandemic-stress-induced hallucinations about baking sourdough bread?

If you said yes to any of these questions, the answer is no; your sourdough starter has not been overfed. So it’s time to get out of that shower, bake that bread, and post a picture of it on Instagram to let everyone know that during these strange and unprecedented times, you’re not just “doing ok” — you are THRIVING.