For many stuck inside due to quarantine, baking bread has become a popular pastime with a variety of recipes to try at home.
According to Google Trends, searches for “sourdough bread” have sharply increased over the past 12 months. The graph shows a large spike from March 1 to March 20, but this data does not come as a surprise to many. With much more time on their hands many people have begun to experiment with new hobbies and activities they hadn’t previously been able to do: one of which is baking bread.
From sourdough to muffins, there are endless possibilities of different breads, doughs and bread related foods one could make. Some of these recipes require lots of care with constant kneading and resting over a long period of time, and some are easier and can be completed in an hour.
Boredom and extra time isn’t the only reason there has been an influx in breadmaking during the COVID-19 pandemic. A global pandemic combined with economic problems and the loss of many jobs causes a lot of stress and anxiety. According to a study conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA), the average stress levels on a scale from 1-10 for American adults is a 5.4 compared to the previous year with an average stress level of 4.9 This is the most significant spike in stress levels the APA has seen since they began conducting this survey. People are looking for a way to comfort themselves and calm their anxiety. Baking, and eating homemade baked goods can be comforting.
Philip Muskin, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University spoke with The Atlantic to explain how baking can help to relieve stress. “Baking is mindful. Mindfulness means paying attention to yourself in the moment and not being in the past or the future, but really being there,” Muskin explains. The process of combining a few simple ingredients, kneading the bread and finally baking it can be soothing. The achievement of a finished loaf can make one feel accomplished as well.
As many people take up this new hobby, key ingredients such as yeast and flour are flying off the shelves. According to the Guardian, “yeast shortages have been reported in supermarkets across the UK and the US, with yeast suppliers calling the current demand ‘unprecedented’.” Though these ingredients are running low, people are finding creative solutions to such problems. Google has also seen a spike in no yeast bread recipes. Additionally, as flour flies off the shelves, some bakeries have begun to package up their own flour to sell, or create baking kits. These kits have ingredients already correctly portioned out for the buyer to bake their own loaf from their favorite bakery.
Even those with no experience can succeed in making bread; here are some basics to help you get started: The basis of sourdough, one of the most popular types of bread is the starter. Sourdough starter is a mixture of flour and water that ferments. At home, bakers can use this starter for more than just bread, it can be added to pancakes or waffles for a more tangy flavor. If sourdough recipes are too complicated, a two ingredient dough has recently grown more popular across the internet. A mixture of self-raising flour and greek yogurt creates a simple and healthier multi-purpose dough. This can be used for bagels and pizza dough, just to name a few.
It is no surprise there has been a spike in at home bread baking with the start of quarantine. With recipes and methods for all levels and resources, baking bread is a great new hobby to pursue for anybody who has some extra time. Nothing is more comforting than the smell of fresh baked bread in your home.
Here are a few recipes to try out:
Isabel Corvington. staff writer More »