Explaining the recent bread craze

A recipe for bakers and an explanation for others


via Serene Tarabishi

Bread baking may seem like a daunting task, but in all honesty it’s a pretty simple formula. As the quarantine stretches on, bakers across the country are taking shelter in the comfort provided by a warm loaf of fresh bread.

   The smell of freshly baked bread wafting through your kitchen. The beautiful golden crust of a still-warm loaf fresh out of the oven. The soft and fluffy interior found under the thick crust as it’s split by the bite of a sharp knife. 


   An essential part of our human civilization, the reason behind revolutions, the ultimate staple of every pantry. Of course, it’s bread. And recently it has become a comfort to thousands of people across the country, baking during our collective quarantine. 

   And I must admit, I am one of those bread bakers.

   Baking bread has been a passion of mine for the past couple of years—it’s truly a wonderful and satisfying thing to do with your time. Today, flour shelves have been emptied as more and more people have been turning to YouTube and the internet to learn how to bake their own loaves at home. 

   Sourdough has recently gained popularity through this trend, with hundreds of internet articles and tutorials on making starters and doughs. Personally, however, I would recommend any beginners start with a basic artisan loaf to avoid falling into the pitfalls of sourdough bread making. Here’s a tried and tested recipe from New York Times Cooking that anyone with enough flour, yeast, and time can perfect. 

   Note: For any more experienced bakers, this link will give you a follow-up article on the previous recipe after it was revisited by NYT cooking and given weight measurements and extra tips and tricks. As the author, Mark Bittman notes, the recipe is best baked in a dutch oven pot, and using the revised gram measurements of the recipe with a food scale will yield the most perfect results. 

   So why the bread craze? Well, that can be attributed to several reasons. Some do it for shortages of packaged bread at local supermarkets, some for the simple joy of a new hobby, some out of sheer boredom, and the resulting Instagrammable product. But even science agrees that baking bread brings out an innate joy within us. 

   “Watching dough rise and shapeshift triggers pleasure centres in the brain, while the smell of freshly baked bread instigates a Pavlovian response through ‘odour-cued memories,’ according to food scientists at University College Dublin’s Institute of Food and Health, sparking familiar, cozy feelings from childhood,” explains writer Louise Johnson in The Globe and Mail. 

   It’s rather simple to explain, but baking bread is just a satisfying and pleasant distraction from the tumultuous world around us that yields absolutely delicious results. So go forth and bake, and have fun eating your results.