Baking is coming back!

Baking is coming back!

Posted by The Wares Team on 23rd May 2020

In the brave new world of Covid-19 lockdown, life is changing all around us and many of those changes may be with us for a very long time, or even forever. Social interactions are restricted at the moment, we need to take extra care to protect our health and the health of those we love and care for, and inevitably, there is a huge financial cost to be borne because of the pandemic.

With all of that to think about, it can be hard to talk about positives coming out of the crisis, but it's important to focus on the good as well as the tough things that are happening around us. One of the items that has been in the press lately is the fact that Brits are discovering a renewed interest in cooking from scratch, and in particular, in home baking.

In today’s blog post, we take a look at the possible reasons behind this surge in interest in all things baking and suggest some simple ways to start your own baking adventure during lockdown.

Why is baking suddenly becoming more popular?

The answer to this probably has several strands. Firstly, many people have suddenly found themselves with a lot of time on their hands, so they now have the opportunity to spend a morning baking cakes or experimenting with making their own bread. The good thing about it is that you don’t really need a vast array of baking equipment to get started - just a mixing bowl and some baking tins really. Once you’ve baked a few cakes or made a loaf or two, you can then think about whether you need any additional baking utensils, such as cookie cutters, pie vents or whisks.

Another reason why baking is becoming ever more popular is the basic human instinct to provide for one’s family in times of crisis. Panic buying in supermarkets was the first instinct when lockdown was announced, but now we have moved on to a gentler need to cook, bake, craft and garden, to nurture our family and make the best of what we have.

Baking in a pandemic world

Whilst widespread food shortages have abated as the lockdown progressed into its third month, many people are still experiencing difficulty obtaining flour, yeast and caster sugar. Perseverance is key with sourcing flour, as well as a little creative thinking. Some local independent bakeries have been rebagging commercial sacks of flour into 1kg bags for over-the-counter sale - so it might be worth checking with your local bakers to see if they are offering this service.

Also, whilst yeast is still hard to come by in the supermarkets, it is readily available online, although generally in 250gm or 500gm packs, rather than in convenient sachets. As for caster sugar, if you can’t get hold of any, try blitzing granulated sugar in your blender for 20 seconds - hey presto, you have caster sugar!

So, having dealt with potential shortages of key ingredients, it’s time to check if you have all the right baking utensils and baking equipment before you start making things. If you want to create flans and quiches, for example, it’s worth investing in a loose-bottomed metal flan dish and if you want to do some baking with the kids, have a look at our range of shaped cookie cutters to make it fun.

Quick and easy baking ideas

If you’ve never baked before, it can seem a little daunting, especially if you see lots of amazing creations on Instagram or on your friends’ Facebook posts. The key to success, however, is to start with something simple and work up once you’ve got some confidence in your baking skills. It’s hard to go wrong with muffins, for example, and you can use a basic muffin mixture and add your own flavourings.

Blueberry muffins are the quintessential muffin, of course, but you can get really creative - our current favourites are marmalade muffins and lemon drizzle muffins - these are like little individual lemon drizzle cakes and are truly scrumptious. Use a basic muffin recipe for the mix, then add the zest of 1 lemon to the mix and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown on top and cooked through. Whilst they’re cooking, make some lemon drizzle icing using a standard lemon drizzle recipe. Once your muffins are on the rack, spoon over the drizzle and let it soak in, repeating this to build up a good layer of drizzle.

Bread is another good way to get into baking and it doesn’t require any baking equipment at all, really, aside from mixing bowls. Find a simple recipe and practice it a few times before going on to more adventurous breadmaking projects. Don’t skimp on the kneading stage, make your oven as hot as it can be before adding the loaf to the oven, and use a tray of hot water in the bottom of your oven to keep the moisture content high. With these three top tips, you won’t go wrong.