We see it across social media, our friends, family, co-workers who don’t usually bake are posting their homemade bread all over their Instagram feed and stories. You aren’t imagining this. In March 2020 in America alone, according to Nielsen, sales in dry yeast (an essential ingredient in bread) grew up to 647% percent. You might be wondering why everyone seems to be making bread during this pandemic, is it another passing trend? Or is it a collective coping mechanism? With some research and a survey, we found out that the answers vary, though one thing is for sure, togetherness in this pandemic is found in this bread-making trend.
During this pandemic, a lot of people are developing new hobbies and finding ways to keep them occupied at home. Baking bread is seen as a hobby that can be rewarding, comforting, and peaceful to many. Not only that, you’d only need a handful of accessible ingredients to make simple sourdough, so it may not come to a surprise that bread is a baked good beginner bakers might gravitate towards. There is also scientifically proven data that eating carbs such as bread may induce serotonin, a hormone in charge of good mood, and in the time of this crisis where mental health is just as important as physical, this gives another reason as to why baking homemade bread might be popular.
Through a survey, most respondents answered that they baked bread because it seemed easy and relaxing. Some respondents mentioned how it was a coping mechanism and how it distracted them from the current situation. On a Youtube video from Al Jazeera Media Network explaining why people bake in a crisis, Dr. Afiya Mblishika, a clinical psychologist explains that it gives positive reinforcement. This correlates to the people who answered that they baked bread because it seemed easy and forgiving to make, making it less stressful and more relaxing. Proving that during a crisis like this, people tend to go easier on oneself and pick a hobby that was less adrenaline-based and heavy, such as baking bread, crochet, painting, and more.