The Science Behind Why Everyone Is Baking So Much During Quarantine

Remember back in March when everyone was stocking up on toilet paper and bottled water? Well it seems that more of us should have planned ahead with our BAKING supplies! I’ve heard of more than one person running short on flour or yeast, and while I have a decent supply of both- I almost ran out of baking powder and was FINALLY able to find some in stock when I was on my last tablespoon!

One has to wonder- why the sudden shortage of baking supplies? Is it because everyone is home more, and thus having to cook more? Are people panicking and stocking up their pantries on ALL the essentials? Are we baking bread to curb our sadness carb cravings???

Honestly, it’s probably all those things. But I came across an article the other day that I thought was fascinating!!

According to Julie Ohana, a culinary art therapist (who knew this was even a thing??), baking really does provide comfort! There is something about the process of baking and creating that helps to fill a void. And then of course, you have the delicious result, whether it be cookies or cake or bread- and you get to enjoy the comfort of eating that delicious food. We often associate tasty food with celebrations- and we all need a little more happiness in our lives right now, right?

But it’s also more than that- when we are baking, we know what to expect (well, most of the time ;) ). There’s so much chaos right now, and so much uncertainty! When will the kids go back to school? When will I be able to go back to work? When can I visit the grandkids again? With all this uncertainty, baking provides something stable, with a solid and predictable outcome- and that can definitely be therapeutic!

Baking in particular is a helpful activity in times like this, because it allows us to use our minds fully and productively on something positive! It doesn’t take 3 minutes on social media or the news to feel overwhelmed with all the negativity- and sometimes we feel like we just need to escape! But binge watching our favorite shows or reading a simple novel doesn’t always cut it- sometimes we need something that requires some thinking and brain power. Baking allows us to have our brains fully engaged in a productive activity that allows us to escape from the negativity. And it’s definitely more rewarding than spending all day with Netflix!

And baking often results in something delicious like fresh bread or cookies- things that are seen as an indulgence, not really a necessity. Cooking dinner doesn’t provide the same satisfaction. When we are able to spend the time and resources to bake something “for fun”- it helps us count our blessings and think about lucky and blessed we truly are!

Basically, studies have shown that baking literally reduces stress- for all the reasons mentioned above!

In addition to all this- baking is such a great boredom buster! It’s allowing us to fully use our creativity, and we get to enjoy the “fruits” of our labors! And for those of us with kids at home- self-quarantining has provided lots of extra time to spend in the kitchen- teaching essential baking skills or just making delicious desserts to keep things fun and carefree.

To sum up- baking is good for the soul. It just is! So don’t feel guilty if your counter is covered in 4 batches of cookies and a fresh loaf of sourdough- you’re finding a healthy way to cope with the craziness that is life right now! Mental health is just as important as physical health.

Now excuse me while I go knead some bread…


    Camille Hoffmann
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
    Email the author!

Subscribe to Cook'n Premium and get newsletter articles like this each week!

blog comments powered by Disqus