Quarantine baking: People turn to kitchen for stress relief during coronavirus pandemic

Companies try to keep up with baking ingredient demands

Pexel image.
Pexel image.

#QuarantineBaking is trending on social media. First-time bakers and old pros alike are turning to the kitchen for stress relief, which has also meant a run on ingredients during the coronavirus pandemic.

Jeremy Konyndyk, a pandemic expert in Washington, D.C., blows off steam while baking sourdough.

“You know, it brings a whole different kind of feel and smell to your home when you’ve got a loaf of bread in the oven,” Konyndyk says.

And loaves are rising all over the country. Yeast sales were up 400% in the last month, according to the market research firm Nielsen. Google searches for banana bread recipes have spiked four-fold.

Whether it’s cookies, cakes or banana bread, all this baking requires plenty of ingredients. Bags of flour are flying off the shelves with companies trying to keep up with demand.

Vermont-based King Arthur Flour says this time of year is usually when production starts winding down as people start spending more time outdoors. Instead, their mill is cranking.

Co-CEO/CBO Karen Colberg says, “We experienced in over the month of March, probably double to triple our normal March, and we’re definitely exceeding levels of baking that we would normally experience in the fourth quarter, which is the holiday baking season.”

Bakers say it’s not just about enjoying comfort food, it’s also about having a sense of control during unpredictable times.

“You make the choice of how much flour, how much water, how long do you let it rise, how many times do you stretch and fold, how long do you bake it. All of those things are under your control," Konyndyk says.

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