WHY are so many people making bread during the coronavirus lockdown?

These days, when you look at many of your friends’ posts on social media, there is a chance a lot of them are pictures of bread they have baked at home. During these strange times, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find flour at the shops.

One reason is the disruption to supply chains, caused by panic buying. Another reason could be that confined citizens are turning their kitchens into mini bakeries.

In fact, searches for bread recipes and baking tips are on the rise, and that is turning baking supplies into precious commodities. Our flour producers have doubled production, and struggling to meet demands.

We all know making bread is comforting and has anti-stress effects, which demands patience, knowledge and a fair amount of skill. But when you do manage to produce a decent loaf with just flour, water and salt, like our ancestors, it becomes a thing of pride and certainly something to aim for.

Lately, I have been flooded with messages and requests for bread-making advice from people who have taken to the ovens.

Baking bread potentially offers stress relief if you start simply and continue to bake to the point of success - it offers a glimpse into the workings of ‘’cognitive behaviour therapy’’ that strengthens problem-solving skills in a somewhat manageable way.

This practice has certainly highlighted how people with no skills whatsoever in baking, yet were ready to buy all the flour and yeast they could, were willing to give it a go.

My own interaction has been with people who want to bake and follow me with interest, because I share their curiosity about baking.

I’m getting messages, photos and questions every day, and many are panic requests because they’ve realised they are out of their depth when tasked with baking a simple loaf. 

Modern life has encouraged us to believe that the simple things in life - like making bread - must be easy, but I’m hoping when this is all over people will look at this skill with more respect.

If we don’t come out of this crisis with a new-found ability to say “I baked good bread”, then I hope we can be better at our lives.

Bread will always play a magic role and whether you are a believer or not, I think there is an unconscious notion that bread is something more than food – it is a safe place to return to!


A simple Rosemary Focacca bread recipe


500g strong bread flour

10g salt

20g sugar

30ml good olive oil, plus more for drizzling over

300ml lukewarm water

20g fresh yeast or dried

Sprigs of fresh rosemary from the garden or dried

Little rock salt to sprinkle to taste


1. Place the flour, salt, sugar and olive oil into a large mixing bowl.

2. Dissolve the yeast into the water and add to the bowl to make a rough dough.

3. Knead the dough well for eight minutes using a little flour on the work surface.

4. Return the dough back to the lightly-floured bowl and cover it with a tea towel, allowing to prove for an hour.

5. Once risen well, use a spatula to gently loosen the sides before turning the bowl upside down and plopping it onto a well-oiled, large flat baking tray.

6. Dimple the surface with your fingertips and drizzle over more olive oil to fill the dimples, sprinkling over rosemary needles randomly in a rustic fashion, to garnish.

7. Allow the dough to rise a little while the oven is preheating to 220c/Gas Mark 7.

8. Bake your focacca loaf for around 25-30 minutes or till golden brown in colour, then drizzle a little more olive oil. Serve warm.