WHAT is your lockdown habit that you should make permanent?

The internet - and your own social circles - have probably been awash with friends and family reviving or discovering hobbies to do at home.

The big question is: which ones are worth keeping on after ‘all this’?

Some people may tell you coronavirus has been a great leveller, but lockdown has been an uneven playing field, with some pitches lusher and greener than others.

We are not all in the same boat. We are all in the same storm.

What I’m trying to say is, can we honestly say we want to go back to the ‘great before’ and pick up where we left off, even if we are totally unscathed?

Sure, we miss going out to the pub, a restaurant meal and football, but this pandemic has taught us we can’t take anything for granted.

However you get through it, perhaps some lockdown lessons will stay with you.

Baking has been a great way to keep busy, whether you’ve spent quarantine hunched over a sourdough starter pot and are now proud parents to a living culture at the back of your fridge.

Sadly I have neglected this ancient bread-making art and have only dabbled in it from time to time.

More men have taken to baking, and I have noticed a shift in what people are baking as it becomes less about finesse and presentation, and more focused on the end product and what you can do with limited ingredients.

I also think men are finding that creating something with their hands and following a process is a surprisingly calming and useful distraction.

Sourdough, in particular, is like jumping in at the deep end and adapting to a new skill with no experience: it’s the holy grail of bread-making.

With little yeast available it has been well worth adapting to this new skill, which has a real routine to it: simple but regular ‘feeding’ of your starter, then a process that requires lots of patience.

The individual steps are very methodical with an everlasting supply of free fresh yeast.

The more you practice, the more ambitious you become; baking lots of healthy bread from just flour, salt and water, a method that dates back to Egyptian times.

Many a starter sponge will sink before your eyes, but I hope you stick with it in all its floury goodness - plus baking can be a very competitive sport, and you never even know you needed to win!

Thank you Airedale Hospital #NHS   

Sourdough starter recipe

110g/4oz strong white bread flour

125g /4.5fl oz warm water 

Sourdough bread recipe 

290g/9oz starter 

380g/13oz strong bread flour 

1 teaspoon salt 

175g/6 fl oz warm water 


1. Day 1: combine the bread flour and warm water into a clear, clean large glass jar and whisk the mixture well with a fork.  

2. Leave the jar lid off and allow the mixture to sit in a warm place in your home for 24 hours, and if you are lucky you might see some small bubbles forming. 

3. Day 2:  add 60g of flour and 60g of warm water and whisk well with a fork, then loosely place the lid on. You are now feeding your starter.

4. Day 3: you should be seeing great activity within your pot now. Repeat Day 2 procedure for another three days. 

5. Day 5: your starter should be beautifully bubbly by now and have plenty of wild yeasts and bacteria to be active to bake a loaf with. If you are unsure, the starter dough should have doubled in the jar after feeding it after an hour or so. If in doubt, leave it another day. 

5. I would recommend making a simple loaf first like a tin loaf, cob or bloomer before fancy shapes in wicker floured baskets. 

6. When you are happy add the starter, flour, salt and warm water to form a soft dough.

7. Knead well for 10/12 minutes until springy, return to the bowl and cover till half the size. Shape into your required loaf shape, place on to a tray or tin, and again cover and leave to halve in size. Both processes will take many hours. 

8. Dust with flour and sash the top of your loaf, then bake in a preheated hot oven 230/Gas Mark 8 for around 50-60 minutes placing a bowl of boiling water on the bottom shelf to give your loaf a good crust and colour.