It has been one of the defining trends of lockdown – and now the full extent of Britain’s new obsession with home baking has been revealed.
Almost a billion loaves of bread were made in domestic kitchens in the six months after coronavirus restrictions were first introduced, researchers have found.
Analysis of soaring sales figures for flour, yeast and baking equipment, combined with customer surveys, revealed that 960 million loaves were baked at home between March and September.
The astonishing figure represents an average of more than one loaf a week for each of Britain’s 27.6 million households.
Almost a billion loaves of homemade bread were made in domestic kitchens in Britian during the first six months of covid restrictions (stock images)
Just over a third of adults said they had started baking their own bread this year, with almost half of them aged 25 to 34. On average, each amateur baker made two loaves a week, but 15 per cent said they churned out four or more.
Sales of flour in stores almost doubled in the first weeks of lockdown, and new figures show the market for loaf tins, bread-makers and yeast soared by up to 130 per cent over the six months.
Kitchenware company Lakeland, which came up with the 960 million figure, also found that 44 per cent of home-bakers chose to knead and shape their loaves by hand, while 19 per cent used bread-makers. Others use stand mixers.
Steve Knights, chief executive of Lakeland, said the baking mania was down to consumers ‘returning to the basics and wanting to give their families nurturing, comforting food’.
Kneading bread has also been linked to reducing stress.
Recalling the baking mania in the early days of lockdown, Mr Knights added: ‘Supermarkets ran low on bread flour, then yeast.
A poll of cakes found Victoria sponge was most popular, overtaking banana bread which had topped an earlier poll (stock image)
Stories emerged of people selling yeast on the black market. Then the pictures of sourdough started to flood social media as more consumers made loaves from scratch.’
In news to gladden the hearts of Great British Bake Off judges Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood, the baking craze also extended to cakes.
Lakeland’s research found Victoria sponge was the most popular, overtaking banana bread, which had topped an earlier poll. Other popular treats were chocolate cake, lemon drizzle and carrot cake.
Working from home also triggered a 25 per cent surge in sales of swanky coffee machines.
They are now Britain’s most popular kitchen gadget, above slow cookers in second place and microwaves in third.
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