A number of people are getting back in touch with their creative sides during the lockdown. I’ve turned my hand to baking bread – what have you been up to?
Photo credit: Kate Bevan
Last weekend I scored a big bag of white powder from a seller in north London – yes, flour has become increasingly harder to come by these last few weeks.
I started making bread a couple of years ago, and have experimented with various recipes and methods – I make soda bread (dead easy), beer bread and, more usually, a straightforward white loaf.
I’ve experimented with different methods, too, but I recently discovered one that starts with half the flour, all the liquid and all the yeast which seems to produce a bouncy, tasty loaf every time.
Since so many of you ask, here's how I make my loaves of bread. It's dead easy, honest: if I can do it successfully, any of you lot can pull it off too. pic.twitter.com/Ljd2JNltHd
I’ve experimented with different types of flour – spelt, wholemeal – and I’ve settled on using strong white bread flour. I’ve also experimented with baking loaves in a Dutch oven and just doing an ordinary dry bake, and I’ve concluded that the best results come from baking the loaf in a steamy oven.
Empty supermarket shelves
However, flour and yeast have both vanished off the supermarket shelves. That’s because prior to the outbreak, we didn’t buy much flour in the supermarkets: the mills are used to producing it in much bigger quantities for professional bakers.
But suddenly we’re all at home and many of us are unleashing our inner domestic gods and goddesses, and the mills have been struggling to cope with the shift.
I was lucky: a local bakery has been selling big sacks to its customers, so I was able to buy a 16kg sack of strong white bread flour that should see me happily baking right up until the end of any apocalypse.
If you’re struggling to get flour, it’s definitely worth asking your local bakery if they can sell you some – other friends of mine have had similar luck.
Even if you’re working from home, as I am, the coronavirus pandemic has suddenly given us all much more time to experiment and be creative.
I’ve seen friends get back into knitting, while others are making videos with their children. I’ve also seen some amazing meals being cooked as people seek to make the best of the time.
I haven’t quite got to the point of experimenting with sourdough, although if the current shortage of yeast persists, I might well turn my hand to that.
What creativity have you unleashed and what skills have you been developing since the lockdown began?
Are you getting into baking, or are you breaking out old oil paints? Let us know in the comments what’s getting you through the long lockdown days.