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Lockdown loaves: People turn to baking while in quarantine

Jessica, an accountant, has learned that she can finish her daily tasks in a few hours less when working at home and that she can bake bread. 

KEEP CALM AND BAKE ON. Many quarantined individuals find peace and comfort in baking, a therapeutic activity that relieves stress.
In the first few weeks of the government’s stay-at-home mandate, many people—some have no prior baking experience—turned to making bread and pastries. Simply browse through your social media newsfeed and you’ll see a number of baked goods your friends are making and/or selling.  

“Baking was never on my list of skills,” revealed Jessica. “I just saw a recipe video on the Internet, and since I have more time to spare, I bought the ingredients, fired up the oven, and baked away. My family seems to be loving the results, thankfully!”

Around the world, Google searches for bread recipes and baking tips are increasing, driving up demand for baking supplies. 

Baker and author Dan Lepard, in an interview with Euronews, offered an explanation as to why homebound folks turned to baking. 

“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 behavior therapy that strengthens your problem-solving skills in a somewhat manageable way,” said Lepard.

In times of uncertainty, as is today, baking seems to be providing a sense of comfort and certainty.

According to culinary school The Maya Kitchen, even before the pandemic, baking has proven to be a therapeutic way of managing our fears and anxieties. 

“Baking involves all our senses and our full attention, forcing us to focus on the recipe and quiet down our own inner dialogues. It gives us a semblance of control in times of uncertainty, not only during times such as these, but throughout all challenges in life.”

Baking, it added, is not only meditative, but also unleashes our creativity, allowing us to express ourselves, experiment with substitutes, and troubleshoot baking problems right in the moment. 

Want to give it a go? The Maya Kitchen shares three recipes beginners can easily do at home.

Pandesal

Yields: 2-3 dozens

Ingredients:

2 tsp. yeast

1 ½ cups warm water

2 tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. shortening

4 ½ - 5 cups sifted MAYA All-Purpose Flour

breadcrumbs, as needed

Procedure: 

1. Dissolve yeast in ¼ cup of water. 

2. In a bowl, combine the remaining water, sugar, salt, and shortening. Add 4 cups of the flour and the yeast mixture. Mix well then transfer to a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.

3. Use the remaining flour for dusting the table and your hands if the dough gets sticky.

4. Place dough on a greased bowl, cover and let it rise until double in bulk.

5. Preheat oven to 350-degree Fahrenheit or 177-degree Celsius. 

6. Place risen dough on a floured surface. Flatten with your hands to form a rectangle about 16x3 inches. 

7. Starting at one end, roll up the dough with the right hand while sealing with the left hand to form a cylindrical strip of dough. Roll in bread crumbs. Let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes.

8. Cut dough into pieces about 1 ½-inch thick. Place in baking sheet cut side up. Let the dough pieces rise until light, for approximately 1 hour. 

9. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Coffee Hotcakes

Cooking time: 20 mins. | Yields: 5-6 hotcakes

Ingredients:

1 pack MAYA Fluffy n’ Tasty Original Hotcake Mix 200g.

1 pc. egg

2 tbsp. oil

½ cup brewed coffee, cooled (or dissolve 1-2 tbsp. instant coffee powder in ½ cup water)

unsalted butter and maple syrup, as needed

Procedure:

1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl until slightly lumpy (do not over mix).

2. Pour ¼ cup hotcake batter mix onto pre-heated, lightly greased pan or flat skillet. 

3. Cook until bubbly then turn to cook the other side.

4. Serve with butter and syrup.

Caramel Choco Fudge Brownies

Yields: 16 bars

Ingredients:

1 pack MAYA Chocolate Fudge Brownies

Caramel layer:

½ cup  butter

1 cup  light brown sugar

¾ cup  sweetened condensed milk

½ cup  light corn syrup

1 pinch  salt

1 tsp.  vanilla extract

Chocolate ganache:

½ cup  heavy cream

½ cup  dark chocolate, chopped

assorted nuts and chocolate chips, for topping

Procedure: 

1. Bake brownies according to package directions. Set aside.

2. In a non-stick pan, heat up caramel ingredients until thick (Softball stage 200-220°C). Pour this over the prepared brownie.

3. In a microwavable bowl, heat up cream for about 30 seconds. Add in chocolate. Microwave in 20 second bursts until chocolate is melted and ganache is smooth. 

4. Spread top caramel layer. Top with desired nuts, chocolate chips, and other toppings.

5. Set aside to set. Cut into bars. Serve.

Topics: Dan Lepard , Maya Kitchen , Baking , Bread , Pandesal , Pancake , Brownies

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