Imagine the smell of sweet baked pastry. You've likely enjoyed the delicious fragrance passing by a bakery in the early morning. However, after being tempted into the shop to buy bread, you might have found yourself hesitant to buy due to high prices and left empty-handed. To make matters worse, even the purchase of such expensive bread becomes hard due to the quarantine restrictions. To compensate, more and more people are turning to do baking at home. All you need is a little flour, some eggs, and some sugar to make bakery-style bread. If you want a simpler method, there are plenty of instant baking products that need minimal work to create. It is easy to enjoy fresh bread at home every day.
Baking reduces stress
The spread of COVID-19 has made social distancing a part of life. As a result, hobbies that were once enjoyed outside the house have been brought into the house, and hobbies that were once enjoyed at home have become even more popular. One such hobby is baking. It has gained popularity among people because they can create between-meal snacks in the pleasure of their own home. According to the Hankyoreh, sales of frozen dough used to make bread in an oven or air fryer on Gmarket, between April and June, increased 253% compared to the same period last year. Also, the sales of flour and unsalted butter used to make bread have increased, 19%, and 26% respectively. Even outside Korea, baking ingredient sales increased, for instance, in the United States, Japan, Canada, and France. The term 'stress baking' has become common because baking can reduce stress from staying at home. On social media, #stressbaking has been tagged on more than 43,000 posts and #quarantinebaking has been tagged on more than 285,000 posts. Overall, for almost anyone staying at home, home baking now became a popular hobby.
The reason for the popularity of home baking is its simplicity. Cookies, madeleine, scone, and others are representative baked goods that are easy to make. The ingredients can be bought at the local grocery store as well as online. Baking utensils such as baking frames and blenders are also easily purchased online. Recipes are available for easy downloading and viewing from search engines such as Google. People can even search for recipes that match the cooking appliances they have at home by searching on keywords like microwave recipe, no-oven recipe, and air fryer recipe. Anyone wishing more specific details about a certain cooking method, they can also check out home baking recipe videos on YouTube. Any person wishing to do some home baking but finding it difficult to obtain the ingredients can also purchase a pre-mixed product. With all these easy-to-get ingredients and recipes, home baking has become a popular hobby.
Try baking 'just for fun'!
SMT reporters first searched YouTube channels looking for a home baking recipe that would suit their needs and wants. Because of the absence of an oven or air fryer, reporters looked to microwave recipes. The YouTube video titled 'Six Kinds of Easy and Delicious Microwave Baking for Beginners' popped up and reporters referred to it to do their baking. The first task was to go to the grocery store to buy the needed ingredients. However, fearing COVID-19, they decided against physical shopping and instead ordered all ingredients online. Items that were purchased were flour, eggs, cooking oil, and baking soda. Reporters also bought a muffin mix and decided to bake it and compare the two baked products. Following the directions in the YouTube video, SMT reporters started baking. One reporter used the muffin mix, and the other reporter made cookies from scratch. Because reporters forgot to buy parchment paper, they decided to make plain muffins using the cookie ingredients. The process was relatively easy for the SMT reporter who used the muffin mix, but for the other SMT reporter, she constantly worried, fearing something would go wrong. The SMT reporter making the muffins from scratch tried as best she could to follow the video, but the pastry became too sticky. It was impossible to start over. To compensate, she added more flour and just baked it. Both muffins were cooked in the microwave for two and a half minutes.
Once the time was up, the two SMT reporters compared the two muffin creations. Both smelled sweet right out of the microwave. However, the muffins made from the mix rose faster than the ones made from scratch. The pre-mixed ones were very moist and sweet, but the ones from scratch were a little hard and bitter. After discussion, the bitter taste was concluded to be from using too much baking soda. Despite the bitter taste, it had been a rewarding experience for SMT reporters. They had eaten muffins that they themselves had made. There was the added advantage of being able to eat the baked goods at a much cheaper price than buying it at a bakery. The muffin mix had cost only 1000 won, and the other ingredients were purchased for under 10,000 won. Nevertheless, reporters found it hard to both watch and follow the video at the same time. The YouTube video presented the process in detail, but somehow the reporters were unable to be fully successful in their baking endeavor. Therefore, reporters decided to reflect on the experience of baking itself rather than on the final result. It was a worthwhile experience, something they had both never done before.
Enjoy the process
The prolonged COVID-19 pandemic is making people look for alternative ways to vent boredom from staying at home. Home baking is one hobby that relieves such stress and gives people a product they can enjoy eating at the same time. However, just because the process is easy, the results may not be successful. SMT reporters experienced both baking success and baking failure. While the instant baking product produced a successful tasty muffin, the muffins created from scratch were somewhat of a failure. Nonetheless, reporters enjoyed the baking process. SMT reporters hope that Sookmyungians give baking a try at home and it allows their stress and depression to disappear.
Ahn Ha Yura / Culture Section Editor
Kim Han Yujin / Woman Section Editor