Why You Should B.Y.O.B (Bake Your Own Bread)

It’s baking season. With National Baking Week in full swing, and GBBO heating up, it’s the perfect time to get your bake on. While you might be tempted to set your sights on an insta-worthy tray of macarons or a tarte tatin, I am here to make a case for the humble loaf. If rustling up an pavlova is instant gratification, the anticipation of baking bread is deeply satisfying.

Real homemade bread cannot be rushed, it proves when it proves. Like Mariah Carey or any true diva, bread works on its own time schedule – and don’t even get me started on sourdough. In fact, I will go so far as to claim that making bread is akin to meditation.

I firmly believe that at some point in their lives, everybody should learn to make real bread. Why, you may wonder. You’ve already mastered the art of the mug cake and the stir fry, after all. Well here are five reasons that might persuade you:

  1.  People bake bread when they show prospective buyers around their homes. The scent of baking bread is thought to create a homely feel to entice people into making an offer. That is how magical the bready aroma is. Consider that next time you hastily throw a Warburtons into your trolley.
  2.  It’s cheap! Considering the price of budget loaves, I’ll admit that making your own bread will probably not save you a huge amount, but it’s not an expensive hobby. You don’t need a baking stone (no, I don’t know what that is either) or some posh bread maker. All that is needed are the basics: flour, yeast, hands. You don’t even a rolling pin. Should you ever branch out to any type of bread that requires rolling, an empty wine bottle can be used just the same.
  3. Kneading is very therapeutic. If, like me, you are athletically challenged, it is highly unlikely you’re ever going to take out your frustrations on a punching bag or the treadmill. The next best thing is really pummeling the dough with your fists.
  4. The best motivation anyone could have for baking a loaf: warm, fresh from the oven. A pat of golden butter melting into a freshly cut slice… Mmm… Excuse me I have just become very hungry.
  5. Homemade bread will add a touch of luxury to your everyday packed lunch. Think of the wonder you will feel as you reach for your poppyseed-rye sandwich. ‘I made this,’ you will tell anybody who will listen. ‘I made this bread myself,’ you’ll say to Jen in your 1pm geography seminar. Jen will give you a funny look. But you don’t care. Jen doesn’t know what we know. Jen doesn’t understand the fulfilling power of making your own bread.

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Helen Woodhouse

Images: [Youtube, The Independent]