Loaves in lockdown: why people are turning to bread in the pandemic

Home bakers across the country are proving that bread can still bring us together, even while we are apart

One of my loaves was given to a consultant who hadn’t left the hospital for 48 hours,” says Martha de Lacey. “Apparently she burst into tears when she saw it.”

Such is the power of bread, which has come to mean so much to so many during the Covid-19 crisis. While there’s no shortage of loaves in shops, shelves are bare of flour and yeast. Instead of shopping for it, people are baking bread during lockdown to self-soothe and share.

De Lacey teaches bread making at her home in east London and although students haven’t been coming through her door since the lockdown, the sourdough hasn’t stopped. “I’m giving away about 30 loaves a week,” says the baker, who donates bread to staff at three London hospitals.

“Making bread makes me feel happy,” she says. “At first I felt really helpless, but now it feels really good to be able to do something, even if it’s really small.” She adds: “Baking is really therapeutic. Turning flour into something you can eat is just kind of magical. I can’t save anyone’s life, but I can make someone smile.”

This article was originally published in Positive News Magazine online, April 2020.