If Bake Off has inspired you to head for the kitchen, you’ll be pleased to know that baking has more benefits than just the creation of a delicious cake. With National Baking Week from 17-23 October, here are five reasons to get your bake on.
1. Baking is good for your career
Besides impressing colleagues with your baked creation, having a hobby such as baking can boost your performance at work, according to research by the San Francisco State University. This is because expressing yourself through baking can help your problem solving, patience and ability to learn new skills.
2. Baking boosts your confidence
Even if it doesn’t turn out to be an Insta-worthy creation, the British Journal of Occupational Therapy found that baking boosted confidence and provided a sense of achievement. Taking pleasure and pride in something you’ve created can significantly boost your self-esteem and sense of self-worth.
3. Baking helps you switch off
Baking gives us time to switch off and focus on the careful process of creating the perfect loaf or the most beautiful macaron. “Working through the steps of a recipe in a methodical way means you don’t have time to concentrate on everything else that is whirring through your mind,” says John Whaite, former winner of the Great British Bake Off. Unlike modern technology, baking guarantees you a tangible result and the predictability of this can be calming and reassuring.
4. Baking helps you beat the blues
Mary Berry once said, “If you’re feeling a bit down, a bit of kneading helps.” Baking can create comforting and nurturing feelings, which can help your mental wellbeing. “Cooking and baking activities can be therapeutic for patients with depression,” says psychiatrist Mark Salter. “They can stimulate cognition allow patients to connect with a feeling of nurturing and protection.”
5. Baking unlocks all your senses
Whether it’s the smell of brownies cooling or the feeling of kneading dough, according to psychologist Dr Linda Blair, “baking appeals to all five of the senses,” which in turn increases feel-good endorphins. It can also work as an antidote to the daily grind often dominated by modern tech and staring at screens. “When we bake, we can get in touch with all our senses – sight, taste, feeling, sound and, in particular, our sense of smell, which can reawaken happy memories that we wouldn’t have otherwise thought of.”
Feeling inspired? Try Niomi Smart’s Beetroot Cake with Chocolate Ganache.