It’s true that a batch of freshly made cookies or chocolate cake will make anybody happy. And this happiness is magnified when you roll up your sleeves to bake. The whole process of baking, the mellow anticipation of the final product, and the heavenly smell that lingers once it is ready; could anything be better?
We wouldn’t be wrong when we say, baking is finding hope in a sack of flour.
But it is really much more than that. In fact, baking has been found to have therapeutic value which helps to ease depression and anxiety. To see if it really has that effect on people, we got in touch with 4 bakers to find out!
The meditative effect
Any activity which takes your whole attention – especially if it’s simple and repetitive – has a calming quality. The process itself lets our mind wander and be fully present. The act of weighing out butter and sugar, whisking, beating, and folding creates space in the mind and puts it to ease.
For Alisha Bawa, (patisserie.x), a professional baker, baking is “a source of warmth and comfort on any day.” Especially right now, in these trying times, she thinks, “baking is a way to slow down, reconnect with simpler times, and seek out comfort and order in a world that is increasingly uncertain.”
A simple bread-making session can even unveil life’s lessons. How? Hear it from Nikhil Merchant, (nonchalantgourmand) a serious bread-lover, who says, “baking, in the end, is all about patience. When something goes wrong, it drives me towards re-learning everything until I get it right, and this has helped me in my professional and personal life.” He adds, “baking for me goes deeper than therapy – it’s almost like life is teaching me the lessons I need, through it.”
The feel-good factor
Hinal Shah, the face behind ‘Food Library’ tells us that “baking is an art of joy,” The feel of the flour, the sound of the blender, and of course the smell of the delectable final product – all these experiences boosts our feel-good quotient.
This is backed up by Nikhil, who says, “the smell of fresh dough, the finale of the browning; my mood gets enveloped right from the time I start the process rather than the end result.”
The merrymaking that revolves around baking is majorly due to this reason – it makes us happy. And as Alisha rightly says, “baking is a way for people to connect with a part of themselves that is often suppressed in this turbocharged world we live in.”
Gets your creative juices flowing
According to psychologists, there is a strong co-relation between creative expression and overall wellbeing. And baking is your playground! When you try a risqué frosting or a new tricky recipe, and it turns out well, it gives you a sense of confidence and fulfilment.
Hinal tells us, “I always like to experiment with new flavours while baking, it’s fun and pushes you to grow.”
It’s a happiness carnival
Sharing your creation with someone and seeing them gushing over it – this is pure bliss. The receiver’s smiling face is the baker’s biggest takeaway, and nothing makes them happier. So, it’s a win-win. For Alisha “a big bonus is being able to bring a smile to people’s faces when they like something I’ve made, or even better, remind them of a cherished memory.”
She adds, “I got a message from someone who said that one of my cakes reminded them of one their mother used to make, but they never got the recipe from her before she passed and so have never been able to recreate it. Being able to give someone that, is the ultimate compliment.”
We are what we eat!
Food is all about nourishing the body, and it affects our mood and mental health more than we know. So, when your food is packed with healthy ingredients and made with love, it alleviates your health. Which is why Shashi Mahesh, (baking_bridges_pathways) vouches that “ since so many people are on the path to good health via baking, her baked goods are eggless, made using flourless and vegan alternatives, and are chemical-free.”
So, pick up that ladle, and let the flour, sugar, and butter, work its magic on your mood!
After all, stressed spelt backwards, is desserts, right?