LONDON (Reuters) – Brits aren’t known for being the best cooks, but as the coronavirus lockdown continues, a baking frenzy has taken hold to such an extent that flour is running low in some places and recipe searches have hit all-time highs.
Restaurants remain closed in the third week of the lockdown and people are encouraged to go to the supermarket as little as possible, so some have started to bake bread for the first time.
BBC Good Food said visits to the website started increasing on March 23, the day the enforced lockdown was announced. It had its most traffic ever on Sunday, with 7.8 million page views in one day – beating Christmas, Easter and Pancake Day.
Bread recipes are rising, with the video ‘how to make bread’ up nearly 700% in the last two weeks, Lily Barclay, the digital editor of BBC Good Food said.
Cooking and baking habits are changing as the lockdown goes on: in the first week there was a surge in searches for recipes using stockpiled food, like pasta, and batch cooking.
The week after, as children at home got bored, there was an increase in searches for craft-based recipes, such as making slime and salt dough, as well as easy cakes and biscuits.
In the week to April 1, the top search terms on bbcgoodfood.com were “cake recipe”, “bread recipe”, and “banana bread recipe”, according to Google Trends.
Celebrities including comedian Stephen Fry and ITV presenter Holly Willoughby have posted pictures of their freshly-baked bread online.
But as stockpiling left some supermarket shelves empty and online delivery slots are difficult to come by, many have been unable to get hold of ingredients like eggs and flour.
Searches for flourless cake recipes and store-cupboard baking recipes have all skyrocketed.
Britain’s traditional flour mills are run to the ground trying to keep up with orders.
Sally Craven, who makes flour at Claybrooke Water Mill, a 300-year-old mill in Leicestershire, said demand had gone through the roof and she was getting a hundred emails per hour.
“I have done six months’ work in a week,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting it at all – it’s absolute madness.”
Green’s Windmill in Nottingham had more orders in the 10 days to March 28 than it had in the whole of 2019.
“In a time when many business are struggling, the upturn in flour sales has provided us with a real lifeline,” said Jamie Duff, the mill’s heritage and development officer.
“Our only problem is that we cannot make the flour fast enough.”
Reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft; Editing by Mike Collett-White