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Grain-wave: London bakery broadcasts free lessons as lockdown inspires new hobbies

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By Trent Murray
Hot Cross Buns from Bread Ahead
Hot Cross Buns from Bread Ahead   -   Copyright  Bread Ahead
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As lockdown laws continue to leave millions housebound across Europe, many are dusting off their aprons and mixers to hone their home-baking skills. While many European bakeries remain open, those in isolation are taking the time to bake their own bread and cakes, as a way to not only kill boredom, but also share their success through social media.

One London bakery is using this time to help encourage and teach amateur bakers, streaming free classes on Instagram to thousands each day. According to the owner of Bread Ahead, Matthew Jones, the level of interest has been amazing.

“From day one, it just went nuts. We had 8,000 people viewing us on the first one we did. Then we took 40,000 followers in 10 days on instagram. It’s been like, incredible! We’ve got people from all over the world. So it’s hello from Argentina! Hello from Mexico! Hello from Turkey! Honestly, it’s phenomenal,” he told Euronews.

The bakery, which normally does a bustling trade from its main store in the city's famous Borough Market, says swapping the sales till for a smartphone during lockdown had been a way to help ensure people could continue to enjoy their favourite treats while being confined.

“There’s been a huge interest in baking, bubbling away. And what’s happened now, is that people have realised 'you know what, I can give this a go' and now they’re just stuck so it’s a perfect time. We’re getting messages everyday from people saying ‘oh you guys are saving my life' you know cause they’re so bored so we’re giving them something to look forward to,” said Jones.

An online community of home cooks

1,200 kilometres away in a village outside the Italian city of Bologna, Emma Poolton is one of many tuning in each day. She says it’s one way to help deal with being alone in the countryside.

"I haven't left my home for 27 days," she told Euronews.

"I like the tutorials because it kind of gives me a routine everyday, just having these kind of videos and knowing there’s other people out there, like-minded people that are asking the same questions that I have,” she said.