One in three Brits turn to baking to help them unwind after a busy day at work, it has emerged.
Researchers found as well as being a pleasurable pastime for many, others don an apron and get stuck into mixing, stirring and piping to ease stress levels.
The survey of 2,000 amateur bakers also found two thirds of Brits believe baking improves their mood when they are feeling low.
The predominant emotion evoked in bakers when they settle into ‘The Bake’, according to the study, is happiness, followed by a sense of calm and focus, the revealed.
And one third of Britain’s bakers find the process relaxing, believing the process of nailing the perfect bake has greater stress-relieving properties than sex.
Psychologist, Dr. Linda Papadopoulos who worked with Dr. Oetker on the ‘Bake Friends’ report, said the very act of following a baking recipe has a similar effect to mindfulness for reducing stress.
And she added: “We know that 80 per cent of people prefer to follow a recipe when baking and these steps encourage us to focus on being present with what we’re creating.
“In fact, baking also has the benefit of enhancing creative expression – which has been found to have a strong connection with overall wellbeing.
”In the same way composing music or drawing allows people to forget the noise of day to day thoughts and experience what we call ‘flow’, baking too can provide a stress relief via focussing on a creative and expressive outlet.”
The study also found one in six enjoy baking as a creative outlet, and one in eight think it’s a great excuse to get their kids in the kitchen and have a good bonding session.
Fifty five per cent feel a sense of achievement when their baked creation is finally served from the oven to hungry mouths, and one in seven feel calm settle over them after cooking up a storm.
When it comes to our motives for baking, the proof is really in the taste – 64 per cent hit the kitchen because they love the flavour of baked treats, the Dr. Oetker ‘Bake Friends’ report found.
Forty seven per cent find pleasure in the process of baking and a third like the excuse to fill their home with the delicious smell of baking goods.
A third of bakers feel driven to bake something when the weather is dreary and something hearty and warming is needed, while 18 per cent use it as an excuse to get their family together.
Four in five bakers are sticklers for following the recipe, though one in seven prefer to go off piste with their measurements to see what creations they can cook up.
And one in seven have a recipe in their repertoire which they consider a closely-guarded family secret.
Dr Linda also believes the social benefits of baking can be as therapeutic as the psychological: “At the very heart of baking is the act of giving and connecting, and this too can contribute to an overall sense of wellbeing.
She added: ”There’s a strong social element when it comes to using food to connect and communicate one’s feelings.
”Our societal norms of using food to comfort and express love or gratitude have been around for hundreds of years, and in recent years – especially with baking – this has evolved to not only be about giving food but also as a means of engaging creatively with each other.
“Whether it’s a mother and child baking cupcakes or a couple laughing and baking together on a lazy Sunday afternoon, it’s these feelings around ‘flow’ and connection that belie our love of baking.”
Dr. Oetker spokesperson, Emma Haworth said: “Dr. Oetker believes baking is a force for good, and the ‘Bake Friends’ report backs this up.
“It is creative, joyful, fun and rewarding. It shows people you love them, brings them together and makes them happy.
“That is why Dr. Oetker is encouraging the nation to dare to bake. No matter your skill set, do more of what you love and head over to www.webake.co.uk – the social network for bakers, to get inspired, benefit from expert tips and win prizes through community challenges.”
WHY BRITS BAKE:
I like how baked goods taste
I enjoy the baking process
Because the smell of freshly baked goods in the kitchen is homely
Because some occasions (i.e. birthdays, Christmas, Easter) always deserve a cake
Because I find it soothing and it helps me to relax
I like to show people I care about them with my baking
I want to challenge myself
I have always baked – it’s habit
I find it a creative outlet
it gives me a feeling of nostalgia for my childhood
it’s a family tradition
it’s a quality time to spend together with my kids and it’s educational
I want to impress someone
I am inspired by other bakers
I bake as a distraction from a stressful job/other worries