Baking bread on the rise in the age of coronavirus

Teens in Oakland created a Bored Bread Heads Instagram account during the coronavirus quarantine.

Talia Benioff-White is usually a busy teenager in Oakland, Calif.

She plays soccer, studies hard and hangs out with friends.

Or at least she used to. Her life looked very different before the coronavirus stay-at-home order was issued three weeks ago, upending her life, along with most of the rest of the country. 

So she and countless others across the country are turning to one of the few hobbies that hasn't been banned: Baking bread.

"I find it so satisfying," the Oakland Technical High senior said. "I have so much time, and I can wait for the dough to rise."

Locked in her home for much of the day, the 18-year-old's kitchen and culinary feats look extremeley professional. She said she watches YouTube videos to help her hone her newfound craft. 


And she's not alone.

She and her friends created a BoredBreadHeads Instagram account, where they are sharing photos their finished products. So far, they've made bagels, cinnamon buns, focaccia, babka and donuts. Their bio reads: "Sum bored teens during q-tine."

Stress-baking during the age of a global pandemic has even grabbed the attention of the New York Times, which noted that as everyone is confined to their homes, more Americans are kneading dough. 


NPR anchor Mary Louise Kelly, 49, has been making pumpkin bread and asking on Twitter: “Anyone else in their kitchen sipping red wine and aggressively baking banana bread at 9:40 p.m.? No? Just me? #coronavirusbaking.” As of Thursday, her question had 13,000 likes. 

#Stress baking and #quarantinebaking are trending hashtags throughout the country and amateurs are showing off their churros and cakes. 

Baking has gotten so popular that many stores are even running out of the basic ingredients.  That's inspired a host of other posts and blogs of how to substitute standard ingredients and other helpful hints. 

Liat Steinberg, 19, of Tucson, Arizona was hosting a Zoom conference call Wednesday night for her friends, giving a lesson on how to bake her grandmother's key lime pie recipe.

It was a chance to share and catch up with buddies across the globe: Friends from California, Israel and Brazil tuned in.

As for eating all the baked goods?

"No, I'm going to take this down to the fire station," she said, adding that she wants to support all the firefighters and first responders risking their lives to help people. 

While most are finding baking a calming activity during the shelter-in-place, others are actually finding the act a matter of survival. 

Clyde Nichols, 18, also of Oakland, was baking long before coronavirus shook his world.

But now, he's making his own sourdough starter, pretty much out of necessity. 

"We didn't have any bread in the house and my parents are really resistant to go to the grocery store," he said. "So, if I wanted to make a sandwich, I had to bake my own bread."

Nichols said he has always loved the scientific wonders of turning a bacteria in the air into something that could be nourishing.

But now that process is even more significant.

"It just shows that not everything out there in the air is dangerous or contagious," he said. 

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Lisa Fernandez is a reporter for KTVU. Email Lisa at or call her at 510-874-0139. Or follow her on Twitter @ljfernandez