Think you are too cool to bake? Think again. Home baking is one of the hottest activities right now and if you are not in on the action, you’re really missing out. Whether it’s cakes, cookies, puddings or bread, everyone who’s anyone is getting in a mix over baking. So, how did this craze start? And where will it end? We take a look under the crust of the home baking cultural craze.
Surprise TV success
As with many cultural explosions, TV played a big part in the recent baking frenzy. Back in 2010, a new UK show featuring amateur cooks baking off against each other was launched by the BBC to mixed critical response. Titled The Great British Bakeoff (GBBO), the show was set in a marquee in a field, reminiscent of an English country fair, as can be seen at https://thegreatbritishbakeoff.co.uk/. Described as ‘quaint’ and ‘nice’ by critics, few could have predicted that the GBBO format would also be a hit in the US and elsewhere.
The show first aired on BBC2, the broadcaster’s less mainstream channel, which is aimed at producing TV of more depth and substance. However, GBBO slowly grew in popularity and after the fourth series was moved to a prime-time slot on BBC1, the flagship channel. It became the most-watched show in Britain with series finales attracting up to 15 million viewers. After the seventh series, it switched to Channel 4 in a £25 million deal and is still getting rave reviews from outlets like the Guardian, per https://www.theguardian.com.
The success promoted spin-off shows including the Great Christmas Bake Off, Bake Off: The Professionals and Junior Bake Off. The format was sold to over 20 countries and the original British version was aired in over 200 territories including the US, where it went out as the Great British Baking Show. However, the real measure of its success came on a cultural level.
After the switch from the BBC, supermarkets and stores across the UK noted a significant increase in the sale of baking equipment and ingredients – a trend that was also reflected in other countries including the USA. The sale of bakery books also increased as did the number of new baking clubs. In other media, a new baking simulator video game was announced on the Steam network. Beyond that, in the online entertainment sphere, there was a Baking Bonanza video slot game available at https://ca.fruitkings.com/ released. On a social level, GBBO also boosted the membership of UK Women’s Institutes by more than a quarter to levels not seen since the 1970s. The show also introduced the term ‘soggy bottom’ into the lexicon of everyday life as described by https://www.mirror.co.uk.
Every time you hear the words ‘soggy bottom’ #GBBO pic.twitter.com/IkWClv9PCm
— British Bake Off (@BritishBakeOff) December 8, 2020
With the trend for baking rising like a well-executed soufflé, other TV shows have looked to get their fingers in the cookie jar. In the US, the Food Network launched the Holiday Baking Championship in 2014 and it’s still going strong after seven series with episode regularly uploaded to https://www.foodnetwork.com/. It has also produced spin-off shows such as the Spring Baking Championship, the Kids Baking Championship, and the Wedding Cake Championship. Meanwhile, the https://www.netflix.com series Sugar Rush has also run for three seasons with a fourth on the way.
It seems that our appetite for home baking has yet to be over-cooked. So, if you haven’t already, there’s still time to join the army of apron-wearing bakers looking to prove their worth in kitchens all over the globe.