Freshly baked agege bread. Picture: Supplied
Freshly baked agege bread. Picture: Supplied

Baking is the escapism we need right now

By Buhle Mbonambi Time of article published Mar 26, 2020

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Many of us are trying to upskill during this time and trying to be better at doing the things we already do well. 

Cooking is one of those skills that always benefit from practice and so is baking. 

Baking sometimes gets a bad rap from people because they find it too scientific. Not that I blame them.

The measurements have to be precise. It really is like chemistry - you are mixing different ingredients and it’s important to get the quantities right, to bake it at the right temperature and 

Sdu Gerasch, of Durban based Gerasch Bakery, believes that baking is one way we can forget about what is happening in the world right now, thanks to the lockdown brought by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“Being confined in one space can push anyone to the edge, so times like these are perfect for us to learn new hobbies, develop new habits. Something that is going to keep your mind busy and you won’t even feel that you are home-bound,” she said. 

She is also going to be using this time to learn a new language.

“I’ve been meaning to polish my German, so I told myself that I will that I will dedicate an hour and a half to learn every day. My daughter is joining me and we have found a tutor will be teaching us via Skype for now.” 

On why she thinks we should be baking more during the lockdown, Gerasch says that nothing beats the smell of freshly baked bread, cakes and pastries wafting inside your home. 

“Who doesn’t like freshly baked goods? Luckily in our modern day there are recipes that cater for those who have special dietary requirements, from those who are gluten intolerant, and those who are diabetic. So this perfect time to master those biscuits, cupcakes, breads etc. 

“Another beauty about baking is that, one can always make it fun and get the whole family involved especially the kids. They will love to assist because they know that in the end they’ll have to clean up (licking the bowls, spoons…you name it), decorating their personalized good and you’ll have people washing the dishes.” 
Gerasch is a proud Pan African and is always experimenting with recipes from around the continent to widen her repertoire. These days she’s obsessed with Agege bread, which is Nigerian bread. 

“It’s basically sweet bread or sandwich bread that is made with bread flour, sugar, salt margarine/butter, active yeast and water. It originates from a place in Lagos, Nigeria called Agege. It is easy to make and versatile, you can enjoy it with beans porridge (bean curry), braised potatoes, stews, use it to make bread & butter pudding, have it with butter and jam…the list is endless. You can also make dinner rolls as well.” 

And now for those who are afraid to venture into the kitchen and bake, she said we should be kinder to ourselves. 

“It is okay to make mistakes, in fact we all learn from our mistakes, which then drive us to practice more up until we get it right. So, make mistakes but don’t give up, try again the next thing you’ll know 21 days will be over and you’ll be back at work.” 

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