One in three Brits turn to baking to help them de-stress after a busy day at work, a study suggests.
Researchers found as well as being a pleasurable pastime for many, others enjoy mixing, stirring and baking 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 respondents when baking, according to the study, is happiness, followed by a sense of calm and focus.
One third of Britain’s bakers find the process relaxing, believing the process of achieving 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.
Dr Papadopoulos said: “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 food is finally served and one in seven feel calm after finishing cooking.
When it comes to motives for baking, the proof is really in the taste – 64 per cent do so because they love the flavour of baked foods, the 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 they can cook up, while one in seven have a recipe in their repertoire which they consider a closely guarded family secret.
Dr Papadopoulos also believes the social benefits of baking can be as therapeutic as 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.”