In 2020, when a disaster of epic proportions shook the world and its inhabitants to its core, people turned to art in search of solace. And what is baking if not a precise, peculiar art? All of a sudden, people who had never ventured inside the kitchen except to dip tea bags in mugs of warm water began whipping up baked delicacies from scratch. From fresh sourdough and nutty and nutritious granola bars and delicate mugs of creamy dalgona whisked to perfection, we wanted to make it all. So, as our kitchens begin boasting of an ever-growing collection of Le Creuset bakeware, ready to tackle whatever new recipe we are in the mood to try, here is a list of baking trends and treats that the would-be patissier inside us needs to look out for:
1. Bread and buns
It began with banana bread and led us through the treacherous wilds of growing our own sourdough starter. Be it lip-smacking trays of steaming cinnamon buns or fresh, cheesy garlic bread, it looks everyone will be obsessed with bread all through 2021. And with good reason. After all, nothing compares to the delectable crunch of fresh toasted bread topped with a ludicrous amount of warm, salty butter.
2. Pantry-friendly bakes
If the pandemic taught us anything, it is to be judicious with what we have. And that magic lies in the heart of our kitchen drawers and pantries. 2021 is the year of upgrading and experimentation as home cooks and professional chefs all over the world try to come up with more and more tricks to make delicious gastronomic delights using things we already have in the pantry. After all, rushing to the store every time you want to make a new dish is not just unsafe but also rather wasteful. Especially when the brown, gooey two-week-old banana makes for the perfect ingredients for luscious banana bread.
3. Healthy baking
The initial weeks we spent stuck inside in 2020 may have featured a lot of fried foods and heavy, cheesy delights, but people soon realised how it wasn’t the most sustainable option. With gyms and expensive healthy shakes out of reach, the world turned to their own pantries and the internet in search of fresher, healthier recipes. Fresh, nutritious meals that also look good on Instagram feeds will, thus, continue being a trend in 2021. Because nothing can lift one’s spirit than a platterful of delicious treats that are also guilt and gluten-free.
4. The aesthetic appeal
As people were stuck at home, away from friends and family, social media communication became irrevocably irreplaceable. People’s Facebook and Instagram feeds played the all-important part of keeping everyone up to date about everyone else – from celebrities to our loved ones. As social media posts replaced face-to-face interactions, it is not surprising that people began placing more importance on the aesthetics of every reel, every story. And the world of foodies and chefs is no different. Unable to share fresh piles of sugar-drizzled doughnuts with our peers, we let our cameras do the sharing. In 2021 too, newbie and professional chefs will be using the visual medium to share the joy of food with peers all over the world. So, the aesthetic appeal of the perfectly trimmed and carefully filtered Instagram posts will continue to gain importance this year.
5. Supporting local
Forced to spend every day inside our homes and with ourselves last year, a lot of us realized and revisited our values and priorities. It took a pandemic to turn thousands and millions of us environmentally conscious. We also understood all over again the need for community support. Small, local businesses offered communities fresh, carefully sourced ingredients in return for continued support. As we continue becoming health conscious and the impact of our actions on the environment, it is very likely that people will keep supporting local brands and exploring fresher, cruelty-free food options from smaller, trustworthy brands.