The staff of life, the stuff of a pandemic: Let’s bake #quarantinebread

There’s something about a three-bun bread that looks so wholesome. (Submitted by Laurie Lawrence)

Last week on CBC Radio’s CrossTalk, host Ramona Dearing invited Bonita Hussey to join her to talk bread. The audience then, um, rose to the occasion. Scroll further down for some tempting photos of what our listeners have been up to. 

Hussey is well-known in this province for her popular website, Bonita’s Kitchen, which features a series of instructional videos focusing on many traditional recipes — including bread.  

“My favourite is the traditional one … it’s the one that we all grew up to love,” Hussey said.

Baking has soared in popularity through the COVID-19 pandemic — so much so, it now has its own hashtag: #quarantinebread. But it’s not just the standard three-bun white that’s been the main focus. People are trying multigrain, gluten-free, sourdough, no-rise breads … the list goes on. 

Baking has become so popular, flour giant Robin Hood has been running out of its iconic yellow bags of flour. Yeast has also been at a premium.

“Everybody is getting so creative right now,” said Hussey. “It’s amazing, and people are taking it serious. Just having that warmth of fresh bread coming out of the oven.” 

The best way is to wrap it nice and snug in that blanket.– Bonita Hussey

While on CrossTalk, Hussey lent a few of her secrets on how to bake a good loaf of bread, including how to help it rise. 

Hussey says it’s important to keep the dough warm. “If the bread gets a little chill at all, it will interfere with the productivity of it.”

She added that even the heat from an oven hood light gives a bit of heat. When asked how she keeps her dough warm, Hussey said “for me, it’s a big towel.” 

She added, “The best way is to wrap it nice and snug in that blanket.”

While the show was on-air, listeners were posting photos of their baked offerings on the CBC Newfoundland and Labrador Facebook page. Bread photos of all varieties: plain white, multigrain, Iranian — even small loaves that were affectionately named “corona buns.”

Bonita Hussey of Bonita’s Kitchen fame. 25:15

Take a look at our audience photos, and have a listen to the audio from the April 16 CrossTalk show, below. 

All risen and ready to go into the oven! (Submitted by Alice Smith)

Cavelle Fudge-Winsor’s 10-year-old daughter calls these loaves ‘corona buns.’ (Submitted by Cavelle Fudge-Winsor)

Azinn Nouri made two pans of breakfast milk bread. (Submitted by Azin Nouri)

Valerie Brett-Westcott tried multigrain. ‘Smelled fantastic, tasted awesome,’ she wrote. (Submitted by Valerie Brett-Westcott)

Two loaves of Roger Gillard’s #quarantine bread. (Submitted by Roger Gillard)

The surge in popularity of baking has Robin Hood running out of its iconic yellow bags, which is why the company has started to use nondescript white ones. (Smucker Foods of Canada)

Sam Ryan had just taken these beauties out of the oven when he posted a photo to the CBCNL Facebook page. (Submitted by Sam Ryan)

‘Homemade noodles for turkey soup,’ wrote Sheila Bernetta. (Submitted by Sheila Bernetta)

Nine gorgeous loaves of fresh bread! (Submitted by Joanie Oates)

Maryam Hdr made a loaf of barbari, an Iranian flatbread. (Submitted by Maryam Hdr)

Traditional three-bun white bread is Bonita Hussey’s favourite. (Bonita’s Kitchen/Facebook)

But the discussion on all-things bread didn’t end last week. 

On the April 23 CrossTalk show, Ramona Dearing and artisan breadmaker Jamie O’Flaherty discussed making breads such as sourdough, which has numerous dedicated websites and resource blogs due to its current popularity. 

One of the show callers was even kind enough to send us photos of a treasured recipe, below. 

This is a recipe for Barkerville sourdough that was submitted by Donna Mitchell. She writes: ‘The bread keeps well in the freezer and makes wonderful bread for toast.’ (Submitted by Donna Mitchell)

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