It's humble, comforting, sustaining, one of the most basic forms of cooking and - in the time of COVID-19 shut downs - has literally become the bread and butter of several Wollongong businesses trying to survive.
Awarded chef Andy Burns has started selling loaves of sourdough out of his Keira Street restaurant Babyface Kitchen, after all eateries became take-away or delivery only from Monday.
"Our bread has been on the menu for a while, so we just continued doing it," he said.
"I thought I'd bake six extra loaves on Sunday when we heard about the shut down, and I put it on Instagram and our regulars came and bought it all straight away.
"It's something we can offer that's unique, that we can do every day, and it might offer some comfort to people in this uncertain time.
"With bread, there's a skill to doing it properly, and there's something so simple and satisfying when you get it right."
He is selling a small number of huge loaves, made over 24 hours in the Babyface kitchen, with a pat of rich organic cultured butter left over from his kitchen stock.
The baking has also offered comfort to Mr Burns and his family in a "surreal, terrifying" time, while they work to restructure their dine-in restaurant to become take-away.
"It's so many years of working so hard," he said. "I'm just concerned for everyone; there's been so many people in tears.
"Seeing my friends go through this, and our staff, who have been so amazing - we've had to make so many hard decisions, and then they were made for us when they announced the closure."
Mr Burns said he was working on a take-out service, offering "dinner for two" and was also speaking to his fresh produce suppliers about offering boxes and groceries and wine for sale.
Also on Keira Street, at Lupa Pizzeria, owner Luca Battisti has been wanting to sell bread from the pizza oven for a while. He said the coronavirus crisis gave him an urgent imperative.
"This is something we were planning anyway, but we were always very busy in the night," he said. "Now obviously the night is quiet, so we've been able to do the bakery.
"We started before the rules about takeaway-only came out because we thought, as soon as the situation came up, we could offer a more essential product to the community."
With paper signs on the window turning the pizzeria into a morning bakery, he is selling wood-fired bread, as well as pizza by the slice, focaccia, deli products and home-made pasta to takeaway.
"We also made some fresh frozen bread - which is helpful for older people, who can store it and use a slice for toast," Mr Battisti said.
Emma Miller, of Millers Bakehouse, said she was continuing to work in her wholesale bakery and delivering to the cafes still open around the Illawarra.
On social media last week, the socially-minded baker said baking was about more than just making food; for instance she hoped her childhood foods, like a chocolate babka, could bring people warmth and joy.
"Part of what I enjoy about baking is the comfort it brings when times are a bit tough, not only from the eating, also from the process," she said.
On Tuesday she wrote: "As someone who has given everything I have to hospo over the last 24 years, my heart breaks to see it being decimated almost overnight."
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