No bread is an island

...entire of itself. (With apologies to John Donne!)
I live and breathe breadmaking. I’m an evangelist who would like everyone to make his or her own bread. I want to demystify breadmaking and show it as the easy everyday craft that it is. To this end I endeavour to make my recipes as simple and as foolproof as I possibly can.

I call my blog 'No bread is an island' because every bread is connected to another bread. So a spicy fruit bun with a cross on top is a hot cross bun. This fruit dough will also make a fruit loaf - or Chelsea buns or a Swedish tea ring...
I'm also a vegan, so I have lots of vegan recipes on here - and I'm adding more all the time.

Monday, 15 September 2014


Monday 15th September 2014
Made a gluten-free version of this tonight, for tomorrow's coffee morning. No walnuts so I replaced them with  flaked almonds.

This time I baked it in the microwave! 

2 reasons for this:
1. Six minutes in there as against 30+ mins in an oven at 180C - talk about saving the planet!
2. And it rises about 25% more in the microwave than it does in the oven.

Also, if you're in a hurry, the microwave wins hands down!

I shall attempt to make a coconut cream topping for it in the morning.

[Pics to come]
31st August 2012

165g s/r flour
200g sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground ginger
80g grated carrots
70g chopped walnuts
80g vegetable oil
220ml water


       Preheat the oven to 180C

       Measure the flour, sugar, spices,carrot and walnuts - stir to distribute 

       Add the oil and water to the mix and stir – initially with a large spoon or spatula, then with a whisk
       Pour in to an oiled and lined 20cm (8” inch) baking tin or cake tin
       Put in the oven and cook for between 35-40 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean
       Leave on a cooling rack in the tin for ten minutes
       Turn out on to the cooling tray

The only way I’ve found not to gorge on this cake is to, as soon as possible, cut it into, say, 50g pieces, then put them in the freezer. This way I can allow myself one piece per day.

Variation: For a gluten free version of this, simply use Dove’s gluten free flour in place of the flour

PANE AL CIOCCOLATO (Italian chocolate bread)

Monday 15th September 2014
Making one of these for my coffee morning tomorrow:

200g strong flour (1/3rd wholemeal)
15g cocoa powder (about a dessertspoon and a half)
2 dessertspoons sugar
50g dates - chopped into quarters
60g dark chocolate - chopped roughly
25g walnuts - chopped into quarters
25g flaked almonds
100g sultanas - soaked for 30 minutes in hot water - use the water for the yeast liquid, but make sure it has cooled sufficiently
100ml yeast liquid made with 20g fresh yeast and 80g of the soaking water
50g olive oil (I used Lidl's Extra Virgin, which is all we have - but any olive oil is fine)

As below, except I added all the ingredients before mixing - with the sultanas now weighing 137g.

Mix into a dough and knead gently, as you don't want to smear the fruit, then go to 
step 6 below.

(Pics to come)

29th May 2012

These were made in one of my Adults with learning disability classes. A couple of them included flaked walnuts. And there's a bit more cocoa powder in the darker ones. 

200g strong white flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 dessertspoon cocoa powder
125ml lukewarm liquid
1 dessertspoon fresh yeast
2 tbs olive oil

100g good dark chocolate, chopped roughly
50g chopped prunes

1. Measure the water and stir in the fresh yeast to dissolve. Place the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl, pour in the yeast liquid and add the olive oil.

2. Have a little water to hand to add if necessary, remember, it is better for your dough to be wetter (slack) rather than drier (tight). Begin to mix by stirring the ingredients together with a knife, cutting through the dough. When it gets too stiff for the knife, use your hand to squeeze the mixture together. As it forms into a solid mass, keep turning it over and pressing it down to pick up the flour at the bottom of the bowl – but make sure it stays soft. Don’t be afraid to add more water to keep it soft! When all the flour has been mixed in, wipe the bowl around with the dough, turn it out onto the worktop and begin to knead.

3. Knead by stretching the dough out, folding it over, stretching it out and so on and so forth. Do this until it is smooth – and stop before you get fed up!

4. Leave to prove for about an hour on your worktop, covered with a dry tea towel. Or place in an oiled plastic bag until you are ready for step 5.

5. When you are ready to proceed, place the dough on the worktop and press out into a flattish square. Place the chocolate and prunes on top of the dough and fold the dough over. Gently knead the dough to spread them evenly throughout.

6. Shape the loaf by pulling up the dough at the sides with your fingertips and pushing it down in the middle; do that all round the dough. This will have the effect of smoothing the underneath of the dough. Then turn it over and shape it into a round. Place it on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment.

7. Leave to prove until it has risen appreciably. Then bake at 220C, 425F or gas mark 7 for between 15-20 minutes. It is done when it is browned underneath. If your oven is browning the top of the loaf too fast, cover with foil or baking parchment.

Try adding other dried fruits at step five, such as dates or apricots.

Friday, 12 September 2014


One of the reasons I first began intermittent fasting (IF) in February 2012 was evidence that fasting had some effect on cancer cells. It was the reference to prostate cancer cells being susceptible to fasting that provoked my initial interest!

The evidence suggested that, whilst fasting, the body’s cells go into repair mode – but invasive cells (cancers, tumours) are neglected and become easier to treat.

Since then evidence continues to accumulate that this is so – but in my experience, the research is disparate and scattered.

I wanted to bring any research that I have come across into one place; to which I can refer any friends and relatives who may know someone with cancer – unfortunately all too common an occurrence latterly, it seems to me.

These articles are all available by searching online, of course. However, the purpose of this post, apart from bringing much research all together, is also to link to forums which will give support to anyone deciding to fast, and will also advise on the different fasting regimes – of which there are several.

Intermittent Fasting
The best resource I am aware of concerning Intermittent Fasting – and one of the most supportive is this forum 

It has many members actively searching for the science behind Intermittent Fasting and posting the results here

There is a lot of science and research on the forum  - putting ‘Fasting and cancer’ in the search box brings up 250+ results.

Another supportive forum is on the Mumsnet website. The first thread was begun the day after the Horizon programme which brought Intermittent Fasting to the attention of the British public. The latest thread (12th September 2014) is Nr 57.

Also on the site is a research thread full of Tips and Links – well worth looking through.

Monday 21st April 2014
Dr Miriam Stoppard, in her health column in the Daily Mirror had this to say about Intermittent Fasting (I've tried to find this online, but it doesn't appear to be there yet):
"I'm keen on Intermittent Fasting. It's very efficient and doesn't only help you to lose weight, it also prolongs your life.
"It works by increasing your sensitivity to insulin - a very good thing - so it controls your appetite and gets rid of cravings.
"It protects you from heart disease and diabetes, too, and should you need chemo for a malignancy (heaven forbid) it makes your tumour more sensitive to the treatment programme. 
"All in all, a good thing."

(My italics)

 I shall add to this post as and when I come across other research on the subject.