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.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016


Wednesday 10th Feb 2016

Wholemeal flatbread

I'd run out of wholemeal - but, rather than make a loaf as I usually do I thought I'd make a batch of rolls. I wanted some to give to a friend of mine who was always searching out vegan things for me to eat. At the same time, I thought I'd use the sandwich grill idea to make some yeast-risen bread for my lunch.

So I made the dough, kneaded it, and weighed off 200g. This I rolled out to the size of the grill and placed it on there with the heat on - just for a minute to help with the rising. I didn't put the lid down at this stage. I left it for about 30 minutes before putting the grill on to warm up. After a couple of minutes I put the bread in for 4 minutes - and the above pic is the result, half of which I had for lunch. Very acceptable.

The rest of the dough I made into a dozen rolls, placed them on a baking sheet and covered them with an upturned roasting tin. These were to be baked using the undercover, or 'cloche' method.

18th January 2016

Fruit soda bread
I'd been meaning to try this out for a while - so when my wife wanted something to eat with her afternoon coffee, I swung into action:

Switch on the grill.

Measure ingredients:
50g s/r flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 tsp mixed spice
50g sultanas
30+g water

Mix into a dough, turn out on worktop, knead for about 5 seconds, flatten out into a disc about 15cm across, place in grill.

This took about 3-4 minutes. Put timer on for 3 minutes.

After 3 minutes turn over for one further minute.


This method would also work for other flatbreads. I could imagine knocking out 4 naan breads in about 20 minutes, for instance.

Flour - 1.5p
Sugar - 1p?
Spice - 1p?
Sultanas - 8p

Total - say 12p

Sunday, 31 January 2016


I cooked 500g of dried r-k beans today, for the freezer.

They looked so lovely, whilst they were drying out prior to freezing them, I just had to share them with you!

1.171kg of pure wholesomeness! They not only taste good - but they look good as well!
I prefer to used dried pulses for several reasons:
Firstly, the cost. At £1.09 in the supermarket, these are great value for money.
Secondly, the quality is always consistent. That is, provided you turn over your stock so that you're always using 'fresh' beans.
Thirdly, you can use as many or as few as you wish. I tend to just grab a handful from the freezer and add them to whatever veg stew I'm cooking at the time.
Fourthly, they're environmentally friendly. Instead of approximately 5 tin cans, only one plastic bag is needed to package them. So there is less transport cost involved - 500g in the packet as against 2.4kg in the tins.
Fifthly, they are possibly healthier - although the jury's still out on whether tinned foods pose any health risks.

These instructions are specific for r-k-beans (no other beans need ten minutes vigorous boiling to remove the toxins).

Soaking, cooking and freezing:
Use a large saucepan to cook the beans. Cover with water and soak overnight - or at least 8 hours.
Refresh the water and bring to a rolling boil for 10 minutes, then reduce to a simmer until the beans are cooked. How long to let them simmer depends very much on how fresh the beans are. I've had beans that have been cooked after the initial ten minutes - others have taken 20 minutes or more - so I keep checking every few minutes.

When the beans are cooked, drain them and spread them out on a tea towel as per the above pic. If you do it while they are still warm, they dry off quicker. Transfer the beans into a freezer bag and freeze.  Whilst the beans are in the plastic bag, I spread them loosely over an oven tray to freeze them. Check after an hour and shuffle the beans before replacing them in the freezer. If you don't do this, the beans could clump together - but, freezing them spread out over the tray avoids this. I'm aiming to have them loose enough so that I can just grab a handful whenever I wish.

Sounds a bit of a faff, but it becomes routine after a few times.


30th January 2015
Tonight I thought I'd see how long it would take me to do 500 press ups. I started with sets of 15 every two minutes. This was fairly easy, so I dropped the recovery period to 1.30. I found this was still comparatively easy, so I did the last 100 in sets of 20. Took me 55 minutes altogether.

Next time I'll go for sets of 20 from the beginning, and have a gap of one minute between sets. This should bring my time down to under 40 minutes.

13th January 2015
Over the last couple of months I've been concentrating on just a couple of weight-bearing exercises - push ups and kettle bells, on alternate days.

I started at the beginning of November with my 9 x 6kg kettle bell exercises (4 sets of 10 reps) and just 30 push ups - 6 sets of 5, concentrating on getting my form as good as possible.

Now, with my 9kg kb, I'm doing 4 sets of 14 reps - and tonight I did 100 push ups in under 6 minutes - 5 sets of 20.

I haven't resumed my pull ups, yet, or my hand stand prep - but I will do very shortly.

My HIIT routine - 6 sets of 30 secs running on the spot in a swimming pool (4 foot depth) is going well. I can now do over 200 steps in each 30 second set consistently.

18th October 2015
In the summer I was diagnosed with a hiatus hernia (my fourth all told: 2 in the 1990s and one in 2008), so I've had to drastically curtail my exercise routines.

It’s now been a month since my successful hernia op and I’ve still got 11 days before I can resume my full exercise routine. All in all, it’s been over 3 months since I gave up any form of weight-bearing exercise. And I’m well aware that some of my muscles have lost a bit of tone.

However, I still have half a dozen or so different forms of exercise to keep me somewhat semi-fit:
I have a resistance band, which enables me to do five separate upper body exercises, whilst seated.
And a hand grip – 4 sets of 20 in each hand;
I do a lot of brisk walking;
I resumed my running on the spot in four feet of water HIIT exercise a couple of weeks ago after getting the all clear from my doc , and on alternate days I have an HIIT routine which involves swimming using the breast stroke, arms only, with my knees up to my chest;
I do 200 back and front back curls on alternate days;
I practice clenching my bladder control muscles every time I think of it – I have several post-it notes around the place to remind me. I can’t remember the last time I had to get up in the middle of the night for a pee;
To increase my lung capacity (I have a mild form of COPD) I hold my breath for long periods. I’ve had two PBs over the last couple of days – 2 minutes 45 seconds whilst sitting in the car in a queue of traffic; and 1 minute 15 seconds swimming under water.
Finally, I do a ‘titanium ankles’ routine (google it) which is practiced by free runners and parkour experts.
(The last three can be done anywhere – in a supermarket queue, waiting for a bus, etc.)

But I can’t wait to get back to doing my press-ups, pull ups and swinging my kettle bells around. I’m not sure, given my hernia op, that I’ll progress to a 12kg kb as I’d planned. I might just stick at the 9kg limit.

22nd March 2015
The ability to fast for long periods certainly makes my life a lot easier!

Twice in the last fortnight I've gone without food all day - because it suited my routine. (These occasions were separate from my weekly 24hr liquid only fasts [LOF] - since I'm practicing a 6:1 version of intermittent fasting [IF].)

A couple of weeks ago I - purely by chance - found myself teaching 4 sessions of breadmaking in the one day:

10.30am to 12.30pm teaching a group of students from Somerset College who were visiting My Day Services;
1.30 to 3.30pm my usual session with My Day;
3.45 to 5.15pm my usual session with the Taunton Association of the Homeless
6.00 to 8.00pm a one-off session with one of the YMCA youth clubs (there are three of them, with different age groups).

It was much easier for me not to eat - although I drank lots of water and black coffee - than to have to have organised three meals during the day.

I'm fortunate in that I don't feel any hunger when I'm fasting - it's pretty well been that way since I started.

And today, I was up at 8.00 am because I had a breadmaking workshop in Wells from 10-4.30 - about a 45 minute drive away. No breakfast means I can stay in bed that bit longer, and not having a lunch meant I could concentrate on the students and not worry about baking for myself. I finally ate at around 7.30 - giving me a 23 hour liquid fast.

Another of the changes I've noticed recently is that I no longer seem to awaken the 'hunger monster' when I nibble something. It used to be that if I ate anything whilst preparing a meal, for instance, I would have to continue chomping away until the meal was served up. Tonight I had a spoonful of the potatoes I was using in the Spanish omelette I was making  - and that was it, I didn't want anything more. Most odd!

I'm now well into my 12kg kettlebell exercises. Every other day, 4 sets of:
Right dead lift - 8 reps
Left dead lift x 8
2 handed dead lift x 12
Right handed swing x 12
Double handed swing x 12
Left handed swing x 12
Steering wheel x 12
Right handed lift x 8
Left handed lift x 8

On the other days I do my body weight exercises:
4 sets of 20 press ups with 8kg on my back
4 sets of chin ups - my record is 8, 6, 5 and 4 = 22

I started these last summer - but I wasn't going all the way down, I was keeping my arms bent. This last couple of months I've started doing them properly, and the progress is pretty slow. However, I'm definitely improving!

My HIIT routine is now 8 x 30 seconds running on the spot in a swimming pool (I have dodgy knees, so this is ideal for me) with 20 seconds recovery. I'm so used to doing this that I hardly get breathless - so I may have to find something else to stretch me.

As well as being motivated by GymBoffin, I’m inspired by this 95 year old bloke, who broke the 200m record for his age group a week or so ago. He has a TEDx video on YouTube, entitled ‪”Why bodybuilding at age 93 is a great idea‬”

Monday, 18 January 2016


Update - 13th Feb 2012.
Made 2 x 200g soda breads today (one, an Italian focaccia-type loaf), including a good glug of olive oil - they were gorgeous  with a lovely soft crust:

(Also: Fruit soda bread and Curried cheese soda bread)

(This is a very adaptable bread – you can put anything in it that takes your fancy!)

1 mug or 200g self raising flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/3rd mug or 125ml water

1. Heat the oven to 220C, 425F, gas mark 7 and prepare your baking tray.

2. Place the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. When the oven is hot, add the water and begin mixing with a table knife or similar.

3. Mix together into a soft dough, stirring and cutting through the dough as it forms, adding more flour or water as needed. Turn it out onto a floured worktop, firmly mould it into a round flat loaf, about 3cm thick and place it on your prepared baking sheet. (With practice you can get the mixing and shaping done in less than two minutes.) To allow the heat of the oven to reach the centre of the dough more easily, cut a deep cross into the top of the loaf with the knife.

4. Bake in the centre of the oven for around 20 minutes, but check after 15.

5. The loaf is ready when it has a good colour underneath and a skewer comes out clean – or it ‘breaks’ cleanly. You may need to put it back in, upside down, for a few more minutes. Place to cool on a wire rack and – for a softer crust – wrap the bread in a tea cloth.

Fruit soda bread:
At step two, instead of the salt, add 1 dessertspoon of sugar, half a mug (100g) of dried fruit and a teaspoon of mixed spice.

Curried cheese soda bread:
At step two, along with the salt, add half a mug (100g) of grated cheese and a teaspoon of curry powder.

Italian soda bread (see pics, above)
At step two, after the water is added, pour in a good glug of olive oil (2-3 tablespoons?) then proceed as per the recipe;
Then, if you wish to make it into a focaccia, at step four, after the dough is mixed, give the dough 3 or 4 flatten and folding actions, then roll out into a circle about 1.5-2cm thick. Press holes in it with your fingers, then fill the holes with olive oil. Make sure you use a tray with a lip to contain any oil that spills over.
Bake as above - the olive oil disappears just as the loaf is baked! I always get a kick out of that!

These amounts make a small loaf – for a larger loaf, just double up the ingredients and bake for 25-30 minutes.
If you only have plain flour, you’ll need to add baking powder  - 1 teaspoon for each 100g of flour, or 2 teaspoons for a mug full.
You can also make these breads with wholemeal or spelt flour.

In a frying pan:
Roll or squash the loaf into a flat round and bake it in a dry frying pan with lid (use a baking sheet if you don’t have a lid) for about 6-7 minutes on each side on medium heat.

Here's how I made this frying pan bread in only 13 minutes!

And, my new record, bread made in a sandwich toaster in only 8 minutes!

Monday, 11 January 2016


(Makes 6-8 doughnuts and up to 10 chocolate rolls)

2 mugs (or 400g) strong white flour
2 dessertspoons sugar
2/3rds of a mug (or 250ml) lukewarm water
1 rounded teaspoon fresh yeast
Splash of olive oil (optional)

A jar of jam (the thicker, the better) and 10 or so squares of decent eating chocolate
Sugar glaze
Sugar for sprinkling

1. Measure the water and stir in the yeast. Place the flour and sugar into a mixing bowl and pour in the yeast liquid. Add the oil if using.

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 (starting with the yeast first, to dissolve it properly), 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. Doughnuts: Form the dough into a cob shape. Have plenty of flour to hand and scatter flour over the dough and worktop. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a large circle. Using pastry cutters, cut out 16 circles. Place 8 circles on a prepared baking sheet.  Place half a teaspoon of jam in the centre of each circle (not too much or the jam will leak out). Now cover the jam with the other circles, pressing down all round the edges . To seal properly, pick up the doughnut and squidge the edges together firmly – as if you were feeling your earlobe!

5. Pain au chocolat. Knead the scraps of dough back together (add a teaspoon of water if it looks too dry – you need the dough soft to keep the chocolate in!) Divide the dough into 10 pieces and press the chocolate gently into the middle of each piece. Squidge and pinch the dough together around the chocolate checking for any gaps. Place smooth side up on the baking tray.

6. Cover and leave to prove until they have grown appreciably in size. Bake at 220C, 425F or gas mark 7, for about 15 minutes.

7. Whilst these are baking, make a sugar glaze with a dessertspoon of sugar and two dsps of boiling water. When the rolls are done (look for colour underneath) brush them with the glaze straightaway. With the doughnuts, sprinkle with sugar while the glaze is still wet.

Sunday, 10 January 2016


9th January 2016

I've said elsewhere on these threads that fasting has made me pretty zen when it comes to food - and I proved it again today.

It was the monthly meeting of Taunton Humanists - 2nd Saturday in the month at 12.00 midday - in the Winchester Arms, Taunton. We hadn't been here for a while, and the pub was under new ownership.

I would have liked something to eat, but, despite having 5 choices of soup, none of them were vegan! They all had either cream, or, bizarrely, honey, in them. My goto meal in the average British pub is generally chips, mushrooms and beans, but the pub didn't have any of these! They had sweet potato chips, but I decided eating could wait until I got home.

For a late lunch I fried up a field mushroom and made an omelette from gram flour, spread with hummus and with the mushrooms. Simple, quick and absolutely gorgeous!

Dinner was homemade pizza (dough made with hot paprika) spread with Pateole mushroom spread and either pesto or hummus - plus sliced m/rooms, tomatoes, roasted red peppers and sun dried tomatoes. I had this with curried potato wedges.

While the oven was on I made a fruit loaf a la Swedish tea ring, but instead of spreading the rolled out dough with oil and sugar, I mixed some apple puree with leftover mincemeat and spread that over the dough. Rather than roll it round into a ring, I left it in a log shape, just tucking the ends in.

7th January 2016

I began IFing almost 4 years ago - after losing 24lbs in weight practicing 5:2 (eating normally for 5 days and fasting on the other 2).  I've now been maintaining my weight by using 6:1 - and on the day I fast I generally don't eat for 24 hours.

Today was a fast day (FD) - I ate last yesterday at 6pm and I've just had black coffee and water today. We're going out to dinner with some friends very shortly, so I won't eat until the starter arrives, which will be around 7.30 or so.

From the beginning I've considered myself very lucky in that I don't get hungry on these fasts - not at all. In fact I have in the past fasted for 48 hours and still didn't feel any pangs of hunger. Of course I drink a fair amount of water to keep myself hydrated.

I've had a great day - I always have so much energy generally, and even more so on FDs. I teach breadmaking, and this morning I had a Family Learning class with 11 families, in a lovely school in Bridgwater -Hamp Primary School.  12 children made pain au chocolat, mincemeat doughnuts and fancy dinner rolls. Then, this afternoon, I had a couple of students making de luxe Chelsea buns - de luxe in that, when the dough is rolled out, it was spread with mincemeat instead of oil and sugar, before being rolled up and cut into buns.

I then followed this session with a visit to my garage, then I did some food shopping for the weekend, returning home about 5pm.

After only 6 hours sleep last night, I was now knackered - and, since I wasn't going to be eating for another 2 hours or so - I did what any sensible person would do, and had a short nap.

To the pub about 6.30, and I ended my fast, and quenched my thirst with a pint of real ale - Barnsey, made in Bath.

Had a couple of pints+1/3rd of a bottle of Merlot with my risotto - which was OK.

On return home I treated myself to a couple of Crepe Suzette with a dash of Tia Maria.

I reported this on the latest Mumsnet 5:2 thread and received this advice:

Alcohol during / right after a fast removes health benefits

...which I wasn't aware of! :(

I'll know better next time.

Friday, 8 January 2016


(Not be confused with these.)

No, these are your traditional Shrove Tuesday pancakes, mostly sprinkled with sugar and lemon juice.

[I've put my latest, thoroughly tested, recipe in a separate post.]

I first made these a couple of years ago, and now they’re a firm family favourite every Pancake Tuesday – and occasionally, in between!

The recipe I initially followed I found on this thread on the BBC Food boards, but I’ve played about with it a little, since:

200g self raising flour
30g sugar
100ml soya milk
250ml water

These are every bit as good as the traditional ones which contain eggs.

It’s another illustration of how we are often in the grip of traditional recipes handed down by our forebears. My mother certainly always used eggs in pancakes, just as she always used eggs in sponge cakes.

I never imagined you could make pancakes without eggs – until I made one. Similarly I never thought sponge cakes could be made without eggs – until I began making them.

As a vegan I’m very happy to spread the word that you can dispense with eggs in these recipes – it’s not just the animal cruelty issues (male chicks are gassed at birth, for example), but for those on a restricted income, with the price of eggs these days, it’s a huge saving. 

Tuesday evening, 21st Feb.

I've been away for a couple of days and only just got back a couple of hours ago. I wanted to do an experiment - I hadn't made these since last year and I remembered I'd simplified the recipe, but I couldn't find anything written down.

So I made them to the above recipe - and they turned out fine. The mixture was a little thick, so I added a little water to get it to the consistency I wanted.

Then I made another batch leaving out the soya milk - but increasing the water. Once again the batter was thicker than I wanted, so I added more water.

And again, they were fine! I had them with sugar and lemon juice and they tasted just as I remembered pancakes tasting.

I'd need to have a side-by-side tasting to see if they're as good as the traditional recipe - but, without that, they were excellent.

So here's my amended recipe:

200g self raising flour
30g sugar
380ml water

Whisk together and start frying over a medium heat with a little oil. Adjust with extra water or flour if the batter is too thick or too thin. Makes about 10.

Wednesday 22nd Feb.
Felt the need to make another batch today - I wanted to be more accurate with the liquid.

I initially increased the water to 400ml (which pleased me, since this gave a ratio of 2:1 water to flour), but still found that a little thick - so I increased it again, this time to 440g.

And this was just about right. These pancakes are gorgeous, IMO, but I needed a second opinion so I popped one over the fence to see what the neighbours thought.

5 minutes later there was a knock on the window to hand the plate back and give me a report. The mother and two sons both thought they were 'real' pancakes and thoroughly enjoyed them. The mother was very surprised to learn it was basically flour and water - and summed up her impression of them by telling me I should get a patent on them, they were that good!

Friday 24th Feb.
I've now tried them without the sugar - makes no difference that I could see.

So we're left with only two ingredients - flour and water!

Tuesday 28th Feb.
Been making these for the past week, and I've decided that the batter could be a little thinner - so I now make them using:

200g self raising flour
600ml water

Monday, 14 December 2015


[This is a work in progress - but I'd better hurry up, 'cos Xmas is coming fast! :(]

Vegans obviously have different requirements at Christmas, and, in my experience, have rather unconventional Christmases. The big difference, of course, is the content of the Christmas  roast dinner. Not for us the turkey, gravy, pigs in blankets, Yorkshire puddings, etc, so we look for alternatives for these things.

Being vegans, we’re well used to thinking outside of the box, and we can ring the changes ad infinitum on our Xmas dinner. The last couple of years I’ve made a vegan haggis Wellington – and this year I’m contemplating stuffed mushroom en croute, in a brioche crust. There are many other delicious alternatives, of course. Nut roast often figures – for those not keen on nuts, sunflower or other seeds can be substituted. Enrich the dish with mushrooms, sweet chestnuts, sun-dried tomatoes, etc. I’m not a fan of gravy, so instead I make a rich, spicy tomato sauce (using sun-dried tomato paste).

It’s possible – and, indeed, very easy - to make a vegan Xmas cake. But, in our house, even before I become vegan, this cake would still be hanging around until well into January – partly because everyone has had a surfeit of goodies over the festive period, and partly because it’s not very interesting, IMO.

However, this Christmas loaf, made with a bread dough, is not only delicious and easy to prepare, it’s festive to boot!

There’s also the issue of chocolates and sweets at Christmas time. We don’t want to miss out when these are handed around, so we hunt them out – and when we (I) find them, we (I) put them to one side (hoard them).

ATM, Lidl has several goodies on sale, but these will disappear after Xmas - so I'm busily hoarding these to have in the New Year.

Dark Chocolate Gingers
Chocolate Kegs (liqueurs, with brandy, not Advocaat, obviously)
Dark chocolate covered marzipan with pineapple
There are other goodies - spicy biscuits, etc, but these all contain palm oil, which I avoid where possible.
Year round they sell 100g bars of Fairtrade vegan dark chocolate - 70% cocoa content.

Another chocolate which is both vegan and Fairtrade is Co-op brand dark chocolate - £1.00 for 150g - but this is only 52% cocoa content.

The only sweet biscuit I've come across recently that is both vegan and doesn't contain palm oil (that isn't from a sustainable source), is Nairn's dark chocolate chip oat biscuits - which are not too sweet. They also make a very nice ginger biscuit.

Both of these lend themselves very well to be half coated in melted dark chocolate. As a treat, at Christmas, I love 'em!

Friday, 13 November 2015


This is where I shall post all about the workshop - my planning, the letter to the students, how the session went and any pics I (or the students) take.

After the letter went out I had a call from the centre telling me there was another student enquiring about the course. This student ran a pub and made all his own bread - not only that he was a trained chef! He was wondering if I had anything I could add to his repertoire.

After a short conversation on the phone, after I told him we could make several breads that weren't initially on the programme, he said he'd like to come along.

Here's the programme I've designed, just for him. (Now I'm really looking forward to the workshop!)

Dear student

Here’s my suggested alternative programme for you for Saturday – hope it meets with your approval!

1. Italian soda bread (soda bread focaccia)
2. As the rest of the group
3. Apfel kuchen (German apple cake) and Schiacciatta con l’uva (Italian fruit loaf) with a demo of hot cross buns
4. Ciabatta
5. Pane casereccio (stuffed rolled pizza)

As to the extra ingredients:
The focaccia needs olive oil and rosemary - dried is fine
The  apfel kuchen needs an apple – a decent sized eater will suffice – cinnamon and sugar
The  schiacciatta just needs a good handful of seedless grapes
The ciabatta just needs olive oil
The stuffed pizza needs 100g cubed Cheddar, chopped mushrooms and cherry tomatoes

Given your experience, as far as possible, I'll let you get on with it (with the recipes, of course!), while I look after the beginners in the class. IMO, you're going to be a real asset to the group - I'm sure you'll be a great inspiration.

If there’s a variety of bread you’d like to have a go at instead of the ones suggested, don’t hesitate to get back to me.

Regards, Paul

09/11/2015 Here's the letter that goes out to the students:

Breadmaking made easy workshop, Burnham, 14/11/15

Dear Student,

(This should be read in conjunction with the Course Information Sheet - you should already have a copy of this. The list of ingredients and equipment is a little different, so please have a look at that.)

This letter sets out what I intend will happen during the day and includes a list of items which you will need in the session. If you are new to breadmaking, let me reassure you that it is much easier than you may have been led to believe. It is indeed, ‘easy peasy’! Oh, and it’s also a lot of fun, as you’ll find out!

The session will begin in a relaxed fashion – the first thing you need to do is to find somewhere to park all your stuff, get yourself a drink and a chair to sit on round the tables in the middle. There is some necessary paperwork to fill in (bring a pen if possible), but it won’t take long and I’ll guide you through it.

Before we start breadmaking I’d like to spend some time finding a little about each other, and what you expect to get out of the day’s session so that I can better meet all your expectations.

We’ll be eating lunch around 12.30-1.00, and everyone will make their own.

Here’s the programme for the workshop as it stands:

1.     Soda breads – choice of plain or spicy fruit loaf
2.     Fancy dinner rolls or shapes+bread wraps (lunch)
3.     Fruit dough for hot cross buns and Chelsea buns
4.     Focaccia
5.     Cheese and tomato pizza

If there is time we could also make some petit pain au chocolat – depends how everything goes on the day.

I have a blog, which I call “No bread is an island”, in which I write about – among other things – my teaching practice. On there I have started a post, “Breadmaking Workshop at Burnham”, which will contain all (most) of what you need to know about the course:

There’s not a lot on it, yet, but here’s a post about a breadmaking workshop at High Ham village hall, which will give you an idea about how the workshop will go:

I have several aims for this course, one of which is that everyone should enjoy her or himself! Another is that everyone will make good bread. I’ll bring along tea and coffee at 20p a mug. You may want to bring your own mug

I'm sorry if this all sounds a bit daunting. Please let me assure you that it will all fall into place quite easily. If you have any suggestions, (or concerns) at all, please don't hesitate to contact me, I'm always very happy to talk to my students about bread.

Finally, can I draw your attention to the word ‘Companion’? The ‘com’ part means together – as in community – and the ‘pan’ part of the word means bread. So ‘Companions’ are people who make bread together! Which is what we shall be doing this Saturday!

Best regards,

Paul Youd (Course Tutor)

Shopping list:
(I’ve simplified this a bit from the list in the course information sheet.)
1 bag (1.5kg) strong white flour
50g fresh yeast if you can find it – I’ll have some with me if not
10g baking powder
100g granulated sugar
Sesame/poppy seeds
200g dried fruit
Mixed spice
250ml olive oil
100g cheese (for pizza and lunch)
2 tomatoes
2 mushrooms
Tomato topping for the pizza – tomato puree is the easiest to transport. Or make up your own topping
Dried herbs
Small bar of your favourite chocolate 

You will also need to bring:
Several tea towels, both to cover your dough whilst it's proving and to wrap any warm bread in to take home.
Baking paper or parchment (stops the bread sticking to the oven trays)
Something to carry away the finished products (a large basket or cardboard box lined with tea towels would be ideal)
Mug for hot drinks

You can also bring the following items – but they’re not essential:
Kitchen timer (if you have one)
Set of measuring spoons
Any favourite cooking utensil – sharp knife/scissors are always useful