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.

Sunday, 5 July 2015


Just 10 minutes in the oven at 220C

Bread dough:
200g (1 mug) white bread flour
1 crumbled stock cube
1 teaspoon curry powder
125g (1/3rd mug) lukewarm (handhot) water
1 good teaspoon fresh yeast (or level teaspoon dried active yeast)
25g sunflower oil (I used the oil from a jar of sun-dried tomatoes)

4 dessertspoon Pateole mushroom pate
1 dessertspoon vegan pesto (Meridian)
4 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped small
4 slices mushroom, 4 slices tomato

Thursday, 25 June 2015


Earlier this week, I made a leftover veg curry into a Thai chilli non carne by adding coconut milk, Thai curry paste, lemon juice and soy sauce, red kidney beans and chunks of seitan - it made loads!

I had it one night with brown rice, and the next night with pan-fried curried wedges. Still there was some left!

So I decided to use it as a pie filling,  and have it for dinner tonight along with mashed potatoes.

The pie

Pie 'n' mash!

More pie!
It's easy to make a simple pastry with just self-raising flour, water and oil - but, to the flour I added half a teaspoon each of bouillon powder and curry powder and added tomato puree to the water. The oil I used was poured from a jar of sun-dried tomatoes.

The mash was made with broccoli and cheese (Violife), plus 1/2 tsp bouillon powder.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015


Tuesday  23rd June 2015
Fun with chocolate spread today.

First we made a chocolate whirl:

Then we made a tear and share loaf modelled on  a 'Nutella' loaf:

Tuesday 3rd November
Today we made petit pain au chocolat - with three new students, this time. Unfortunately, I forgot to take my camera, so I have no pics of the lovely bread that they made - but hopefully others who did take pics will send them to me so I can include them here.

The session went well, with a great bunch of people and some very good support. Lots of potential from the new students - I'm expecting great things from them.

Next week we'll make something savoury - possibly sausage parcels.

Tuesday 28th October
1st (taster) session, making fancy dinner rolls with just the one student this afternoon. It was a gentle introduction into breadmaking with the MyDay team.

I've known the director of MyDay for well over 10 years, but we haven't seen each other in a long while, so it was really good to catch up. We have so much in common in our ambitions for the care of people with special needs - this is going to be a very special relationship, I'm sure.

ATM, I'm committed to two more taster sessions - one next Tuesday and one on Thursday. Then we'll see what take-up we get and go from there.

Here's the first batch of bread - fancy dinner rolls - made by the student:

He had some help with the shaping - but he had a lot of input into these rolls!

Wednesday, 17 June 2015


Making your own bread is one of the easiest and most satisfying things you can do when money is short. And, if you have your children to help you, it’s also a great deal of fun!

With own brand white bread flour at between 75p-£1.10 for a 1.5kg bag, three large (800g) loaves can be made for less than £1, depending on how your oven is heated:

"If you are considering buying a new cooker, remember that a gas main oven costs around 5p an hour to run, compared to an electric main oven, which costs about 17p per hour."   

Here are three ways of making your own loaves – one method takes an hour, hour and a half, or so; one will take you several hours; and the other, left to mature overnight, will take about ten minutes in the evening and the same in the morning – dead easy!

But it’s not just that you’ll save making your own loaves:
A decent-sized cheese and tomato pizza can be made for less than 80p!
A batch of hot cross buns for less than 30p! (Once you've made these buns, here you'll find the recipes for half a dozen or so varieties of fruit breads you can make - all delicious, and cheap!)

You’re a family of four with one banana – but you’d like a pudding. With a little chocolate spread, make a chocolate and banana loaf! It’ll cost you pennies. Check out the Banoffee bread variation, using a Mars bar – it really does taste like banoffee pie!

Anything made with pastry can be made using bread dough – containing no expensive fats, it’s both cheaper and healthier!

Got a jar of jam in your fridge? Then make some jam tarts, large or small – or make some healthy jam doughnuts. Perhaps you’ve some leftover mincemeat to use up – mincemeat doughnuts are wonderful!

Make a small bar of chocolate last all day by making a batch of pain au chocolat – chocolate rolls.

What about these apple and marzipan tartlets? Mouthwateringly good - and so simple to make! You only need an apple and some ground cinnamon and a little marzipan

While you’re making your pizza, double up the amount of dough and make four cheese and tomato/mushroom sizzlers (small bread wraps) as well – these are great for lunch boxes! (As is a slice of pizza – keeps fresher than a sandwich!)

There's more - much more - but I wanted to get this up and posted. Have a look around the blog and see what takes your fancy. Remember, you'll save money everytime you make something at home, rather than buying the finished product!

Have fun!

Yeast - fresh yeast (the best sort, IMO) can be obtained from any small baker (who bakes on the premises) or from a couple of supermarkets at the bakery counter:
Asda give it away 
Sainsbury's will charge I think it's 19p for 50g/60 for 200g
Morrison's will tell you it's in the chiller counters (it never is!), and,
Tesco's generally don't want to know!

However, all these supermarkets sell 125g of dried active yeast - Allinson's, in a yellow tin - for 64p, currently. For small batches of dough, use the same amount of dried as fresh - for larger amounts, use half the amount of dried to fresh.

Sachets of fast-action yeast can come in handy sometimes, but be aware it isn't 100% yeast, there are additives in there. Plus it's about 3 times the cost of the dried active. If you do need to buy some, get the own-brand version.

Flour. You'll get better results from strong, or bread flour, than you will from plain, although half and half works fine. I use own-brand white bread flour but I go for Doves organic wholemeal bread flour at £1.99 a bag. It's a very tasty flour.

Olive oil, if you can afford it, helps to improve the quality and keeping property of your bread. Lidl and Aldi basic brands score highly in tests and a 750g bottle will only set you back £2.20 or so and it lasts for ages.

I use basic ingredients - dried fruits, jam, cheapo grated cheese (I've never understood why this is cheaper than blocks of cheese - but it is!) and get fantastic results. Bread seems to bring out the best in other ingredients, somehow.

Maybe I'm biased! :)

(If you'd prefer, here's a 'Breadmaking for beginners' post to start you off.)

Monday, 15 June 2015


Saturday 13th June 2015

Dough made with bouillon powder and a little curry powder. Filled with a mixture of
mushroom pate, vegan pesto, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, roasted peppers
and mushroom and topped with pieces of the last three.
Thursday 9th August 2012

Bialys - Flat, round baked rolls topped with onion. Well, that's the traditional way of making bialys, but in the spirit of experimentation, I thought I'd try a sweet version as well.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

BREADMAKING SESSIONS with the Taunton Association for the Homeless (TAH)

In an attempt to keep me focused - and up-to-date with the weekly emails I should be sending to the TAH Education Officer, I shall post the pics from each session here and say a bit about the bread.

Tuesday 9th June 2015
3 students today; making chilli bread, a request from one of the students, and fruit buns (one student was not a chilli fan!).

Riley's chilli loaves - top, baked in the oven, bottom  (made with self-raising flour) done in the frying pan

Studded with red and green chillies

Fruit buns - made by Jess. Could have been taken out of the oven a little earlier
No recipe link for the chilli bread as yet, but the ingredients were:
1 cup bread flour
1 veg stock cube, crumbled
1 teaspoon fairly mild curry powder
1 red and 1 green chilli, seeded and chopped small
1/3rd cup lukewarm water
1 heaped teaspoon fresh yeast

It was very pleasing to hear that Riley has been making lots of bread since he started coming to my sessions. He told me he's now making his own loaves of bread - and giving them away to friends - plus chocolate rolls filled with chocolate spread.

Tuesday 26th May 2015
Lentil and potato parcels - pasties and parathas - today with three students, 2 returners and 1 new student.

So, one cup (approx 150g) of flour made 2 pasties and 4 parathas. Filled 

Tuesday 19th May 2015

Another busy session, perhaps the best yet - in that 6 students turned up in the end (which is just about the most that can be fitted in the kitchen).

I'd planned for everyone to make a loaf of bread, but one of them just wanted to make a soda bread in the frying pan, and a couple included dried fruit in their loaves. Once the bread was rising, 3 of the students made a fruit soda bread in the frying pan.

They've all indicated they want to return next week, and wanted to make pasties again, so that's what we'll do.

The pics:

Two fruited loaves and a cottage loaf

Wednesday, 20 May 2015


It's always an adventure, making bread with Matt at the care home I visit on Wednesdays. His 'go to' bread is always a 'snake bread' - with whatever ingredients we are using with the rest of the students

Today we were making Danish pastries, so we had some tinned apricots - and I always bring in marzipan, since that's such a favourite with Matt. 

Once he had made his sweetened dough, he rolled it flat and lined it with flattened marzipan, on which he placed apricots - then, for good measure, he sprinkled over some sultanas.

Matt's loaf is on the right - along with some Danish

Sunday, 17 May 2015


Tasty tomato pizza (Cost, around 70p)

150g (1 mug) strong white flour 7.5p
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp curry powder (optional)
100g (1/3rd mug) lukewarm water
10g fresh yeast 4p (from Sainsbury's - free from Asda)
25g sunflower oil from s-d-tomatoes (free)

Topping:Half a tin of tomatoes, reduced, with a tsp soya sauce and dried herbs - 20p
One sliced mushroom and tomato - 10p(?)
A little Roasted red pepper - 10p
3 s-d-tomatoes, chopped - 20p 
A sprinkle of nutritional yeast (nooch) and oregano - pennies 

TWEETING MY LATEST PIZZA (to #veganrecipehour and #realbreadcampaign)

I made a vegan pizza for dinner yesterday, and I wanted to tweet the procedure I used in assembling it. Just one pic of the finished product doesn't convey the whole story.

However,Twitter absolutely refused to let me upload pics from either my iPhone 5 or my MacBook; I kept getting this msg:

Uploading photo failed! Please try again later.

So, I'm going to pretend I'm tweeting from here!

Building a  pizza: H/m T/sauce&hummus w. asparagus and roasted red pepper   

Thursday, 14 May 2015

REAL BREAD WEEK (9-15th May 2015)

The week of 9-15th May 2015 is Real Bread Week, organised by The Real Bread Campaign when everyone is encouraged to make their own Real Bread.

Here's how the week went for me:

Monday 11th May
I was short of bread for myself - so I made this seeded loaf with toasted sesame seeds.

And I was due at a coffee morning on Tuesday, so I made a batch of 
Chelsea buns (plus a GF, vegan chocolate cake for a coeliac friend who attends) for a coffee morning.

Tuesday 12th May

My usual session at Myday services this week had been moved to Thursday afternoon, so I was able to get to Taunton Association of the Homeless much earlier - 3pm instead of 3.45.

Early as I was, I found one of my students already in the training kitchen, making some frying pan soda bread!

On the menu was a lentil and potato stew or hash, which we then go on to make pasties with, so we quickly got cracking with that!

We were soon joined by 2 more students who set to to make the dough for the pasties. Once these were shaped and proving, the 1st student made another soda bread in the frying pan - at the same time, teaching one of the other students, whose first session this was.

Lentil and potato pasties and frying pan soda bread