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.

Tuesday, 7 July 2020


[This post was updated after every 10k training run. From now on I shall be giving daily updates as I work through my challenge - which begins on the 21st. These are to be found towards the foot of this post. I'm now up to day 7 - and I'm now 5k ahead of schedule!]

I'm 82, I'm vegan, and it's my intention to run 100km to raise money for food for the rescued animals of Dean Farm Sanctuary. Animal sanctuaries are not immune from feeling the effects of Covid-19 - one of their main ways of raising money is by their open days - but these have necessarily been put on hold - for the foreseeable future. So, any money you can spare for the animals would be very welcome - and much appreciated. You don't have to donate through my efforts - there is a donate button on the Dean Farm webpage - but of course, any money you donate through me will only give me more motivation. Thanks.

If you wish to donate, click here - my GoFundMe fundraiser.

Or, if you'd rather donate through Facebook, click here.

This is my initial pitch, through Facebook:
Over ten days from the 21-30 June 2020, 82 year old Paul Youd intends to complete a 10km run, every day, to raise funds for the 200 residents of Dean Farm Trust animal sanctuary.

Paul took up running, from literally a standing start, at the end of March, wanting to put the lockdown to good use and to come out of it with a new skill. “I wanted to challenge myself and do something to help the rescued animals at Dean Farm Trust. They do such amazing work to rescue animals in need and they are really struggling at the moment, with many of their funding sources affected by the Coronavirus. Running was something I could learn from the safety of my home. I measured out a 20yd track around my small back garden and began on the 30th of March, running four stints of a quarter of a mile each. One mile = 88 laps.

He took it steadily, building up to a 2 mile run. Twelve days into his training, and after just 17 days, he’d completed his first 5km run. By the 28th day, he had run three 5kms; at the end of the 6th week his best was 8000yds, 400 laps, or around 4.5 miles; and 11 days later, on the 22nd May, he did a run of 9000yds, 450 laps, or 5miles + 200yds.

Feeling no ill-effects from his running - on the contrary, feeling as good as he’s ever done - Paul decided, on the strength of this, that he would be able to challenge himself to run 100km and raise £10 for every kilometre ran. [Since then, because of the overwhelming support I was getting, I've increased my target to £3000.]
“Since I began running, just 7 weeks ago, I’ve had no aches and pains - apart from a bit of stiffness if I sit too long. Whenever I’ve completed a run, I’ve always felt there was more in the tank - I’m pretty confident I can meet this challenge!”

Please support Paul and sponsor if you can – every penny will help the animals at Dean Farm Trust.
Want to join me in supporting a good cause? I'm raising money for Dean Farm Trust and your contribution will make an impact, whether you donate £1 or £500. Every little bit helps. Thank you for your support.

Update no. 1: 29/5/20:
Many, many thanks for everyone's support!! I find it hard to believe I've reached my initial target in just two days. Since this fundraiser still has a month to go, I can see I'll have to raise the stakes even higher. So, watch this space.๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ’š

Due to the amazing support I - and Dean Farm, let's face it - have received, I've now changed the target amount of this fundraiser to £3000. So, got to get busy and share, share, share!!

[1/6/20: I've been contacted by a Spanish Animal Rights Activist - Joseph De la Paz, who has very kindly written up my fundraising efforts in his online magazine - POSITIVEGAN. I've had a look at some of the pages - there's a wealth of content there - and what I've read has impressed me greatly - please have a browse around yourselves.]

Training update no. 2: 1/6/20
Thank you to everyone for your continuing support! I continue to make progress with my preparations. I now have 2 x 10km runs under my belt - my plan is to run 4 x 10kms, 4 days apart, then a further 3, 3 days apart, and finally 3, 2 days apart, before I start the challenge on the 21st. In between, I'm mixing things up, with all out 1/4 mile, half mile and mile runs; doing flat out HIIT sessions, where I run like mad for 20 seconds, rest for 10 and repeat that 6 times in all. And one of my 10km runs I'll turn into a 10 mile run. Have to say the weather is playing its part - it's no hardship to drop out of the back door, do my stint, then come back into the kitchen for a cold drink. Once again, thanks for your support.๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ’š

Training update no. 3: 4/6/20 - countdown, 17 days to go.
First of all I want to thank everyone for their continuing support - it really is heartwarming. Thank you all, very much!
My run today resulted in 2 personal bests, both in distance covered, and in time taken. Long story short, I did my 3rd 10k this morning, and I feel my training is right on track.
However, if you’re interested in detail - I’ve got you covered!
There's no doubt about it, I love round numbers! Last night I did 1000 press ups, on my way to my goal of 1 million before my 90th birthday, and this morning I ran 12000 yards - 600 laps round my back lawn.
Two of the things that I find are encouraging about my running are the ability to push myself in the later stages of a run; plus I always feel I can manage to keep going, when I complete a run.
Today, I was initially aiming for a 10k run - 550 laps - so, at 500 laps, the question I asked myself was, have I got enough in the tank both to push on a bit faster, and also do the extra 1000 yards? I decided to go for both.
I was 20 seconds ahead of even time (which is 10 seconds per lap) at the 500 lap mark, and, by the time I’d completed the 10k, by upping my pace a little, I’d gained a further 20 seconds. I kept this in hand, until, with 20 laps to go for the 600, I felt good enough to put it a sprint finish. In those last few laps I gained another 20 seconds, finishing about 61 seconds under even time.
I find that, and the fact that, so far, I’ve suffered no aches and pains - apart from a slight stiffness if I sit too long - very promising. I’m attributing all that to plant-based nutrition. Talking of which, I’ve just made a vow to myself to cut out all junk from my diet from now until after I’ve completed my challenge. No biscuits/cakes/sweets/junk food/processed food, etc. Just a whole food, plant-based diet, as recommended by Dr Greger.

Training update - 14 days to go.
Another good training run today - took three and a half minutes off my time with my 4th 10k. Now a couple of days where I'll do several short, faster, runs, then my next 10k is on Wednesday. Might do a bit more than 10k - I've promised myself a 10 mile run before I attempt the challenge. We'll see.
My thanks to all my contributors - I'm pretty sure we'll reach that target, with your help.

Training update - Wednesday 10th June - 11 days to go.
Thanks for the wonderful support Dean Farm has received so far! I'm delighted to report that my training is still going well. I brought forward my 5th 10k run planned for today to yesterday - the forecast wasn't good for today - in fact, it's raining now.
I kept very much to even time (10 seconds a lap), right through, but felt able to push forward in the last 40 laps so that I finished 23 secs inside.
My plan was to do a 10k every 3 days, up to the week before I start my challenge, then run every other day. But the weather looks pretty wet for the next few days, so my planning is a bit up in the air ATM. There may be a window tomorrow morning, but, we'll see.

Training update - Friday 12th June.
Felt really good on my 6th 10k run yesterday, taking a couple of minutes off my previous best. From the start, without consciously pushing it, I was running ahead of time, and I did the 10k about 4 minutes under even time. Still feeling good, I carried on for an extra 75 laps - or 1500 yards. So that was 625 laps, 12500 yards, or just over 7 miles - my longest run yet. Looks like there's another window tomorrow morning - but my worry is that the track I use might be getting muddy with all this rain about. Had a quick check of the week beginning the 21st and, and the weather looks like it might be OK.๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ’š

Training update Saturday 13th June.
Perfect conditions for running this morning, cloudy with breaks of sunshine. Once again I felt pretty good, running at just under even time, so that by the 10k mark I was about 1 minute ahead. Still feeling OK, I decided to press on for a bit - eventually right up to 704 laps, 14080 yards, or 8 miles, another PB. I again managed a sprint finish for the last 360 yards, pulling back another 20 seconds!
I'm now resting on in-between days, so my next run, a 10k+, is set for Monday - weather forecast looks OK. Plan now is to do a long run - 10k or more - every other day until I begin my challenge Sunday the 21st June.

Training update - Monday 15th June.
The weather was indeed, fine for running this morning - sunny with a few clouds. Just 10k this time, and a PB, taking nearly two minutes off my previous best. From the start I felt in fine fettle - and, without any conscious effort on my part, I was consistently running about one minute under even time for every mile. Now only 2 more training runs before I embark on my great adventure!
I have received so many good luck messages, I'm bound to succeed.

Training update - Wednesday 17th June.
Overcast, coolish conditions for my penultimate training run this morning, meaning there was no need for a hat, or suncream, which was very welcome. No PB today, my run was a bit slower than last time, only finishing 30 seconds ahead of even time. However, for this run, I wanted to do a bit extra, and when I reached 10k, I continued on for a further 2k - 660 laps in total. I felt that I could still have carried on, but, mindful of the task ahead of me in just 4 days, I left it there. Still no aches or pains - WFPB nutrition rocks!

Training update - Saturday 20th June.
This is my last training update - the real thing begins tomorrow, and today I'm resting up. Yesterday, for the first time, I had to curtail my run - I'd got up to 362 laps, or about 2/3rds of a 10k, when it began to rain. It was only a shower, as it turned out, but, wishing to keep the track over the lawn as dry as possible, I quickly protected it with an assortment of black plastic sacks. So, not the 10k I'd promised myself, but still a longish run - and now my preparations are complete. It only remains to be seen whether my body will be able to cope with the strains I'm about to subject it to.
I will be taking my inspiration from the courage and determination of Fiona Oakes, " a high achiever who runs for the benefits of others and not myself, failure is not an option. To fail would be to let the animals down, to miss an opportunity to promote veganism in a positive way and to show that anything and everything is possible to achieve without the harming of others."

And we're off!
Day 1: Saturday 21st June.
Thank you, everyone, for the amazing support; both for me - and the animals, of course. And so it begins - 10k down and 90k to go!
After taking away all the bin liners, plastic sheeting, etc, from my track (pretending I was removing the covers at Lords in preparation for a One Day Cup Final between Somerset and Lancashire whilst doing so), I had to hurriedly replace them when an unexpected shower struck. But finally, the sun came out, and when I began, just after 3pm, conditions were just about right - the track was in good shape and the weather was sunny with a few clouds, and it wasn't too hot.
The run was fine, as I expected it to be - after all I've been running every other day, so this was just another one in the sequence.
I took it easy, bearing in mind the advice I had received on The Athlegans page, when I first mentioned my challenge - 'Timing isn't important, whereas finishing is', something like that. I kept pretty much to even time - never deviating more than 15 seconds ahead or behind, and I finished 11 seconds over - 1.31.51, which was fine with me. As I've done on all my previous runs, I still felt I could carry on for a bit. We'll see if I'm still saying that later in the week. Hope to do most of my runs in the morning - weather looks set fair for the next week at least.๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ’š

Update 22nd June, the second day of my challenge.
It was a sunny morning with a few clouds, and it wasn't too hot - perfect conditions for running. I felt good from the start - and running seemed easier than yesterday. I was always ahead of the clock (I calculate even time at 10 sec per lap) and I found myself steadily building up a cushion without even trying. I finished up over two and half minutes faster than yesterday - still with a spring in my step. With just 4 laps to go, I was 2.26 ahead of even time, but, thinking two and a half minutes would be better, I sprinted the last 4 laps in 34 seconds, finishing the 10k in 1.29.08 - 2.32 ahead of even time. So far so good - now it's 2 down with 8 to go.

Day 3: Tuesday 23rd June, the third day of my challenge:

Different sort of run, today. I felt fine, and ran comfortably throughout, but decided, halfway through, to dispense with a timer. Up till then, I’d timed every minute, or 6 laps, on my iPhone - but, because it’s old and the battery is knackered, I have to strap it to a power pack. Together they weighed 400g, so it was a bit of a nuisance. When I stopped timing, I was 30 seconds ahead, but finished exactly on 1 hour 35 minutes - 3 minutes 40 behind even time, which is fine. And then, freed from the tyranny of time, I could concentrate on counting the laps - and the many milestones I pass on the way. I’ve been asked if I find it boring, just going round that small track - but, not a bit of it. I count and calculate all the time. My mind is a mishmash of yards and metres. I celebrate 44 laps - half a mile; 50 laps - 1/11th of the distance; 55 laps - one 10th. I mark every mile and often half miles; every 50 laps is one more 11th; 275 laps is halfway and 300 laps is 6/11ths - ‘I’m over the hump, now!’ When I get to 400, I start to anticipate the finish, and every 10 laps is noted. So, 400 means 150 laps left - but 401 means I’m into the next decade of rundown - only 149 laps left. Over 450, and the target is now in double figures. Then it’s 495 - 9/10ths, followed by 500 - 10/11ths. Finally, 525 = 21/22nds. When I finish, after my stretches, I wind down with a Medjool date and a banana. Looking forward to tomorrow.

Day 4: Wednesday 24th June.
A hot day was forecast, so I was up at 6.30 to get an early start. As I have been doing since I started my challenge, I glugged down 125ml of beetroot juice, a la Dr Greger. His advice is that it takes around 2 to 3 hours to take effect. I waited for an hour before I began, figuring the beetroot juice would begin to kick in about an hour into my run - which is when I would probably need it the most. I took it steady to begin with, and, as I got into my stride, I settled into a bit of a rhythm. I wasn't timing myself during the run, so I just ran at a pace that felt comfortable. And I was feeling pretty good. There were even several times during the run when I felt I could run forever. I finished with a time of 1:33.11, almost 2 minutes better than yesterday.
When I came in from the run, I needed the loo, so I used the one upstairs. (Using the downstairs loo is like taking the lift at work!) As is my wont, I belted upstairs, knees pumping, feeling no ill-effect from my run. I figure running upstairs, flat out, as part of my HIIT routine - more about that tomorrow. Not long after this, I found myself dancing round the kitchen to a favourite tune - absolutely full of energy! And here's me thinking I would start to feel worse as the week went on - instead I'm feeling stronger!
Day 5: Thursday 25th June.
As I said yesterday, I thought, when I first planned this challenge, that the runs would get harder as the days went by. But, not a bit of it! Turns out I'm feeling stronger every day. So much so that today I ran 11k instead of just the 10. Not only that, I was feeling so good that I thought I would increase the pace a bit. So I completed the extra 1k (55 laps) in 8 minutes 49 seconds - whereas the average time for 55 laps during today's 10k was 9.33 (1:33.05). This used to happen when I was doing my training. I always felt able to increase my pace in the last 50 or so laps. Moreover, when I've finished whatever distance I'd set myself, I always felt I could do more. This is now becoming apparent in my 100k efforts.
So, 51k down, 49k to go. (But will I content myself with just the 100k? Watch this space!)
I hinted yesterday that I'd say more about my exercise regime. Ever since I saw the BBC Horizon programme on HIIT, I've tried to incorporate some into my routine. Prior to starting my challenge, I used to do running on the spot - 20 seconds flat out, 10 seconds rest, x 6. But only spasmodically. What I did stick to, and have been doing it regularly for the past 32 months are press ups. I challenged myself, at the age of 80, to do 1 million press ups by my 90th, and I've been doing 10,000 a month - my total now is 326,000, and, at this rate, I should complete the 1 million before I turn 89. And I've also got a 9kg kettlebell that I swing around - every 5 days or so. I take the view that my health is my responsibility - and I take it seriously.

Day 6: Friday 26th June.
I wasn't expecting to run this morning, anticipating rain overnight, but when I woke up at around 7.30, the sun was shining - and the track was dry. But, no time for any heroics today since I had a Zoom meeting at 10, discussing veganism! So I went straight out, without my usual beetroot juice. And it didn't seem to matter, since I had a comfortable run, finishing in 1:30.40. These morning runs feel like the new normal - at one time I thought to myself, 'There's nowhere else I'd rather be.' What am I going to do when this is all over?
I'm definitely feeling stronger and fitter, so tomorrow I can choose, either to push for a faster time, or run a bit further. We'll see.
Rain is forecast overnight, so I've got some protection set out again for the track. Might have to run in the afternoon, which will be a bit strange. 
Day 7: Saturday 27th June. 7 days down and 3 to go.
Showery day, today. Checked the forecast and decided 11.30 would be a good time to start, so I downed a shot of beetroot juice at 9.30. And I did indeed start out as planned. However, with only 251 laps completed (out of 550), down came the rain - with a vengeance. I got soaked as I scrambled around pulling the covers over - but I went for my iPhone first, which is my timer, and also plays my music. I checked my phone when I got inside, and found the timer reset to zero - so I have no idea how I had been doing. I had been running freely, so it would have been a good time.
The rain only lasted about 20 minutes, giving me time to change my clothes. When I began again, I initially just intended to finish the 10k I'd started earlier, but...I thought, I've no idea where I was time-wise, why don't I just go on and do a 10k from here? And that was the plan right up until it threatened with rain again, when I had got to lap 526. This, plus the 251 from earlier, gave me a total of 777 laps for the day, which I'm going to call 14k. Along with the 61k I'd already recorded for my challenge, that gives me a very satisfying 75k in 7 days - with 3 more days left in June.

Day 8: Sunday 28th June. 8 down and only 2 to go.
Sunny and cloudy, this morning - quite a bit chillier, as well, but, good conditions for a run. So I was up at 6.30, quaffed a shot of beetroot juice - and waited an hour before I set off. I was on my favourite, anti-clockwise, circuit, and I had a good run. When I was training for this, I often threw in a couple of fast laps - sort of mini-fartlekking - every now and again, or I'd often run the concrete path part of my track a little bit faster. In fact, when I'm on the anti-clockwise run, earlier in my challenge, I had to stop myself from belting up this part of the circuit. But today, to start with, for sure, and at certain periods during my run, I let myself go for a few laps. So I finished in a decent time - just 2 minutes under evens. And, as ever, I always feel as if I could continue. I didn't today, since my family are concerned I'm going to do myself an injury if I do too much.
So, 85k down, and two days to go. I'm really enjoying this. Oh, and I don't know if I mentioned this before, but I have a friend in Minnesota, who is tracking my runs, and doing a 10k every day, just as I'm doing. He told me this morning I'd inspired him to think about doing a marathon in the fall! 
Day 9: Monday 29th June - the penultimate day, and another 12k in the bank. Total, 97k in 9 days.
Early start again, and I prepared as I usually do, starting off about 7.45am. Very chilly today, so I ran the first 200 or so laps wearing my fleece. Even so, good conditions for running - and I didn't have to mop my brow even once - literally not breaking into a sweat! I had decided I would extend the run by another 2 kilometres, today, so I took it easy - but even so I was surprised to find I was over 4 minutes behind even time at the 10k mark. Maybe because it was cold, and I was running in my least favourite direction, I'm not sure. I swapped directions when I started the 2k - and did the extra 110 laps in a much faster time. Paradoxically, as I progressed towards my target of 110 laps, the running got easier, so, by the time I finished I was really going well. Respective times were: Average of 9 minutes 40 seconds a kilometre, during the 10k; versus 8 minutes 52 during the 2k.

Day 10: Tuesday 30th June. This is it! The denouement! The finale! The climax! Finally, I have reached the target of 110k - just 93 days after starting my running career. I celebrated by having a cup of cocoa with two Medjool dates and a banana. But tonight, I may let myself go and properly celebrate with a bottle of real ale - or maybe two! Before I give my final update, I'd like to thank my darling wife for her amazing forbearance - both for my disappearing for long periods - and for making a mess of the back lawn!
Lots of rain in the forecast for today, but last night I thought I identified a window between 5.00am (first light) and 7. So I rose at 5 and was out on the circuit by 5.20. It was dry for about the first hour - when at lap 365, about 6.5k in, it began to rain. I ignored it at first, but it got a bit heavier, so I stopped and covered up the track to prevent it getting muddy. However, it stopped after about ten minutes, so I cleared away all the covers and started again. It was dry for the next fifteen minutes or so, then the rain returned - but this time I kept going, realising that the state of the track would no longer matter after today. The rain was only light, so it was no real hardship to continue - knowing that if I did stop, I'd have to do it all again, later today. I completed the first 10k in my slowest time yet - 1:40.26, which was not surprising, I guess. I went straight into the final 3k, which took me another 28.20, and it was raining pretty much all the time. However, it wasn't cold, and I felt in no discomfort.
So, my great adventure is over! 93 days since I first donned a pair of running shoes (TBH, an old pair of trainers I'd had for donkey's years!), I had just run 110k - over 66 miles - in ten days!
I had tried running, over 40 years ago, but my knees became so painful I had to give up after about 6 weeks. This time, apart from a slight stiffness if I sat too long after my first few 10k runs - which no longer happens - I have felt not the slightest muscle ache, pain or twinge - nothing! TBH, I'm amazed. I attribute this to my whole food, plant-based nutrition. I even, throughout these last ten days, gave up all cakes, biscuits, sweets, etc, and tried to eat as healthily as I could (the two bars of Green and Black's dark chocolate I received for Father's Day - thanks, Emma - don't count, do they?).
So, what now? In my speech, given at the conclusion of the 2019 Bristol Animal Rights March, I referred to my 1 million press up challenge (elsewhere on this blog), jokingly saying that, when I'd completed it - possibly in 2025/6 - I might turn my attention to marathon running. Well now, marathon running is, not exactly in my comfort zone yet, but I could certainly envisage myself attempting a half marathon at some point. Whereas, just 93 days ago, this would not have featured on my horizon in any way, shape or form.
I began running, a couple of weeks into lockdown, with the intention of coming out of it with a new skill. That was my goal - I just wanted to put the time to good use. But I made such good progress that, after a little over 3 weeks, I ran my first 5k, after 8 weeks, my first 10k. It was then that I suggested to Dean Farm that I would like to run do a 10k for them as a fundraiser. But my progress continued to be so rapid that I very quickly realised that I would be capable of much more than that, so I upped the challenge to 100k over ten days, and, as you've seen, I was able to increase that to 110k.
So my question to you, dear reader, is: What could you be capable of, if you just put your mind to it?

Reflections 1 - facts and figures:
93 days from start to finish
254km (158 miles) covered in training, or 13970 laps
110km (68 miles) doing the challenge, or 6050 laps
364km (226 miles) in total - 20030 laps
39 hours, approx time spent in training
17 hours, approx time spent in the challenge
56 hours in total

Couch to 110k in 3 months - not bad, eh?

Monday 6th July.
Today I ran round 880 laps of my garden - the 10 miles I've been promising myself since I began running exactly 100 days ago - and 3k beyond my previous longest run. I took it easy to begin with, doing the first 550 laps - 10k - in an average of 10.9 seconds a lap, then decided, since I was feeling pretty good, to up the pace a little. So my time for the last 330 laps averaged 10.7 seconds a lap. However, with the last 100 or so laps to go, my thighs started to feel very heavy, so I slowed back down to a bit of a plod. Encouragingly, after about another 50 or so laps I started to rediscover some spring in my step, but, not wishing to push my luck, I maintained my plodding gait until, 5 laps from the end, I managed to put in a (slowish) sprint finish. I could have gone on, I guess, but I think I'd just about reached my limit. I needed the loo, but, when I came in, I didn't bound upstairs to the toilet as I generally do, since my legs were very achy - first real muscle ache I've experienced. But I felt very satisfied - shattered, but happy!

Saturday, 6 June 2020


Friday 3rd March 2020
Another milestone reached, today - I've now completed 300,000 press ups - in just over two and a half years! Almost, but not quite, 10,000 a month. If I do 12,000 this month, I'll be on that track, and should achieve my goal a little early - at age 88 and four months. However, I'm still keeping fit, and healthy and strong, which was the other part of my goal. [Finally caught up with my target at the end of May - 32 months since I started, cumulative total 320,000]

Sunday 9th February 2020
Today I managed over 100 press ups in one minute - full story further down. Don't imagine they were all done with perfect form, but I'm working on it.

Sunday 4th August 2019
Today I was filmed doing my 1000 press ups in the centre of Bristol, by 'Friendsnotfood', an animal rights activist film-maker. It took me just under 40 minutes, as usual, but I found it a bit more difficult, doing it in the sunshine. I moved to some shade about halfway through.

And a couple of weeks ago I was filmed mucking about on the London Tube doing some chin ups.

I filmed 40 press ups - about 4 times, to try and get it right - uploaded it here - and now it refuses to play! Back to the drawing board :(
Very strange - I'll try again, of course, but in the meantime, I've managed to upload it to Facebook - so here's a link to that.

Number 2 in the series - My Fitness regime. My 9kg kettlebell routine. (Once again, the above video won't work on here, so I've linked it to my Facebook page.)

Every 3 days I do my kettlebell exercise: 
20 reps of the nine different exercises you see me doing here. Then repeated once more. The whole exercise takes less than 15 minutes, with a 5 minute gap between the two routines.

[Still not working - I'll post it on Facebook, then link to it from here. My kettlebell film on Facebook]
The story behind this challenge:
I turned 80 in September 2017, and, to provide some motivation to keep pushing myself, I decided I would challenge myself to see if I could complete 1 million push ups between my 80th and 90th birthday.
I worked out that if I did 2000 a week, 700 every other day (2000 x 50 x 10 years), I would reach my goal. 

However, after I'd begun, I thought I needed to get some 'in the bank' as it were, just in case I had an accident or something, and couldn't do the push ups for a while. So I upped my total to 1000 every other day. I've now been going just over 6 months - when my total was around 70,000. So my target is so far well within reach. At my present rate of progress, barring accidents, it's possible I could achieve 1 million p/ups in well under 10 years - I did 14000 in March 2018, for instance.

27th September 2019currently aiming for 10,000 a month

Oh, and I'd also like to be able to do 100 perfect press ups in 1 minute - that's my immediate goal.

20/1/19: I've now settled on a weekly routine, prioritising my press ups. So, Sunday - press ups; Monday - chin ups; Tuesday - kettlebell exercise; Wednesday and Friday press ups, with Thursday and Saturday being rest days.

As an aside, another reason I'm doing this is to show that vegans can be strong and fit into old age - should I ever get there! ;)

[Caveat: I have a rolled up towel on the floor, which I touch with my forehead on each dip. It's probably about 7-8cm thick. Gradually, I've been unfolding the towel - so my press ups are closer to the ground. Which is why, last time I tried it, I only managed 74 press ups in one minute. 
And now, in the last month or so, I've been just folding the towel and pressing my face into it. However, that's not every press up - tonight (29th Oct 2019) when I was going for how many I could do without stopping, they were all full press ups. When doing my set of 20 every minute, I'm doing them all as full press ups - until I get tired then first 15 as full press ups, and the other 5 not going all the way down. I calculated that 900 of the 1000 were full press ups.]

My efforts have come to the attention of a wider audience - here's an article about my 1 million challenge. It's been picked up by Plant Based News, and Somerset Live, an online newspaper - and I even got a mention on the Great Vegan Athletes Facebook page, which is crazy!

Saturday, 9 May 2020

My Daily Bread (2)

For almost a day I thought I'd lost the contents of this entire post - extending from the beginning of May to the beginning of November! 

I entered the last couple of day's activities and clicked on Publish. It hung up and I clicked on it a couple of times with no effect. Then I hit the reload button on the URL line - with the result that I lost the entire post! All I had was what was in Clipboard.

I went on and bemoaned my fate - And Riocaz came to the rescue.

Here's the resuscitated thread (thanks a million, Riocaz):

(Apologies for the different fonts and unexplained gaps - this all happened whilst I was rebuilding the post. I'll sort it when I get time. In the meantime, I'm starting a new 'My Daily Bread' post very soon.)

Rather than have separate threads for every event in my working week, and all the breads I make at home, I thought I’d try having one post in which I’ll chronicle all my daily bread adventures.

(To keep this post on the top of the page, I shall date it a week or so in advance.)

I’ll post any recipes I mention separately and link to them as soon as they’re up on the blog.

Here's the link to the first My Daily Bread thread. It was getting rather long, so I thought I'd start another one.

Saturday 5th November.
In preparation for my day with the Occupy Bristol folks, I spent the afternoon making 6 different breads in the frying pan - soda bread baps, sausage and mustard parcels, two types of lidded pizzas, chocolate spread doughnuts and mincemeat doughnuts. Story and pics.

Friday 4th November.
Last session of my Family Learning course today - made Sausage parcels and jam doughnuts. In the afternoon I made some bread rolls for dinner at my fortnightly care home.
Tuesday 25th October.
Terrific session this morning, making 30+ pizzas with some youngsters - in my 4 small ovens, this time, rather than in the pizza oven I've been using at Halcon.

This was an Activity Day, run by the Priorswood Community Centre which is just a shop in the middle of a row of shops. But there is an overhang in front of the shops, which meant we were able to site three tables outside for the preparation - the ovens were all inside, of course. The weather played its part with brilliant sunshine all morning. (Lucky, 'cos it poured all afternoon!)

We started slowly, with 4 youngsters in the first half hour, but it built up and at one time I had 8 pizzas in the oven, with 5 proving! We were hoping for about 24, so we exceeded our expectations - and I only slightly singed one pizza, so that was an improvement! None of the participants had made bread before, but they all went home with a recipe and instructions to 'pass it on'!

Thanks to Rebecca and her team which provided me with great support - supplies of coffee, lots of washing up, standing by the ovens, etc. I couldn't have done it on my own!

It was also really useful to have all the activity taking place outside on the pavement, since passers-by couldn't miss us. Great publicity for the centre - and for breadmaking.

[Links to pics to come, hopefully]

Monday 17th October.
I've started volunteering in a local Family Centre, working with parents of young children. They do a different activity each week, and this week it was breadmaking. We had 4 families - 3 of them new to breadmaking. Each family made a batch of dough which was formed into a multitude of shapes. I'd forgotten my iPhone, so I couldn't take any pics - which was a pity since one of the mothers made a brilliant spider!

Later on I had my last evening class at Burnham, making a Christmas loafand a pane casereccio. This turned out to be a session with a difference!

The fuse blew on my 4 ovens, so that suddenly, halfway through the session, we weren't baking!

Full story on my Burnham evening class post.

Friday 14th October
Super session this morning. Most of the school had gone on a trip, so my Family Learning session was cancelled. Instead I was asked to teach ten reception class youngsters. It was a terrific session with great support from the TAs and the class teacher.
The youngsters were very keen to learn and got well stuck in – literally in one or two cases!J

Beginning whilst I was demonstrating how I put a batch of dough together, the teacher began drawing a schema of the process. I was so impressed with this I told her I was pinching it for my blog. Here it is:
It's easy to see from this that 1 mug of flour, 1/3rd of a mug of water, a little salt and a teaspoon of yeast are all that's required to make a batch of dough. Each child then had half a batch to work with.

These diagrams are very effective - combined with spoken instructions, of course

The children paired up with each pair making one batch of dough which they divided between them. Each child then made their own shapes which were then left to prove, then baked:
The six rolls at the bottom were made from my demo dough - and left for the staff.
I found it extremely liberating to work in a part of the school I don’t see very often, and work with some wonderful children and such dedicated professionals. The youngsters really enjoyed themselves, and I came away feeling quite uplifted. I consider myself very fortunate to do the job I do!

Thursday 6th October.
I was keen to make one of the breads that had been suggested on my The Fresh Loaf - crackers! This, in the original recipe, was made with a sourdough and took about 7 hours to prepare. We made ours with a simple, quickly made bread dough - and they turned out pretty good, even if I do say so myself! [Pic to come.]

The recipe we followed included poppy  seeds and sesame seeds - both in the dough and sprinkled on top (after brushing with oil). 

My colleague Emma, who supported me in the session, was so impressed with them that she declared she was going to go straight out, get herself a pizza cutter, and make these at home with her daughter.

We only made two trays of these - we could have made a lot more , since each batch of dough would have made 4 trays of crackers - and made fancy dinner rolls with the rest.

In the afternoon session we made iced buns.

Tuesday 4th October.
Wow! Nearly a week since I updated this post. Trouble is, I've got so many posts I want keep to up to date - my class at Burnhammy top recipe for studentsstudents' portfolio, my chiminea exploits, etc, that this one takes a bit of a back seat.

Plus I started this thread on 'The Fresh Loaf' forum, where I'm also  a member. They take breadmaking very seriously on there, and I wanted to inject a little levity and show that bread just wasn't about loaves and rolls. Trouble is, if you sign up to receive a daily email from those guys, you get notified of about 50 or more contributions - which all need to be looked at! And before you know it, an hour's gone by! I have to be careful not to open the email too often!

So, this thread gets neglected. What I'll endeavour to do now is to put any latest info on here - then go back and try and fill in the gaps.

For dinner tonight I made a pane casareccio stuffed with roasted veg, pesto and passata - plus a sprinkle of nutritional yeast. (Pics to come)

Monday 3rd October.
3rd session of the five week course at Burnham. 6 students all came early and got straight into making Apfel kuchens and Tartes Alsace. They've all enthusiastically taken to breadmaking, with one of them, Rosemary, vowing she'll never make another cake or buy a loaf of bread. "Breadmaking's got it all," she said, "Mug of flour, some salt, water and yeast for a savoury dough; use sugar instead of salt and you've got a sweet dough. Add other things to it and you can make anything!" Not having a computer herself, she frequently visits the library to - among other things - check out this blog!

Hi Rosemary!

Thursday 29th September.
Croissants - made with margarine straight out of the fridge - and focacciain the first session:
Ken (one of  the support workers) had a lot to do with these - much neater than the ones I did!
Brushed with a sugar glaze 
The margarine was very soft, so it leaked out quite a bit during the rolling out - much better to freeze whatever fat you're using, first. Never mind, I was told they tasted gorgeous! 
And Vicky's focaccia
In the afternoon session Matt wanted curried Chelsea buns with cherries - Eric made mushroom parcels (stuffed with Phili and pesto) - and Guy and Will made cheese rolls

From left to right - cheese rolls, Chelseas and stuffed mushrooms
Wednesday 28th September.
Today has been a brilliant day - at times exhilarating! It's my birthday, and I've been indulging myself all day with the lovely vegan treats that my family provided for me. Bars of chocolate, spiced biscuits, ginger cake, chocolate covered marzipan - but best of all was a vegan chocolate cakethat my wife made for me whilst I was out at work on Monday evening. She doubled up the recipe and I came home to two large cakes - one of which has gone in the freezer, and the other one, well most of it has gone inside me! This recipe really makes a splendid cake!

The exhilarating bit came when I took advantage of the wonderful weather we've had today - 25/26C and a cloudless, sunny day - to bring out my chiminea again. I made 5 pizzas in double-quick time and really think I've cracked it!

Pics and more story of today's breadmaking to come.

Absolutely magic day - I'm nursing a warm glow, ATM!

Monday 26th September.
2nd session at Burnham - students progressing well, no longer looking like beginners. Photo's are not great - sometimes they're a bit of an afterthought as we have to get a lot done in the two hours!

Friday 23rd September.
2nd session of my Family Learning session - loaves and rolls, plus pain au chocolat and iced buns. 

In the afternoon at my fortnightly care home we made these large jam tarts:

Blackcurrant jam tarts - went down a treat!
Thursday 22nd September.
banoffee pie (banana and Mars bar) calzones, plus a sesame and poppy seed loaf in my first session:

And 4 batches of apple turnovers - one of them curried, with glace cherries alongside the apple and sultana filling! No pics since I was in a hurry to get away.

Monday 19th September.
Session with a difference this afternoon. I went to meet a group of young mothers to talk about early development (another of my passions), and began by making pizzas together. 

Then later I began my evening course out at Burnham with 6 students, 4 women and 2 men. None of them had made bread before - except one of them had a breadmaker - and were all suitably impressed with the whole procedure. They each made a fruit soda bread and a batch of fancy dinner rolls. "You've made it so easy," one said - almost accusingly! Another said she was put off by the length of kneading she thought that bread required.

Thursday 15th September.
2 contrasting sessions at my weekly care home today - in the first session everyone made pesto and pepper loaves, and in the second session each student made a different bread.

We made dents in the dough with the back of a teaspoon, placed half a teaspoon or so of pesto in the holes and covered them with roasted peppers.
This shows the pesto under the pepper. The crumb isn't bad for a bread that was made in about 1 and a quarter hours.
The rest of the focaccias. I like pesto and bread, but it does tend to creep about a bit and become a bit messy.

The four different breads by the second groups of students. 
 Guy made the focaccia, without pesto - just to use up the jar of peppers. The 4 wraps on the top right contained glace cherries and grapes and the dough had dried fruit and curry powder in it - Matt again! Eric made the fresh fruit salad loaf bottom right,  - a fruit dough covered with leftover fruit salad. It's a cross between a schiaciatta con l'uva and an apfel kuchen! Finally, Will made the potato pizza top left with leftover potatoes and some grated cheese.

Friday 9th September.
Had 5 breadmakers in my session at my fortnightly care home, and together we made 5 chocolate and sultana loaves.

Thursday 8th September.
Experiments with courgettes today in the first session in my Thursday care home. I've known for years about the popularity of courgette bread - especially in the States (just google 'zucchini bread'!), but I've never made it before - thought it was time I did.

So, with 6 students we made:
Belgian buns - both with and without grated courgette.
Chelsea buns - without
3 focaccias - one plain, one with courgette and one with grated courgette with the skin left on, so bits of green were visible through the loaf.

Those who sampled the sweet breads could  find no difference between them. However, the focaccia with the courgette (no skin) had a better flavour than the plain focaccia. I didn't get to sample the other one.

Focaccias, Chelsea buns and Belgian buns
 In the afternoon I only had three students, Eric, Guy and Matt. Eric and Guy made chocolate and banana bread (Eric had some raisins in his dough) and Matt made a curried loaf with grapes and cherries and two chocolates from a box of 'Heroes' inside, with grapes on top of the loaf.

Inside Matt's loaf - couldn't immediately find the chocolate!

Friday 2nd September.
I wanted to make a couple of 'Birthday loaves' for some friends of mine (twins) who've reached the grand old age of 70.

It's going to be a richer version of my Christmas loaf:

To that end I've been soaking some dried apricots in Benedictine for the past fortnight. 

It wasn't a smooth operation - I got several things wrong which turned what should have been a couple of hours job into a 2-day job!
Fortunately for me, due to the forgiving nature of bread and bread doughs, all ended well.

Here's the full story (including pics).

Thursday 1st September.

Sizzlers - cheese and pepper or mushroom wraps for my first group today. In the afternoon Matt was disappointed there were no marshmallows in the cupboard as he wanted to make the same as last week (see August 25th) so he made curried Chelsea buns - the other students made chocolate twists:

Wednesday 31st August.
My sister-in-law, daughter and grandchildren came to visit for the day - and, amongst all the other activities going on - table tennis, swimming, etc, the kids all wanted to make bread.

2 wanted pizza and one wanted to make pain au chocolat 'Because they're my dad's favourites!'

Here they are, 3 enthusiastic breadmakers - Millie aged 12, Ethan aged 10 and Keane aged 3:

Concentrating on mixing the dough

Keane is dividing the dough using his hand as a knife - he's certainly a switched on 3-year-old! Millie has just rolled out her pizza and Ethan is just kneading his dough. Pic taken through the window!

And here's what they made:

Great stuff - a good time was had by all!

Thursday 25th August.
Blow me down if they didn't want pizza this morning in the care home! Just the bog standard cheese and tomato. In the afternoon Matt wanted to make another curried loaf with glace cherries - but there were none to be found. Never mind, said Matt, there's some marshmallows here! So he made curried marshmallow and grape bread! 

The rest made jam tarts with tinned peaches (with a bread dough, of course!)

Wednesday 24th August.
The last Halcon Fun Day firing today - I had the pleasure of welcoming my mate Terry (otherwise known as 'Crannyfradock') to Somerset for the day. He looked after the oven whilst I was able to concentrate on the pizza making. Full story here.

Thursday 18th August.
Chocolate and beetroot bread this morning. Beetroot bread is another one of those breads that every time I make it I realise I should make it more often. Smooth, soft and spongy bread always results - it just lifts the bread to a higher plane!

(Memo to self: Next time I make a vegan chocolate sponge I'll include some beetroot!)

One of the care workers, Sam, made a chocolate swirl loaf - sweetened bread dough rolled out, spread with chocolate spread, rolled up and shaped into an 'S'. No beetroot for Sam - she really dislikes all vegetables!

In the afternoon, Matt made a curried 'Celebration' loaf using peach slices, cherries and grapes. The others made the same - only minus the curry!

Wednesday 17th August.
Another fantastic day with the Dragon oven! Between 45 and 50 pizzas (we sort of lost count a bit) in 2 hours and 32 minutes!

I'm really getting the hang of the WFO - one of the pizzas took 40 seconds!40 seconds! I couldn't believe it myself.

Pics and full story on the Dragon thread.

Monday 15th August.
Off to the cricket this evening, so I thought I'd take some pizza (which meant I had to make pizza for dinner for everyone!). Myself and my daughter wanted vegan pizzas, whilst my wife wanted a potato pizza and my granddaughter just wanted cheese and tomato:

Granddaughter's and wife's...

...and mine and my daughter's
I also wanted to take along something sweet to snack on, so decided to make a chocolate spread (vegan), glace cherry and walnut plait. I'll post a link to this soon, but basically the plait was made with three tubes of bread, each containing those three ingredients. Pics of this to come also.

Thursday 4th August.
Found some marzipan in the cupboard so I thought we'd make someChristmas loaves - well, at this time of year I'd better call them 'Celebration' loaves. They're still colourful and bright! 

These are filled with marzipan and glace cherries so that each slice is full of colour 
Later on we made some cheese and potato pasties - plus Matt had remembered the curried grape loaf he made last time, so that's what he wanted to make again.

Bread pasties filled with curried cheese and potato

Matt's curried schiacciata con l'uva
Wednesday 3rd August.
Another 47 pizzas today - with many youngsters away on a trip. Once again a great time was had by all - and I'm really getting to grip with the WFO (at last!).

Wednesday 27th July.
Made 60 pizzas in the Dragon WFO at the local Fun Day - I was only expecting to make about 30! Bit hectic - well, a lot hectic, but it was hugely enjoyable! I've put the story up on the Dragon thread and I'll post pics as soon as I can get round to it.

Sunday 24th July.
Had a lovely email from Keith, my student/assistant at last Wed's demo for the IAM:

[Tried to upload the pic and keep getting 'Server rejected' message! I'll keep trying!]

Managed to get the pic on Picasaweb and bring it over from there. However, I couldn't rotate the pic as I wanted. Still a good looking pair of loaves, Keith! 

Saturday 22nd July.
Had a lot of fun playing with my chiminea, first time for a couple of weeks. The weather was perfect - and I successfully made four pizzas in 20 minutes - the first one taking 3 minutes! The full story with pics here.

Thursday 21st July.
I took my homemade vegan chocolate spread into work - my weekly care home sessions - and made some chocolate schiacciata con l'uva with the residents. Divided the dough into two pieces, rolled them out int circles, covered one with the chocolate spread and placed the other circle on top. Then placed some grapes on top of that.

For the second session we mostly made apple turnovers, although Matt, who'd seen the morning's bread, wanted to make a curried version. So, perhaps the world's first curried schiacciata con l'uva! [Pics to come]

Wednesday 20th July.
In the evening I did a bread demonstration for my local branch of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, of which I'm an associate member. I asked for a beginner from the audience to come up and make some bread alongside me - and Keith kindly volunteered.

My aim was to show that anyone could make bread, so I got him to measure a mug of flour, 1/4 tsp of salt, 1/3 mug water and a teaspoon of yeast into a bowl. While he was doing that I made a fruit dough, intending to make enough Chelsea buns for everyone.

Keith made half a dozen rolls which we put to one side. I divided the fruit dough into two and we both rolled out a large rectangle and shaped the Chelsea buns. Whilst doing that I pointed out that this mix would make a batch of spicy fruit buns, or hot cross buns. It could also be turned into a fruit loaf or a German apple cake or a Swedish tea ring - or, covered with grapes it could be a schiacciata con l'uva.

After a little bit about how I came into teaching breadmaking and a short Q&A session I went out to the kitchen to bake the bread. Once the business part of the meeting was over, the buns and rolls were ready to accompany the tea and coffee.

Tuesday 19th July.
Last session at Williton today - yum yums and croissants plus soda bread, both plain and fruited.

All the way out to Williton I was smugly thinking. "No problems today - got the ovens in my car this time!" Until I arrived to find I'd forgot to transfer my mixing bowls, rolling pins etc from my wife's car to mine!

Once again my students came to the rescue, two of them going home for some spare equipment.

Sunday 17th July.
Thought I'd do a stuffed mushroom en croute for Sunday dinner - took a couple of large field mushrooms, stuffed them with vegan pesto (Meridian) and mushroom pate and wrapped them in a bread dough [recipe to follow]. I had a bit of dough left over so I did a parcel with 2 good-sized button mushrooms which I stuffed with pesto and houmous. With the dough I chopped off I made a couple of breadsticks:

The dough was made with sun-dried tomatoes and curry powder
I preferred the look of the one on the left, with the mushroom on top of the stuffing, but the one on the right is probably better since the stuffing is on the top. Haven't tried that one yet - it's in the freezer until next Sunday.

Have to say it was jolly tasty!
Friday 15th July.
Last Family Learning of the term - made cheese rolls and a fruit loaf.

And at my fortnightly care home we made Mars bar and apricot parcels.

Thursday 14th July.
Two sessions today at my weekly care home. Forgot to take pictures of the first session - Italian chocolate bread with dates, apricots and walnuts and cocoa powder. The second session had a first for me - mixed grill loaf:

I have no compunction about using leftovers in my sessions - often it is food that would be otherwise thrown away.
Three (two and a half, really) mixed grill loaves and two batches of  Chelsea buns. The yellow-coloured ones were made guessed it, curry fiend Matt!
Wednesday 13th July.
Tonight I made 13 sourdough rolls - first time I've made these. Full story  will appear on the sourdough thread tomorrow, hopefully.

Monday 11th July.
I went to my grandchildren's new school, Glebe PS and offered my services for a breadmaking session on Monday morning. I was given 6 year one children and decided to make iced buns and some freeform rolls with them.

The iced buns, shaped by the students - one for each member of the class.
And iced by them as well - although I did a few. The better looking ones were iced by the  youngsters!
I showed them a couple of shapes - then they did their own thing:

Unusually, I've written the numbers on the b-parchment. This is because, when I said I would give them all a number to identify their bread  - generally made out of dough and placed on top of the bread - one wag said she wanted the number one million!

You can see the beginning of the number at the bottom of the pic.
The freeform bread was bagged up and went home with the children.

Tuesday 13th July.
Today I completely surpassed myself! I had the 4th (out of 5) session with my Williton students. As I pulled into the car park at the Adult Ed centre, I suddenly realised I had left my ovens at home! There are no ovens in the centre, so I've been using 3 of my small portable ovens - but they were still sitting in the garage at home - 30 minutes drive away, back in Taunton!

I was all set to drive back to Taunton and get them, but cooler heads prevailed - it was suggested that the students would probably be able to take their own breads home with them and bake them in their own ovens. Which is what happened. The students were incredibly understanding and everyone was happy to take their bread home with them to bake. But it was very embarrassing. I've forgotten most things in the past - I forgot the flour on one occasion, when I was doing my teacher training and I was being observed. The observer - one of my tutors - had to nip to the Co-op about half a mile away to get some for me. As he plonked the bags of flour down in front of me on his return, he said, "I have to tell you Paul - this is a first for me!" I'm happy to report that we're still friends today!

We were making ciabatta - plain or with sun-dried tomatoes and olives - and Tarte Alsace (thinly rolled out dough spread with crรจme fraรฎche covered with thinly sliced onions and lardons of bacon - although, as you'll see, there were a few variations on that!):

Some of the group assembling the Tarte Alsace
Some variations on a theme:

Here's a ciabatta dough with the sun-dried tomato and oil added, before mixing.

I could have said add these at the beginning - but I forgot! Fortunately bread is very forgiving and you can add almost anything at the dough stage.
I was all prepared to lend some of the students a mixing bowl (I carry 15 of these around with me), but having seen me demonstrate how to scrape the dough out of the bowl (after it's risen in the bowl), almost all of them took the dough home on some baking parchment.

I was able to lend several baking trays to the students - there's one more session next week, so I've no worries I won't get them back. Thank goodness it wasn't the last session of the course!

Next week we're looking at all aspects of making soda bread, plus laminated doughs - yum yums, croissants, etc.

In the afternoon I had a session with 10 year 5 kids in Bishops Hull PS, so I had to go home to collect the ovens. Fortunately we finished the morning session early since there was no cooking to do - just managed to get home, get the ovens and get to the school on time.

We - 10 students, a support worker and me - made fancy dinner rolls plus a lot of original shapes!

March of the hedgehogs...
...and in formation!
Very annoyed with myself for singeing the hedgehogs - but Sarah didn't mind. The plaque at the bottom reads  'Sunnyside' - by Emily.

A gruesome skull - by Josh.

Another plaque - by guess who?
One more week to go with this class - this same group will make jam doughnuts and pain au chocolat.

Over the last 5 weeks I've had the class of 28 in three groups for two weeks each.)

Sunday 10th July.
Not doing too well posting recently, but I've finally managed to upload all the pics I took from the Bethesda Baking Bash

Whilst there I made a white sourdough for my wife, using the sourdough provided by the organisers, to a recipe from here. Unfortunately I left it behind - with all the other bread I'd baked over the two days. I didn't taste it - and I didn't even take a photo of it!

So there was nothing for it but to make another one - at home this time, using my starter - using what I'd learned from the weekend.

And here it is. The start of the story is here and the rest - with pics at every stage - will be posted very soon. In the meantime, here's the loaf I made: 

Tuesday 5th July.
LOTS to tell you about - four baking sessions over last Thursday and Friday, plus an entire weekend of baking with 20 other bakers at the 'BethesdaBakin'5' - including my most successful sourdough to date.

Plus some domestic baking which included another sourdough even better than the first!

For all of that I must have about 20 pics which I'll get up here as soon as possible.

Monday 27th June.
Spent all day at my daughter's primary school today, where she teaches year 5. Had 74 students in the day, which makes 140+ kids I've taught in the last 8 days! Lots of pics - and a comparison between leavened and unleavened bread - here:

My daughter wondered what would happen if we left out the yeast. Naturally, the bread didn't rise - but there was also a surprise - for me at any rate. The unrisen bread didn't colour at all, although it had the same time in the oven as my bread, which did contain yeast.

Saturday 25th June.
After taking Alfie (my 5-year-old grandson) to his football practice - where he won a trophy for being the best player that day - I made pizzas with my grandchildren. 3 cheese and tomato and one vegan:

The vegan pizza was topped with mushroom pate and a mixture of vegan pesto and tomato puree

Thursday 23rd June.
Gave a young Spanish friend of mine her first breadmaking lesson this morning. I needed some wholemeal rolls so I showed her how I put a batch together using the 'several short kneadings' technique (method B). 

500g wholemeal and 100g white. The rolls finished up at 105g, roughly.
She then went ahead and made a chocolate and banana loaf:

Carmen's first breadmaking effort - it was delicious!
Carmen has promised to go back to Spain and teach her family and friends how to make bread. And the results will appear here!

Wednesday 22nd June.
Third and final session at the school today - 20 year 4 kids including my granddaughter Phoebe. All the pics - and story - are here.

Over the past three days, over 60 youngsters at the school have been introduced to breadmaking - and discovered just how much fun making it can be!

On Monday I've got 77 youngsters at my daughter's school to teach. Can't wait!

Tuesday 21st June.
2nd session today, again went very well. 30 year one kids, everyone (including me and the teacher and TA - I think!)  having fun!

Monday 20th June.
First of the sessions in my grandchildren's school today - story and pics arehere.

Sunday 19th June.
Not a lot to report over the last few days, but the next few are going to be...interesting.

My wife and I are looking after the grandchildren for a week - whilst friends of ours are staying at our place. And I've volunteered to go in and bake in my grandchildren's school next week - a session in each of their classes. So that's 20 year 3s, 30 year 1s and 20 year 4s. They're going to have to share batches - 2 to a batch in the smaller classes and 3 to a batch in the larger class.

On the following Monday I'm attempting to teach my daughter's entire year group in one day - that's 80+ year 5s!

In all of these sessions we'll just be making freeform shapes - from fancy dinner rolls to house bread to mice, caterpillars, hedgehogs, etc. Plus lots of shapes the kids come up with!

I'll post some pics of the best ones, of course!

Tuesday 14th June.
Busy day today. In the morning I began a new course at Williton - 8 students (although only 6 came) with varying degrees of experience in making bread.

The students made Chelsea buns, spicy fruit buns and hot cross buns plus a choice of focaccia or fancy dinner rolls. A couple of students made both. 

We're far more limited here compared to running the sessions in a school HE area. All we've got are my 3 small ovens which can take 3 trays of bread at a pinch - generally 2 is all they can manage. So we won't make be able to make as many varieties of bread as I'd like.

In the afternoon I had another group of 9 year 5 students at Bishops Hull primary - making fancy dinner rolls - or, as the students would have it, 'shapes'!

The bottom right shape is a laser gun
The caterpillar was truly frightening!
Then, when I got home I felt the urge to see the chiminea in action again, so I baked four pizzas over a couple of hours, one of which I had for dinner. I'll put all the details on my chiminea thread - with pics - as soon as I'm able.

Saturday 11th June.
Made 2 dozen rolls undercover in the evening - 12 of these for my daughter to take home with her.

The batch on the left definitely benefited from the extra wait whilst the batch on the right were baking.
Friday 10th June.
3rd week of my Family Learning course at Halcon - pizzas and petit pain au chocolat. It's very difficult to get a pizza with a crisp bottom in the new ovens - the old one was brilliant, having a bottom element. So I crisped the bottoms by placing an oven tray over one of the hobs - although not touching it. I must remember to get the students to make 2 small pizzas which would fit into our small frying pan - much the best way of crisping up a pizza, IMO.

Thursday 9th June.
Back to normal with two sessions at my weekly care home. In the first session we made a variety of seeded 'animal' breads:

The roll at the back on the right is a hedgehog - supposed to be!
And also a name plaque for one of our students:

This will keep for quite a while if  it's varnished!

In the afternoon session, Matt who'd seen the mouse we'd made earlier, wanted to make curried mice; and here they are:

Are these mice? Or tadpoles?
The rest of the group made iced buns.

To shape the mice, divide your dough into smaller pieces by using the side of your hand as a knife. Keep rolling the side of your hand back and forth until the dough separates. The dough begins to form into rolls as you move your hand, but there's generally a little 'tail' which you'd normally tuck under the roll. However, if you tilt your hand and keep rolling it back and forth you can encourage a tail to grow. It's great fun!

Tuesday 7th June.
Been quiet for a couple of days, although I did make a dozen bread rolls two days on the trot - one for my daughter to take home with her, the other for my own consumption. And I made these rather nice sweet pikelets - the holes were as large as I've seen them:

I added 1 dessertspoon of sugar to about 150ml of batter

They didn't need anything - they were very tasty just as they were
That's either a reflection of adding sugar to the batter - never done that before - or the fact that the batter had been made for about an hour or so before making them.

This morning I was out at Hemyock, on the Blackdown hills, making bread with a group of carers - organised by the Phoenix Group for Carers. Each student made a couple of sizzlers, a small pizza, 4 Chelsea buns and 3 hot cross buns.

Here's the savoury bread they made:

Friday 3rd June.
My fortnightly care home today - found a block of marzipan in the cupboard so, with some pears in the fruit bowl, I thought we'd make marzipan and pear tartlets:

Sweetened bread dough, circle of marzipan, slices of pear - sprinkled with nutmeg and sugar
Generally I make these by rolling out the dough and cutting out circles. But, in the absence of cutters - or even beakers to use as cutters - I decided to use flattened out circles of dough for the bases. These are not as satisfactory - for one thing the dough rises up in a small 'bap' shape, so the fruit and marzipan slips off easily. And you can't make them as round, of course. For all that they're very tasty indeed!

Thursday 2nd June.
Only one session in the care home today - lots of residents away on holiday.

But I still had five students, making cheese and tomato pizza, 2 vegan pizzas and two batches of bread rolls.

The dreaded pizza slip! Caused by too much cheese.

Mushroom pate, pesto and mushrooms

Wednesday  1st June.
What a fantastic few days I’ve just had!

First the adventure with the chiminea beginning with a whole day’s baking – making 23 pizzas and 8 Peshwari naans – on Saturday.

Followed by a leisurely start to Sunday, then a fairly frenetic hour or so serving up pizzas – satisfying the needs of vegan and veggies alike. The evening was filled with entertainment – from the British Humanist Association Choir  - then from the brilliant Jonny Berliner and finally for the rest of the evening, from the TreeFrogs. This was excellent in that it gave me a chance to practice my salsa and gave me an excuse to fling my arms around a bit.

The next morning, 40 or so of us, who’d stayed overnight, were privileged to hear two fantastic lectures – one from Dr Dan Danahar from Butterfly Conservation (the charity supported by this year’s Ancestor’s Trail) on the story of the decline and rise of the Large Blue Butterfly in England – and also the story of the astonishing transformation of a patch of ground on a school campus from virtually no wildlife to an area containing 21 butterflies (and counting!) and all the attendant flora and fauna, within a couple of years. His talk was truly inspirational.

This was followed by Dr Jon Bridle from Bristol University on evolution and the effects of human activity on the environment. Thought provoking, terrifying stuff. 

Yesterday was a day off – but today I’ve been baking pizzas (along with 20+ children) in this wonderful Dragon with fire in its belly!

Tuesday 31st May.
Well, it's all behind me now - the Outdoor Baking, I mean! Good reviews on the pizzas and quiet satisfaction on my part that I managed to feed everyone who required feeding. It was one busy weekend, baking all day Saturday and reheating/cooking on Sunday - but The Ancestor's Trail event was a fantastic success. Look out for Clare Balding's 'Ramblings' programme on BBC R4.

Friday 27th May.
No baking today, but I did make a batch of socca for my lunch. I used gram flour/oatmeal 80/20%, which was fine. The oatmeal does tend to settle, so it needs to be stirred before pouring into the frying pan.

I  had a little pane frattau left from the other night, so I had this with the socca - it was very tasty! I deliberately used a little salt rather than bouillon powder in the batter so I could make a sweet version. I made one which I covered with marmalade and rolled up. Again, extremely tasty.

And I have some leftover in the fridge!

Thursday 26th May.
 Looking to practice one of the breads for Sunday’s outdoor cooking, I made a couple of cheese and onion slices with my first group. I made one with raw onion, and the other with cooked onion, as I've always done it - I was just looking to save some time in the preparation. However, the one with the cooked onion was adjudged to be the better of the two.
 The group also made a batch of curried cheese twists and a couple of batches of cheese rolls. 

The cheese twists had about a teaspoon of curry powder added
to the dough
The cheese rolls contained 75g cheese to 150g flour

We made 2 batches of doughnuts – both jam and apple – with my second group, as well as a sweet calzone (containing blackberry jam, apple sauce and banana) and a batch of curried cheese and roasted veg pasties (Matt's).

Cheese and veg pasties - with a curried dough - sweet calzone and apple and jam doughnuts and pasties 

I had the other half of the pane frattau for dinner – it tasted even better second time around!

Wednesday 25th May.
To use up yesterday’s bolognaise sauce, I fancied some Pane Frattau, which meant I had to make some Carta da Musica, first.

I made the dough and included a teaspoon of bouillon powder and some mixed herbs. I divided it into 4 and rolled each out into a 15-18cm circle.

This took me about 15 or so minutes. When I’ve made this bread before, the bread didn’t puff up as I wanted it too, possibly because my oven doesn’t get hot enough. So this time I cooked them in my  - fairly hot - cast-iron frying pan. The first couple didn’t puff up much – just a few large blisters. The third was a lot better, and the 4th was just perfect!

The secret is a very hot pan - and at least 15 minutes rest after rolling out. At least, that's how it was today.

I had the other half of the pane frattau for dinner – it tasted even better second time around!
IMO this was a reflection of the time they’d had to prove, so I shall alter my recipe accordingly. I then soaked the last two in broth and cut each into two – making 4 separate circles. So I layered the Pane frattau in four layers, adding a cheese-type sauce I’d made from nutritional yeast and 'Free & Easy' dairy free cheese flavour sauce mix.

The resulting dish was just as tasty as I’d remembered it. It took me 90 minutes, roughly from start to finish.

Sunday 22nd May.
I've just returned from a fantastic walking weekend in the Forest of Dean - with 35 other blokes, here. We do this every six months or so - basically eating, drinking and walking from Friday midday until Sunday lunchtime. 

On Saturday evening, after dinner, I generally do a breadmaking demo, using whatever lies to hand. To emphasise just how easy it is to make bread I tipped around 2/3 of a packet of bread flour in a mixing bowl, added salt, yeast and sufficient water to make a workable dough, plus a generous glug of olive oil.

There was some Brie and Cheddar left over from the cheese board, so I made three Brie parcels, and a large cheese loaf. Basically I kneaded a good handful of roughly chopped Cheddar into some of the rest of the dough and shaped it into a baton. And I made a focaccia:

The Brie parcels are at the top, the cut up focaccia in the middle, and the cheese loaf is in the foreground - bursting with good ingredients!

I was expecting more lumps of cheese to be evident - but they're in there somewhere

Martin's first bread rolls
The bread was ready in less than an hour. After the demo, one of the guys, Martin, said he still wasn't confident about making bread at home, so I got him to knock up a quick batch of rolls using 1 mug of flour and 1/3 mug of water. I think they look rather nice for a first effort!

Virtually all the bread had disappeared by the end of the night.

Thursday 19th May.
2 sessions today in my weekly care home. This morning we made jam tarts - described by one support worker as 'Stained glass windows':

A combination of apricot jam and strawberry jam
In the afternoon I only had the one student, the rest having gone out, so together we made two batches - one was peanut butter iced buns (a first for me) and the other was a simple sweet dough rolled up into croissant shapes:


...and baked. I made the icing too thin on the iced buns, but didn't have the time to correct the error. Next time...
(As you've probably noticed, I've figured out how to access my iPhone photos. It only required a USB connector just as I do with the camera. But I was so used to using Bluetooth with my old phone, I got hung up on it!)

More photos to come (and the recipe for the sweet peanut butter dough) as I get the time.

Wednesday 18th May.
Had my mind on other things, recently, so I'm afraid I've neglected this a bit.

Still been making bread, though - and I've even taken a couple of pics on my new iPhone which I'll upload as soon as I can figure out how to load them onto my Mac. (Bit ironic, really; my Samsung took lousy pics, but I could get them on here, very easily. Not so with the iPhone - yet!)

Started a new course at Bishops Hull PS yesterday. Over the next 5 weeks, the head wants me to give all the year 5 youngsters a taste of breadmaking - so 9 kids each having two lessons. They began with fancy dinner/freeform rolls - and I never thought to take pics! There were some weird and wonderful creations. Next week we're making jam doughnuts - although they want me to bring some chocolate spread, so, chocolate doughnuts!

I've got a couple of goes on the chiminea I need to report on.

Sunday 8th May.
Off to the cricket with some friends this afternoon - didn't have a lot of time to make some bread for a snack for us all, so I made a variation on my usual spicy breakfast naan, which is a quick bread, cooked in the frying pan. In recognition of my friends differing takes on spicy food I halved the amount of curry powder I usually use. I also grated in some creamed coconut which needed using up - and added a dessertspoon of molasses.

Unfortunately, there was too much curry in there for my friends palates - they didn't come back for seconds! Which meant I brought a load back for my breakfast for the next few days. I have to say the molasses gave the bread a depth of flavour which is very pleasing. I shall incorporate it into my recipe in future! However, I didn't notice the coconut!

Friday 6th May.
New Family Learning course started today - one dad and 2 mothers (One other mother couldn't make it, but will join us next week). Each family made a plain soda bread and a spicy fruit loaf.

I stayed on and made four more spicy fruit loaves with my year 4-5 group.

In the afternoon, at my fortnightly care home, we made chocolate and prune loaves:
Dough made with cocoa powder, sugar and chopped dark chocolate, rolled out and spread with juicy, plump prunes, then rolled up like a Swiss roll with the ends tucked in. It was very tasty!

Thursday 5th May.
2 sessions at my weekly care home today. In the first session we made 4 batches of petit pain au chocolat:

Just a few of the chocolate rolls we made - they are much darker than the pic suggests
In the second session Matt wanted to make a curried pizza, so he did - as did Guy. The rest made plain cheese and tomato pizza.

In the evening, whilst watching Newsnight, I made my spicy breakfast naans - yesterday I soaked 200g of chopped, dried apricots and 200g of sultanas, in preparation. These weighed in at just about 1000g after baking, so I divided them into 10 pieces which I will freeze when they've cooled.

Tuesday 3rd May.
Today I made my first successful pizzas in the chiminea! I presented one to my neighbour - who gave it 10 out of 10!

Tuesday 24th May.
2nd week with my yr 9/10 kids – 9 of them all told. This week they were making petit pain au chocolat (PPs) plus one each, chocolate  spread  and jam doughnuts – all from the one batch of dough.

They rolled out the dough, cut out 4 circles to make the doughnuts, squidged the rest of the dough back together, divided it into four and made 4 pains au chocolat. The doughnuts were brushed with a sugar glaze whilst the PPs were just given a sugar glaze.

One of the youngsters, Laura, had made a batch of rolls at home, which she brought in to show me, so here they are.
"Thanks for a very entertaining and interesting evening. I have attached a picture of my results from today yeast from Sainsburys inspiration from Paul  I have made bread before but this was my best results yet  Also made some Chelsea buns but they have all been eaten already. "

Saturday 3rd September.
Finished off the Birthday loaves.
[More to come]