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.

Saturday, 2 February 2013


Last night we had some friends over for an Indian meal – from our favourite Indian takeaway, The Miriam in Taunton.

I saw this as an excuse to make one of my favourite breads – a Peshwari naan.

I made it with yeast, took one third, and rolled it out to fit my cast-iron frying pan which I placed on a low heat (I figured we’d be eating this one quicker). I divided the remaining piece into three, rolled them out fairly thinly, and put them to prove. I turned the oven onto 220C.

After about ten minutes I turned the one in the frying pan over, increased the heat and cooked it for a further 4 minutes.

When the oven was warm I put the naan breads in for a brief minute to get a burst of heat. After a further ten minutes, they’d risen enough to go in the oven.

I gave them 6 minutes and turned them around on the baking tray so the outside of each naan was now facing inwards.

After another 6-7 minutes they were ready and the guests began to arrive.

They all agreed that the oven-baked ones were superior to the frying pan naan – which I put down to the fact that the oven-baked ones didn’t have to be turned over and were therefore lighter.

If I hadn’t been using the oven I would have started them in the frying pan and finished them off under the grill.

Here’s the recipe (which I increased by a half):

Peshwari naan
I use two different methods to make this – one of my most popular breads. I originally made it as a quick bread, using self-raising flour and done in a frying pan (baked in an oven it is not as moist). Now I often do it using a yeast risen dough, baked in the oven and also in a frying pan – both are good. Any dried fruit will do, but dried apricots - the unsulphured ones - make it special.

Quick bread recipe
200g self-raising flour (or you can use plain flour with 2 tsps of baking powder mixed in – self raising flour’s just easier)
1/4 tsp salt
1 or 2 tsps curry powder
1 dsp sugar
50g grated creamed coconut
100g dried apricots, chopped small
Medium onion, finely chopped
125ml water
Olive oil

The secret of any quick bread is to have everything ready beforehand. So oil a large frying pan and put it on medium heat. Mix dried ingredients and measure liquids. When everything is ready, add the water and oil and stir it quickly into a dough. Be ready to add more water or flour if needed. Take it out, shape it into a flattened ball and, after flouring your worktop, roll out into a circle the size of your frying pan. Place it in the frying pan.
They should take about 4-5 minutes each side to bake. When the first one is ready, slide it onto a cooling rack, re-oil the frying pan and carefully place the second naan into it.

Yeast bread recipe
200g strong white flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 or 2 tsps curry powder
1 dsp sugar
50g creamed coconut (grated)
100g dried apricots, chopped small
Medium onion, finely chopped
1 dsp fresh yeast
125ml lukewarm water
Splash of olive oil

Place dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Pour the lukewarm water over the yeast and stir to dissolve. Add the olive oil. Mix into a dough, adding more water if needed. Knead for about a minute or so to distribute the ingredients properly.
Using the frying pan, follow the instructions as above.
Oven baked, roll out to a size that will fit your baking sheet, place on the lined baking sheet and leave until the dough becomes puffy.

Bake at 200c/425F or gas 7 for approximately 12 minutes. Check for some colour underneath to see if it is cooked properly.

I make a version of this, 'Spicy fruit naan', (incl. pic) which I have daily for breakfast, spread with mashed banana. 

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