No bread is an island

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

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

Monday, 13 January 2014



200g (or 1 mug) strong white flour
1-2 dessertspoons sugar
50g sultanas
50g candied peel
Lemon zest
125ml (or 1/3rd mug) lukewarm liquid including a dessertspoon lemon juice
1 dessertspoon fresh yeast
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Up to 4 tablespoons olive oil

A sprinkle of icing sugar

  1. Place the flour, sugar, dried fruit, mixed peel and zest in a large mixing bowl. Measure the water and lemon juice and stir in the fresh yeast. Add the olive oil. Have a little water to hand to add if necessary, remember, it is better for your dough to be wetter (slack) rather than drier (tight).

  1. Hold the bowl with one hand and begin to mix with the other. Use one hand to turn the bowl round, whilst the other hand begins to squeeze the mixture together. As it forms into a solid mass, keep turning it over and pressing it down to pick up the flour at the bottom of the bowl – but make sure it stays soft. Don’t be afraid to add more water. When all the flour has been mixed in, wipe the bowl around with the dough, turn it out onto the worktop and begin to knead.

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

  1. Take a large (800g) tin of fruit (or chopped tomotoes, or similar), emptied and cleaned, and line it with baking parchment with the paper extending above the tin. I place a circle of the paper, just a bit larger than the bottom of the tin at the bottom, then take a long, thin piece of paper, roll it up then drop it into the tin. Use your fingers to press it to the sides.

  1. Take the dough and shape it into a small baton then drop it into the tin. Leave to prove until it has doubled in size.

  1. Bake for between 20 and 25 minutes at 180C or gas mark 4 in the centre of the oven. But check after 15 minutes.

  1. Check the colour – it should be a lovely shade of yellowy brown; and an inserted skewer should come out clean when it is ready.

  1. Leave it in the tin for a few minutes before removing it and placing it – still in the baking parchment – to cool on a wire rack.

  1. Finally, when it is cool, sprinkle with icing sugar.

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