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.

Thursday, 26 September 2013


I ran a couple of breadmaking sessions (making pain au chocolat) at a SureStart centre here in Taunton this morning – one for dads and their kids, and one a general drop-in for families.

After a conversation with one of the mothers about gluten-free breads (her husband was trying to avoid wheat and dairy) I said I would post something on the subject on my blog.

So here’s where I’ll try and gather all the info that I have about gluten-free breads and baking.

Firstly, some of the GF breads and cakes on this blog:

Socca - gram flour pancakes, socca made into an 'omelette', traditional pancakes, chocolate cake, scones. (There's more - just put 'gluten free' into the search box)

And I have a recipe for a GF loaf of bread further down this post.

I first began looking at gluten-free breads when I ran a couple of workshops on the subject about ten years ago. I quickly realised there were at least two categories of people with varying degrees of problems with wheat.

The easiest ones to satisfy were coeliacs, funnily enough. Coeliacs can get gluten-free flour on prescription, and you can make a great variety of bread using these flours – mainly Juvela and Glutafin.

The other category – those with wheat allergies or intolerance were much harder to deal with. There were similar products to those mentioned above – but they were hideously expensive.

Thursday 13th 2014
In response to a growing demand for GF bread, I experimented with a loaf using Wessex GF bread flour:

Put to prove. I haven't used this loaf tin in many years - hence the baking parchment

Later, before baking

The finished loaf

And here's the crumb - not great, I will admit. But the taste I had was 'passable' - if I couldn't eat wheat, I could certainly eat this.
[Recipe to come]

Saturday 9th June.
I've just made my first GF loaf using Dove's GF brown bread flour - following the instructions (unusually for me!) with the exception of the oil. I thought 90g (6tbs) a bit excessive, so I used 50g.

Bit over-done, I'm afraid. I'm not familiar with this (gas) oven, and I left it a little bit too long. 
Didn't rise as much as I'd hoped, but it's not bad for all that.
The loaf was well-received by my son, who said it had a pleasant aftertaste. It's recognisably bread and far superior to commercial GF loaves. Once cooled, what wasn't eaten immediately was sliced and frozen - this sort of bread doesn't keep well.

450g gluten and wheat free brown bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 teaspoons Allinson's dried active yeast
2 tbsp sugar
350ml warm milk
1 tsp vinegar
2 eggs
6 tbsp oil (I used 3 tbs olive oil)

The ingredients are expensive and I wonder just what you could get away with leaving out? I, being a vegan, never use eggs and milk in recipes such as sweet bun recipes for instance, and find they're not necessary. So next time I'll leave these out and see what happens.

19th May 2012.
I've just come across this post on the subject of GF bread on The Fresh Loaf (TFL), which gives a very thorough investigation into GF breadmaking and a detailed recipe, with pics.

There has been a lot of debate on the subject on the BBC Food message board, and last year I collected several of the various discussions on the subject in one thread:

(There are several links on there which might prove useful. However, the second one seems to have gone pretty commercial – but it does appear to have some useful stuff on there. Here’s the new link:

Here's a list of relevant threads on the Beeb board:

Indian breads - gluten free, dairy free, soy free, yeast free!

Gluten-free bread using a mix of maize and gluten-free bread flour.

More stuff here.

Here’s a gluten-free flour ‘omelette’ recipe on

And here's a chocolate loaf:

There are quite a few gluten-free threads on that board, so it’s worthwhile looking around.

There’s an excellent gluten-free section in Andrew Whitley’s terrific book, ‘Bread Matters’.

I’ve just re-read it and it contains a comprehensive table of all the ingredients that can be used in gluten-free baking.

His attitude to GF baking is refreshing:

“My approach is not to mourn the absence of gluten but to relish the qualities of flours that do not contain it.”

I had a look on the net for his basic GF loaf and found it here:

Finally, here are Dan Lepard and The Guardian on the subject:

Here's Dan's white loaf:


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