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, 1 January 2017


Update - 13th Feb 2012.
Made 2 x 200g soda breads today (one, an Italian focaccia-type loaf), including a good glug of olive oil - they were gorgeous  with a lovely soft crust:

(Also: Fruit soda bread and Curried soda bread)

(This is a very adaptable bread – you can put anything in it that takes your fancy!)

1 mug or 200g self raising flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/3rd mug or 125ml water

1. Heat the oven to 220C, 425F, gas mark 7 and prepare your baking tray.

2. Place the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. When the oven is hot, add the water and begin mixing with a table knife or similar.

3. Mix together into a soft dough, stirring and cutting through the dough as it forms, adding more flour or water as needed. Turn it out onto a floured worktop, firmly mould it into a round flat loaf, about 3cm thick and place it on your prepared baking sheet. (With practice you can get the mixing and shaping done in less than two minutes.) To allow the heat of the oven to reach the centre of the dough more easily, cut a deep cross into the top of the loaf with the knife.

4. Bake in the centre of the oven for around 20 minutes, but check after 15.

5. The loaf is ready when it has a good colour underneath and a skewer comes out clean – or it ‘breaks’ cleanly. You may need to put it back in, upside down, for a few more minutes. Place to cool on a wire rack and – for a softer crust – wrap the bread in a tea cloth.

Fruit soda bread:
At step two, instead of the salt, add 1 dessertspoon of sugar, half a mug (100g) of dried fruit and a teaspoon of mixed spice.

Curried soda bread:
At step two, along with the salt, add a teaspoon of curry powder.

Italian soda bread (see pics, above)
At step two, after the water is added, pour in a good glug of olive oil (2-3 tablespoons?) then proceed as per the recipe;
Then, if you wish to make it into a focaccia, at step four, after the dough is mixed, give the dough 3 or 4 flatten and folding actions, then roll out into a circle about 1.5-2cm thick. Press holes in it with your fingers, then fill the holes with olive oil. Make sure you use a tray with a lip to contain any oil that spills over.
Bake as above - the olive oil disappears just as the loaf is baked! I always get a kick out of that!

These amounts make a small loaf – for a larger loaf, just double up the ingredients and bake for 25-30 minutes.
If you only have plain flour, you’ll need to add baking powder  - 1 teaspoon for each 100g of flour, or 2 teaspoons for a mug full.
You can also make these breads with wholemeal or spelt flour.

In a frying pan:
Roll or squash the loaf into a flat round and bake it in a dry frying pan with lid (use a baking sheet if you don’t have a lid) for about 6-7 minutes on each side on medium heat.

Here's how I made this frying pan bread in only 13 minutes!

And, my new record, bread made in a sandwich toaster in only 8 minutes!


  1. Hi Paul. I made your recipe for Soda Bread for lunch, with soup. It was lovely. I made the mistake of using too much flour on the table, causing a coating of flour on the finished loaf. Do you have a suggestion for making the inside less dense please. It was a bit heavy. Yeast?. Oh, I added some dried mixed herbs to the mix. Very nice.

  2. Hi Mike

    You are a busy lad, and no mistake! 2 suggestions which may help - make sure you get it in the oven asap. I aim to have it in the oven less than 2 minutes after stirring in the liquid. Secondly, the dough should be really soft and squidgy - putting flour on the table risks drying the dough out. Took me years to work out that the more water in a bread dough, the better it'll rise, since the CO2 can push the dough out of the way and create bigger holes.

    Finally, a soda bread, by its very nature is a bit denser than a yeast-risen bread - as far as I understand it, that's the reason for the cross, so that the heat can get to the middle of the loaf better.

    HTH! Paul

  3. hi there , yesterday i had my first attempt ever at baking anything at all and tried the soda bread. The mixture though was awfully sticky, no question about being able to knead it at all, I just sort of dropped it on the baking tray by vigorous hand jerking. So presumably needs more of something but what?

  4. Hi Emi

    Sorry you met with a problem! But it's easily fixed - make sure next time you don't add too much water. If you do find the mix too wet - just add flour to dry it out.

    Best wishes, Paul

  5. Really cool bread, especially for the-day-before-payday.

  6. Thanks so much for this. I found the link on Jack's website. Will defo try and let you have feedback!

    1. Only just picked this up.

      Hi Alison - would love to hear how you get (got?) on.

  7. I just found your site and am so excited. I've just gone vegan plus no oil so it's great to know I can still make some good bread. Going to try this and your pancake mix tomorrow and see how it goes. You're a wonderful man. Thanks. :)

    1. Wow! Congrats on your new life. Thanks for the complement - I just want to spread the word on how easy and cheap home breadmaking is.