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, 3 February 2013


200g strong white flour
1/4 tsp salt
50g creamed coconut (grated)
25g black onion seeds
125ml yeast liquid, including 1 tsp fresh yeast
Sesame seeds for sprinkling
Splash of olive oil (optional)

1. Place the yeast in a measuring jug, add lukewarm water up to 125ml and stir to dissolve.

2. Measure the dry ingredients and place them in a large mixing bowl with the yeast liquid and oil if using. 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). Begin to mix by stirring the ingredients together with a table knife. When it gets too stiff for the knife, use one hand to turn the bowl round, whilst the other hand begins to squeeze the mixture together. Make sure the dough 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.

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

4. Table naan: Roll out the dough into a large square. Place it on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment, brush with water and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Leave to double in thickness.

5. Bake at 220C, 425F or gas mark 7 for 10-15 minutes. Check after 7-8 minutes. Turn it over if necessary to ensure the bottom is coloured enough.

4. Divide into 4 pieces and roll each piece out to about 10cm by 15cm (4" x 6"). Place on grill pan and leave to rise appreciably. Brush with oil or water and sprinkle with sesame seeds before grilling. Keep a close eye on them when grilling because they can swell up and begin to burn if you’re not careful. Turn over after 2 or 3 minutes, brushing them with oil once more. Go to step 5.

I like the idea of a table naan with everyone tearing off a piece. With individual naans, I don’t bother with a teardrop shape – that comes from sticking the dough to the inside of a tandoori oven, which we don’t have.

Many recipes call for yoghurt, which I don’t use. If you wanted to use some, substitute, say, three tablespoons of yoghurt (possibly a bit more if the yoghurt's quite thick) for three of water.

Here are two other naan bread recipes - Peshwari naans and spicy fruit naans.

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