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, 16 October 2017

Rollplay at Derwent Lower School

(Similar session with my daughter's year group at St Marks primary, Basingstoke)

This week I'm making bread with each of my 3 grandchildren's (9, 7 and 5) classes, starting with:

Monday 20th June. (Further down you'll find my report and pics from the other two sessions.)
First session today, with year 3 - otherwise known as 'Foxes'. 18 children including my granddaughter Olivia, who assisted me admirably.

We arranged the tables in a semi-circle, 2 to a table, one bowl to each pair.

We were making bread rolls, basically (any shape), to this recipe:
1 mug flour, quarter of a teaspoon of salt, 1/3rd mug of lukewarm water and one teaspoon of yeast .
After showing the youngsters how I mix and knead a dough, I demonstrated a few shapes of animals, and also some fancy dinner rolls - with the following results:

Tomorrow it's Alfie's turn - up to 30 year one youngsters!

(I have to to say the support from the head, teachers and support staff has been brilliant! The kids were pretty good, too!)

Tuesday 20th June.
30 year one children lined up behind10 tables, each with a mixing bowl, a mug and a teaspoon. W did exactly the same as we did yesterday - but it was necessarily a bit more hectic. Nevertheless, an hour later, all the bread was proving on top of the oven whilst the children went out to PE.

Here are the results:

I've been fortunate these last two days, in that I've been teaching in the afternoon, which has meant I've been able to use the school kitchen - so proving and baking the bread hasn't been a problem.

Tomorrow's session, with 20 or so year 4 children is in the morning. Unless the kitchen can squeeze me in for half an hour, say, around 10.30-11.00, I'll be reduced to using the domestic oven in the staff room - not so convenient.

On the other hand, it's quite likely that a session with the older year 4 youngsters will be more organised than the younger groups. It'll be interesting to see if the results will be any different.

Wednesday 22nd June.
Last one today - and we were able to switch the session to the afternoon. Once again I received complete co-operation from the teacher - although there was no support this time.

Because the children were that little bit older I was able to go into the science of breadmaking a bit more: the byproducts of the action of the yeast - CO2 and alcohol - and how the bakery and the brewery were next to one another in ancient societies. We also touched on the connection between yeast and mammals and how, billions of years ago, we shared a common ancestor. Which is why, even today, we need the same temperature  to thrive.  (I make the comparison between the temperature of the yeast liquid and bathwater: "You don't leap into a bath without checking the temperature first!")

Here's some of the bread we made. Unfortunately, I forgot about recording the results until several children had taken their bread away. I was busy sorting out whose bread was whose, so I gave my camera to my granddaughter, Phoebe, who took as many pics as she could:

About the photo's: I could have just selected some of the best examples - and made a nice portfolio. However, I wanted to  show the bread just as it came out of the oven - and I promised the kids I'd put all their bread on my blog - and I did (mostly!).

To sum up the last three days: I've had a lot of fun, I've met a lot of good professionals who work in an excellent school. And I hope I've shown 60+ children that breadmaking is not at all scary - it's a simple, enjoyable activity!


  1. How wonderful! I'd love you to come and do the same with my class... although not sure I could afford to reimburse your travel costs to Brunei! I'm sure that the children had a fantastic time - I hope you've insprired some bakers-of-the-future.

  2. Thanks, Kate!

    You've probably seen on the following Monday I went one better and taught a whole three-form intake of year five youngsters in one day.

    You're right, the kids did love it. And it's especially good for the less academic ones. I've always found it easy for kids (anyone) to achieve success in breadmaking.

    I bet you could do it with your students. If I can do it with 30 year ones in an hour and 20 minutes (plus the baking), I'm sure you can do it with yours. How many in your class?

  3. thats bread its verry verry strong to make me vomit :(