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, 18 April 2013


Variations on a theme! From my Burnham evening class, Oct 2011 

200g (or 1 mug) strong white flour
1 dessertspoon sugar
1 teaspoon mixed spice
100g sultanas
125ml (or 1/3rd mug) lukewarm water
1 teaspoon yeast
2 tbs olive oil (optional)

For the topping:
1 large or two medium Bramley apples (or eating apples for  a change)
1 dessertspoon sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon mixed together

1. Measure the water and stir in the yeast. Place the flour, sugar and sultanas into a mixing bowl, pour in the yeast liquid, then add the olive oil if using.

2. 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 knife, cutting through the dough as it forms. When it gets too stiff for the knife, use your hand 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 to keep it soft! 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 flattening the dough out, folding it over and flattening it again. If the dough is too sticky, instead of putting extra flour on your worktop, place some in the bowl, put the dough back in and turn it round to coat it all over. That way you keep the flour under control and you won’t be tempted to add too much. Knead until the dough becomes smooth – and then stop before you get fed up!

4. Form the dough into a round, then, using flour to stop the dough from sticking, roll out the kuchen dough to around 1 cm thick. Place the dough onto a prepared baking sheet.

5. Peel and core the apples, cut them into quarters and each quarter into slices and place them in rows all over the dough. Sprinkle with the sugar and cinnamon.

6. Leave to rise until the kuchen has grown appreciably, then bake for 10 minutes at 220C (425F, gas mark 7) then at 190C (375F, gas mark 6) until the apples are soft and the dough cooked - probably another 10 minutes. Check by lifting the edge of the kuchen with a palette knife - the bottom should be browning.

Any hard fruit will work with this bread – pears, nectarines, etc.

Other breads you can make using this dough.

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