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.

Friday, 6 July 2012

My Daily Bread (5)

This is the 5th post with this title. The first, begun in February 2011, was fairly long - and the second, begun in May, was even longer. The third and fourth were more restrained, lasting around 5 weeks each.

I try to start a fresh post fairly regularly.

In these posts I chronicle my daily breadmaking 'adventures'. In truth they mainly detail the various breads I make in a working week - and those I make at home. But occasionally,  as in the wood-fired oven pizza events I run occasionally, or the Occupy Bristol workshop I held before Christmas, it truly is an adventure - in that I'm never sure how these things are going to pan out.

My intention is always to link to breads mentioned in this post - but I don't always manage this. However, 99% of the time, if you put the name of the bread in the 'Search this blog' box, you'll be directed to the recipe.

(To keep this post on the top of the page, I shall date it a week or so in advance)

Sunday 1st July.
Went to visit my wife's niece today, in Portsmouth, and found myself making bread with her lovely children - and her husband. We've made bread together before, and they're becoming quite expert at it. Altogether they made 30 pains au chocolat, 2 pizzas and one jam tart:

[Pics to come]

Saturday 30th June.
Great baking day today - after completing a few chores this morning, I spent the rest of the day making pizzas in the afternoon (plus a quick soda bread) and a couple of cakes in the evening.

I had my most successful day with my chiminea, yet! 6 pizzas in just 90 minutes after lighting the fire. And I finished off with a soda bread focaccia. No stopping to refuel, no turning over loaves, everything went as planned.

Friday 29th June.
2 groups of youngsters this morning - 6 year 5s and 6 year 6s all made a batch of Chelsea buns. Can't claim that any of these students were new to breadmaking since they've all made bread with me in the past - either with their parents when they were in year one, or pizza-making on the Fun Days during the holidays.

And last night I made a vegan parkin - and I've managed to save 4 x 50g pieces which have gone into the freezer. The rest of it I've eaten apart from a piece I gave to my mate at the cricket this evening. It's just irresistible!

Thursday 28th June.
Pierogis, parathas, parathas and pasties! Poland, Russia, India and - well - Cornwall?

These were what we made in the two sessions at Longrun House this morning.

I've put some pics and the story of this morning in the linked post.

Tuesday 26th June.
Nothing to do with breadmaking, but I'd just like to tell everyone I passed the IAM test today! So I am now officially an Advanced Driver!

Saturday 23rd June.
This morning I spent an enjoyable time making bread with a small group of friends - companions, if you like. ('Com', with, together; 'panis', bread.)

We made loaves, fancy rolls, jam doughnuts, iced buns, pains au chocolat, Chelsea buns, hot cross buns, chocolate and banana loaf and pizza over about 3 and a half hours and had a great time.

Here's a photo diary:

Here's Ben. "Can't believe he was completely engaged for 3 and a half hours," said his mum!
And Lauren
Busy breadmaking table
Loaves and rolls already baked - jam doughnuts, iced buns and pains au chocolat proving prior to baking
And here's Emily. "Just roughly spread the banana about over half the dough." I said. But she had other ideas... She then sprinkled roughly chopped chocolate over the bananas. Well, "I'll just make sure every piece of banana has some chocolate on top of it," she said. 

The proof of the pudding... 

Last of the cheese going on Lauren's pizza

If you can't make a mess when you're making bread, when can you?

And when it was time to clean up...the youngsters set to willingly

But the pain au chocolat still need a sugar glaze, the doughnuts required a glaze and a sprinkle of sugar, and the iced buns had to be - iced!
Now which one...
...should I choose?
This is definitely the one!
Now, is that enough sugar, I wonder?
I have to say... was all worthwhile!
I've been promised more pics, so I'll put them up when I get them.

Thursday 21st June.
Made a selection of sweet calzones with my group at Longrun this morning:

Started off with jam and banana - then ran out of banana and made jam and tinned peaches. Then someone found a little chocolate spread and we made one chocolate spread and peach loaf!
Oh, and that's Matt's (supposed to be blue!) green snake bread hiding in there - with added curry, of course!

Tuesday 19th June.
Fancied battered sausage for dinner, so I knocked up a yeast batter about half an hour before and deep-fried (in about 1cm of oil in a small saucepan) 2 Linda Macartney sausages, some polony and some slices of mushroom:

This makes a quick, cheap and very tasty meal - 2 meals, actually!
Monday 18th June.
Just had a call from a friend of mine, Stuart. He'd decided to make some buns for tomorrow's coffee morning, despite never having made bread before. Unfortunately, he used a whole bag of flour, thinking this was the amount the recipe called for. :lol:
His wife was reported to be 'furious'.

(He later explained that, following the recipe on the side of the flour packet, when the recipe said 'Add the flour', he thought that referred to the whole bag!)

However, he just kept on adding water until he made a manageable dough, which was laudable of him, I thought! He covered the dough and left it overnight.

I rang Stuart to see how things were progressing and spoke to his wife first.

"Oh, it's a blooming saga here," she said, "I could write a book! He could set up a stall outside!" :x

There's apparently several loaves and rolls on the go and everything's rising well. :crossed 

And here they are:

There's a third loaf, still proving, that he was unable to fit into the oven!
The rolls were a bit flat, but tasty enough for all that!
So, three loaves and about 20 buns - not bad for your first go! Well done, Stuart.

(Although you could have upscaled the dried fruit and sugar - next time, eh?) 

Saturday 16th June.
Away to Hay-on-wye for a few days with 33 friends - our 6-monthly walking weekend - from Friday morning to Sunday lunch-time. Lots of walking, generally with a pub involved, eating and drinking.

On the Saturday night, as I generally do, I gave the guys a bread demonstration. I have no pre-conceived plans for these occasions, I just use what's to hand. Grated cheese and grapes were available, so I used these - not in the same bread, I hasten to add.

I tend not to measure anything on these demos, so I just dumped a load of flour into a bowl, added a teaspoon of salt for the dry ingredients; and dissolved a small handful of fresh yeast in some lukewarm water, which I added to the flour.

Mixed it into a soft dough, rolled it out to about 2cm thick (with an empty bottle of port - we couldn't find a rolling pin!) and sprinkled cheese all over.

I did the same for the second dough, but using sugar instead of salt. This time (I was joined by my friend Stuart at the point) we rolled it out a little thinner and covered one half of it with seedless grapes. The dough was then folded over and the top covered again with grapes - a bit of an attempt at a schiacciata con l'uva.

Both breads were under attack before I thought of getting my camera out!
Freshly made bread always goes down well in the evening whilst the blokes are playing cards and dominoes, finishing off the port and downing the odd beer.

Thursday 14th June.
Chelsea buns and cheese rolls in the session today - we're now squeezing all nine students in before lunch, to allow the residents to go out in the afternoon, so I don't suppose we'll be doing anything time-consuming in these sessions until after the summer, when things should get back to normal.

Wednesday 13th June.
Breadmaking with 77 youngsters at St Mark's Primary School, where my daughter teaches year 5. Beginning at 8.50, the last batch went in the oven at 12.40. It was an exciting, if pretty hectic morning, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Story and pics (and the recipe we followed) here.

Monday 11th June.
I'm staying with my son and his family at the moment - and 10-year-old Phoebe had to stay at home as she was not very well. Fit enough to make some Chelsea buns, however:

It wasn't good enough to top these with sprinkled sugar - it had to be melted chocolate!
Saturday 9th June.
Made a gluten-free loaf for my son today, using Dove's GF brown bread flour. Turned out OK.

Thursday 7th June. 
On holiday this week with my son and his family. My grandson, Alfie, 6, wanted to make some bread this afternoon, so he made a batch of fancy rolls - under my supervision and with me tending to the oven, of course:

Entirely his own creation

The proud baker
1 mug flour
1 dessertspoon sugar
1/3rd mug lukewarm water
1 tsp fresh yeast

It's only a small batch, but there would have been a couple more rolls if Alfie hadn't insisted on eating loads of the raw dough! (He also likes to eat lumps of yeast, as do his 2 sisters.)

The sugar was included instead of salt in case they were to turn into iced buns. In the event Alfie ate them just as they were!

Thursday 31st May.
It's the last session for my Family Learning course tomorrow, so I wanted to make something Polish for Karolina and Cezary. The only Polish bread I know is Pierogi - stuffed, boiled, dumplings. I've made Pirozhki before - these are very similar, only these are baked.

However, I needed to practice making them first - which is where my  Longrun sessions come in handy!

So this morning we made Pierogi stuffed with mince (meat-free, of course), cabbage and onion. We boiled up these ingredients with a veggie stock cube, mixed dried herbs and a little curry powder. Whilst this was simmering we made the dough - including a crumbled stock cube instead of salt. Using a tumbler the students and support workers cut out circles of dough placed some filling on them and formed 'mini-pasties' - sealing them with a fork round the edges:

The first few simmering in about 5cm of water

We weren't able to simmer them all, so some were baked - I'm calling these Pirozhki 

Here's the crumb 

Friday 25th May.
In my Family Learning session this morning we made chocolate cakes and lentil pasties.

All three were...
...nibbled a bit...
...round the edges, before I could get my camera out. 
They went down very well - and not just with the children! And at 70p each, approximately, they were seen as a real bargain!

As were the lentil and potato pasties:
Barry and Kristal-Lee's* pasties
These worked out at around £1 - for a dozen. That's the lentils and potatoes, plus the bread dough. 
Less than 10p per pasty!

(*I bet I've spelt that wrong!)

Thursday 24th May.
5 loaves of Italian chocolate bread in the first session this morning with chopped prunes - and a couple included flaked almonds:

In the afternoon, with three students (no Matt, so no curried snake bread today!) we made jam tarts - with a bread dough of course.

Could have done with a bit more jam in the nearest one - still very tasty, though!

Thursday 17th May.
2 batches of mushroom parcels, a savoury twist and two batches of sizzlers in my first session at Longrun care home:

Filling of pesto, grated cheese, chopped mushrooms and cherry tomatoes
Tubes twisted together
And tucked in at the ends
Unfortunately, the filling leaked out - Cheddar cheese will do that
Still a bit of filling left in
Two batches of stuffed mushroom en croute
Stuffed with pesto and grated Cheddar. 
In the afternoon, Matt made his snake bread (the other eye of the snake was underneath) and Guy and Phil (one of the support workers) made a batch of petit pain au chocolate each
Wednesday 16th May.
I was called in to deliver a breadmaking session on a Family Learning course at Sedgemoor Manor Junior School in Bridgwater. Each family made a small pizza, two sizzlers, 2 pains au chocolat and some fancy bread shapes.

Saturday 12th May.
5th go with my chiminea this afternoon - 7 pizzas over an hour and a half, plus a small fougasse.

Friday 11th May.
Cheese and tomato pizza and chocolate and banana (or pear) sweet calzones with my family learning group this morning.

Later we made petit pain au chocolat with a group of year 3 students.

Thursday 10th May.
The baking weekend guys are gearing themselves up for the weekend and have thrown down a challenge to the participants - to join in a Fougasse Bake-off!

I'm certainly up for this, so today at Longrun care home, that's virtually all we did.

I wanted to make both savoury and sweet fougasses, so I took in some morello cherries from my freezer (soaked overnight in red wine) and some olives. Here's the result:

Cherry and rosemary fougasse - before...

...and after. Only just qualifies as a fougasse, since the holes have almost all closed up - more a focaccia! (As you'll see, this becomes a theme!)

This one with flaked almonds - and 'soft, light-brown sugar' (don't quite see the point of that, myself!)
This time, the holes have completely disappeared!
Now for some fougassettes! 

Once again, with sugar and flaked almonds
The holes are just about evident.
I have to say, these were delightful - the sweet/sour of the cherries and sugar, combined with the crunchiness of the crust and softness of the crumb was just great. I shall make these again - I've got more cherries in the freezer, and a new crop just arriving on my tree in the garden!

And a couple of savoury fougasses, one stuffed with pesto and with olives on top, and one with chopped olives in the dough and olives on top.

Two layers of dough - one spread with pesto, the other with the cuts was placed on top
We put olive oil in the holes and tried to make them bigger, but the dough, with the olives in it, was breaking instead of stretching.
So, the way to stop the holes from closing up is to make a stuffed  fougasse!
A couple of the students had great fun placing the olives and cherries on top of the bread. One of them, Adrian (Matt's brother) was extremely particular. I must do something similar with him next week, since he got so  much out of it.

In the afternoon we were tasked with bread to go with the soup they were having later. Matt wanted a curried snake loaf, so that's what he got,

Two plain fougasses, one with a dessertspoon of pesto in the dough
I'll have to do more work with fougasses, just to get the holes right. As you can see we also made a parkin.

Wednesday 9th May.
Tonight, for the umpteenth time, I began a sourdough culture. This, for me, is by far the easiest part of the whole process. I've booked myself into this baking event, at Trefiwr, North Wales in July, along with upwards of a dozen excellent bakers - all of whom know more about breadmaking than I do! so another go wouldn't come amiss!

Tuesday 8th May.
Family breadmaking workshop in Highbridge this afternoon - 8 families, each making 4 different varieties of bread. A lovely session.

Thursday 3rd May.
We made a total of 5 different breads today at my care home session - plus another go at the chocolate and beetroot loaf/cake.

First of all we made several chocolate twists:
Spread the chocolate down the middle of each piece of  dough
Roll the dough over the chocolate into a tube 
Then twist the two tubes together. The other two loaves contain chocolate and banana
Plus a couple of chocolate and banana breads. Then, while these were baking, I made the chocolate and beetroot cake.

In the afternoon session, Matt, who'd seen the chocolate twists, wanted to make mincemeat twists, but we had no mincemeat. No matter, we made some apple and sultana and cinnamon filling and made a twist with that. Guy and Eric made some apple turnovers and Will made some Marmite bread rolls - which, interestingly, taste quite cheesy!

Apple turnover filling
Matt's loaf at the top left - he called it two snakes wrapped around each other! Also in the pic are half a dozen Marmite rolls and 8 apple turnovers. Guy filled and shaped his without help from anyone.
Here's the chocolate and beetroot cake - this time I remembered the oil, and also used half water and half apple juice:

It made a better cake, IMO, it wasn't 'rubbery' as the first one was, slightly. I also used 150g of sugar instead of 200g.

Wednesday 2nd May.
Took some of the cake on a walk on the Quantocks with some friends today - the weather was just perfect! The cake was well received - and I was asked for the recipe, so that can't be bad!

Tuesday 1st May
Made a vegan chocolate and beetroot soda bread/cake loaf this evening - and forgot to include any oil. But as it happened, it didn't seem to matter. It was still a very nice loaf.

Made tempura again since it was so delicious the first time. Must experiment with different sauces.

Saturday 28th April.
I've been meaning to make battered sausages for a while - and now I've finally got around to it. They were more like tempura, actually, since I cut the sausages into small pieces (quarters)

I used a yeast-risen batter (of course!) and found they were extremely tasty - even the cold leftovers were irresistible once I'd started - and so simple to make!

Mix up a yeast batter, dip the pieces of sausage in it, 30 seconds in the deep-fat fryer and on to the next one.

I meant to do it with small pieces of veg - but I'll leave that for another time.

With some of the remaining batter I made fruit pikelets for something sweet after dinner - very nice.

Friday 27th April.
New Family Learning course started today - two returning parents with younger children, plus a new, Polish, family. The mother, Karolina, speaks good English - but her husband, Krystian, who'll be coming next week, doesn't. The son, Cezary, speaks no English. So next week will be interesting!

Today, everyone made a spicy fruit soda bread and a plain soda bread - with olive oil. I also demonstrated pancakes made with just self-raising flour and water.

I stayed on afterwards and made 4 cheese and tomato pizzas with a group of year 3 students. I also made a pancake with gluten-free self-raising flour and water for my support worker, Sue, who, since she can't eat wheat, never gets to taste what we've made.

Thursday 26th April.
Lancashire started a 4 day match against Somerset today - their first visit since they won the championship here back in September. I wanted to celebrate this by taking the visiting fans a bit of bread - so I invented Red Rose Iced Buns! To qualify for a bun the fan would have to have been here on that wonderful day.

400g flour, 3 dessertspoons of sugar, 250g yeast liquid  and a glug of olive oil, plus a good dash of  food colouring

Doubled in size - and perhaps left in the (very fierce, I have to say) oven for a bit too long

And iced. They look a bit scruffy - because I'm not very neat - and I was in a bit of a hurry. I'm told, however, they tasted gorgeous! (They're two-tone since I had to make up a bit more icing - and I didn't manage to match the first colour!)
I found a group of fans - not hard when one of the figures wore a huge hat decorated with red roses -and doled out the buns, which went down a treat!

I made these during spare moments in the morning session at Longrun. The residents made mincemeat doughnuts - I tried to introduce some marzipan into the doughnuts, but was thwarted by the support staff - mainly my good friend Emma! I did manage to sneak some into a couple of them whilst she wasn't looking!

The two doughnuts with lumps on top had the marzipan in. At the back there are several of Adrian's jam pasties, since we'd run out of mincemeat.
In the afternoon session, Matt, who'd seen the red iced buns decided he wanted a red snake - curried of course!

Matt's snake - and Guy's pointy rolls are in the top left-hand corner

One of his eyes had fallen off, unfortunately! 

Guy's rolls before baking, which he shaped entirely by himself!
Tuesday 24th April.
Out for a walk on the Quantocks today, with 5 friends. We were lucky - dead lucky - with the weather, since it was an absolutely gorgeous morning. It was a rare fine gap between heavy rain showers. i took along a doughnut for each of us that I'd made the previous evening. 

The dough was made with 300g of flour and 50g of Billington's molasses sugar, and the filling was marzipan and mincemeat (I found a jar in the fridge which needed using up).

They were very favourably received, and I'll make these again, probably on Thursday in my care home sessions.

[Pics to come]

Monday 23rd April.
Started the week with a visit to St Margaret's Hospice this morning, for a breadmaking demonstration. 

There were between 6-8 people in attendance (there was necessarily a bit of coming and going) and there was a lot of interest. One member of the group had made her own bread in the past, but none of the others had made bread. 

First I made a spicy fruit soda bread, measuring out the ingredients (1 mug flour to 1/3rd mug water), and followed this up with a plain soda bread without measuring anything - except a quarter of a teaspoon of salt. I simply poured some self raising flour in the bowl with the salt then added sufficient water to make a dough.

Whilst these two were in the oven I made a batch of fruit dough - yeast-risen this time - and demonstrated how I shape hot cross buns - and then turned the batch into half a dozen Chelsea buns.

All the bread went down very well - with the fruit soda bread being particularly enjoyed. (The Chelseas were left to be enjoyed after lunch.)

It was a lovely session with lots of questioning - and lots of laughter. This was my first visit to a hospice and I found the experience very positive. Great support from Steve and Kirsty in particular - thanks, guys!

No pics, I'm afraid - I simply forgot!

Thursday 19th April.
Bagels - plain and fruited, pretzels, fruit loaf, curried and plain bread rolls, garlic buns and parkin on the menu today at Longrun.

First the bagels and pretzels (which were really just bagels shaped differently):

One plain and six fruited bagels in the simmering water
Followed by some pretzels
The first five, baked
Pretzels and fruit bagels 
Fruit loaf
Adrian's fruit loaf. He's fine adding the ingredients and mixing the dough with a spatula, and he helped cut the loaf across, but he dislikes handling the dough - he will press the dough flat, and occasionally start to fold it during kneading, but that's about it.

Garlic buns and curried rolls
In the afternoon the residents made rolls and garlic buns to go with soup for dinner. The garlic buns are simply the garlic baton in the linked recipe cut into pieces, a la Chelsea buns. The filling was garlic paste mixed with butter.

Monday 16th April.
In preparation for a coffee morning at mine on Tuesday morning I made a batch of Chelsea buns, a Swedish tea ring and a parkin.

I huddled the two breads together so they would fit under  my upturned roasting dish
The buns were brushed with a sugar glaze and sprinkled with sugar, while the Swedish tea ring was dredged with icing sugar
Here's where I have to come clean! When baking my bread using the undercover method, the cover is taken off after a period - 8 minutes in this case, 12 or so minutes when I'm making bread rolls. So the underneath is colouring whilst the top isn't, because it's under cover. At some time in the baking period I switch the oven from top and bottom heating to just top heating so that the tops will colour whilst the bottom doesn't get any more baking.

When I was baking these breads the top just wasn't colouring as it should. Twice I put some of the buns, and the Swedish tea ring back in the oven to colour and I still wasn't completely happy with the colour when I thought they'd had enough time in the oven and took them out.

Only when I turned the oven off did I realise I'd actually switched the oven to bottom heat only! :( What a prat, I thought!

So I've had to apologise to my guests if they thought the buns and the cake were a bit dry - but to be honest they were very complementary, especially about the parkin.

Parkin is very dangerous to have around, so, after everyone left, I divided the remainder into 6 60g pieces and froze them. Out of sight out of mind!

Saturday 14th April.
Spent a lovely morning with about 10 families at the Hollies Children's Centre, Taunton, making fancy dinner rolls and a variety of shapes (story and pics here). Using a bread dough as the original playdough and having a lot of fun!

Thursday 12th April.
Early start today since I was holding a short taster session at the Taunton Academy before going off to my regular care home sessions.

The event was being held by a group called 'People Can', which is a charity set up to help the homeless and domestic abuse.

I could only stay for a short while - just long enough to make a small soda bread and a batch of fancy dinner rolls. I'd also taken along a pizza and a soda bread to offer as samples. The idea was that visitors to my stall would be encourage to sign up for a full breadmaking workshop in the coming weeks.

Halfway through my half hour slot I was asked by a young woman about the soda bread she'd just tasted, so I asked her if she'd like to make a loaf. She set to and very shortly afterwards, her loaf was in the oven. She took her bowl into the kitchen to wash it up and, when she returned, she said, "There's a question I just have to ask you, are you Paul the bread...?" 

Since I've been teaching breadmaking around Taunton for almost 20 years in various settings, I often meet people who know me by that name, so I hesitated before answering. The woman continued by saying, "...from the BBC Food boards?" 

I was quite delighted to meet Malyndi, who, whilst not posting on the Food board, keeps a close eye on it, and posts mainly on the Points of View board. (Her account is in message number 9 on that thread.)

The only other poster I've met from from these boards (where I've learned such a lot over the past 6 years) is DennisPC, whom I met socially.

I didn't have time to chat to Malyndi, which I'd dearly like to have done. I'm hoping she has signed up for the planned workshop.

There was half an A4 sheet, I'm told, filled with the names of people who are interested, so that's positive!

Monday 9th April.
Today's baking:

There seems to be a bun missing!
My son and his family are leaving this afternoon after a week's stay, so I wanted to give them something to take away with them. The parkin (gluten-free and vegan) is for my son. And Alfie again helped me to make the buns.

The spicy fruit buns - well, my daughter-in-law bet me I couldn't produce any as nice as the hot cross buns Alfie and I made over the weekend. They've been treated exactly the same - except there are no chopped dates, this time, but they contained 500g of chopped apricots and sultanas (weight after soaking for about 48 hours) to 400g of flour. They've also been made a bit smaller (16  from the batch as against 12) and I'm not going to glaze these since they'll be eating some of them on the journey - and sticky buns, in a car, well...

Sunday 8th April.
The grandchildren have had a young friend visit them today, Elsbeth. And it was decided they should all make some bread.I gave them the choice of pain au chocolat, jam doughnuts, iced buns or fancy dinner rolls and shapes - they chose fancy shapes that can be turned into iced buns. 

So Olivia, Alfie and Elsbeth lined up at the worktop and here's how it turned out:
Dough made with 1 mug of flour - dividing it into smaller pieces
Lots more pics here.

Later on I made a gluten-free vegan parkin for my son who has a wheat  (or gluten) allergy. This was a real success with everyone, which means I'm going to have to make another one tomorrow!

Friday 6th April.
Hot cross bun day! The grandchildren are visiting us, and Alfie was keen to make some. Here's the story. Plus pics.

Thursday 5th April.
HCBs at Longrun today [More to come]

Wednesday 4th April.
Breadmaking with my daughter and grandchildren this morning - made loads of mini-pizzas (cheese and tomato with mushrooms, mainly; plus a vegan pizza for myself. With some left-over dough I made some stuffed mushroom parcels. 

Tuesday 3rd April.

Saturday 31st March.
Another IAM drive this morning - just time to make a quick soda bread for my friend Allan:
Spicy fruit soda bread - with a good glug of olive oil. Makes for a lovely, soft crust.
Later that day I made a large olive focaccia loaf:

This took one whole jar of olives 
But it was, oh, so worth it!
Friday 30th March.
Halcon Primary School were playing hosts to some visitors from Greenfylde primary school in Ilminster, so it was decided to give the students a taste of pizza-making in the Dragon wood-fired oven.

So, accordingly, I arrived early at the Link Centre in Halcon to light the oven (I'd lit a small fire in there on Thursday morning to dry it out after a winter lay-off, with its risk of damp) in preparation. 

Later that day I was inspired by the weather - it was another, unseasonal, glorious evening - to fire up the chiminea. 5 pizzas, one calzone and a small loaf later, I finally sat down for the day.

Still not done with baking, though. About 10 in the evening I fancied a bit of pudding. A little googling turned up an easy peasy recipe for a vegan microwaved sponge pudding, featuring golden syrup, so I made one of these. It took about ten minutes and was very satisfying with a little Oatly cream.

[Recipe or link to come.]

Thursday 29th March.
Longrun this morning - for the first session, cheese and onion slices:

The nearest one was Tim's - you can just make out the T on the middle of the loaf. We'd been joined by Jane and Robert, Tim's parents, so we needed to mark Tim's in some way so they could have a taste.
Then in the afternoon we made pizzas, mainly, but Matt also made his curried snake and we also made a couple of chocolate logs:

Haven't quite got the knack of rolling them out without the cake cracking 

Half of one of them disappeared very quickly! (I had three pieces  myself - then went on a 24 hour semi-fast!)
Monday 26th March.
Anew venue for me this morning - Castle Cary primary school, on the far side of Somerset, for a Family Learning session. 

It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience - and now I can claim I've taught a French chef how to make bread!

Saturday 24th March.
Last night I began a 'No-knead, overnight' batch of pizza dough, with the intention of making one for my IAM observer, who was taking me out for another drive this morning, and some on my chiminea in the afternoon. 

For in truth this was a beautiful spring morning, with the thermometer forecast to reach 21C later today.

I used 500g of white bread flour, 2 teaspoons bouillon powder, some mixed herbs and 1/2 a teaspoon of curry powder, plus 320g of water, 4g of fresh yeast and 50g of the oil from a jar of sun-dried tomatoes.

I took out the dough and stretched and folded it a couple of times, then cut off 150g which will make a pizza for my wife (who hates tomatoes). I then chopped up half a dozen SDTs and folded them into the remaining dough.

I then took a further 250g of dough for the pizza for Allan, rolled it out and covered it with a rich tomato sauce and grated Cheddar plus a sprinkle of oregano:

Left to prove until the dough is risen and puffy.

Oven on full at 250C, heavy oven tray heated in the oven, pizza slid onto it - 10 minutes later, it was done!
In the afternoon, with the sun beating down, I got cracking with the chiminea - making four pizzas and two small loaves.

Friday 23rd March.

Small family learning session this morning - one family and 2 'strays'* from Year one, making cheese  fancy dinner rolls and cheese and onion slices.

Knots, whirls, twirls, swirls, twists and a plait, plus the initials 'L' for Lydia and 'C' for Cameron.  Jacob decided to combine three rolls into one and made a large plait, so he didn't need an initial.
(* Strays - those children whose parents are unable to attend Family Learning sessions for whatever reason. The Family Liaison officer, Jenny, tries to ensure that everyone in the school gets a chance to make bread on occasion.)

I never did get around to taking a photo of the cheese and onion slices - or the Swedish Tea Rings we made with the group of year 3 children which followed the FL session.

In the afternoon I had a session at the hostel for the homeless where we made pizzas, sizzlers, Chelsea buns and hot cross buns. Once again I fell down lamentably in taking pics:

3 batches of sizzlers squashed together on one tray. That's the only pic I took! :(
Thursday 22nd March.
Lovely spring morning here in Somerset - so much so that I left my fleece in the car! 

I'd watched an episode of The Hairy Bikers, earlier in the week, where they were in the Low Countries and made Zeeland Bolus - a type of cinnamon rolls - which inspired me to have a go.

I bought a packet molasses sugar - the least refined and darkest of the brown sugars - on my way to Longrun this morning, and we had a go.

Students and care workers together, made a sweetened dough with mixed spice. (I forgot to buy any lemons, which this recipe calls for.) Then I mixed ground cinnamon with the sugar - with great difficulty, since the sugar was very clumped together.

The rolls were then rolled out in the sugar and cinnamon into long ropes, and then tied into simple knots:

Just formed and put to prove

Ready to go into the oven

Baked. Because of their colour, it wasn't easy to tell when they were done!
In the afternoon session it was decided that the students would make pizzas for everyone for their evening meal:

Tuesday 20th March.
Early start this morning, to a Family Learning course (an established course teaching numeracy and literacy and healthy eating) at Westover Green in Bridgwater. 6 families with young children (year one), 2 of whom were making their own bread and 4 of whom had never it made at all. They were all very enthusiastic and set to with a will. 

Each family made a bread dough, and from that a batch of rolls to make whatever shapes the children wanted. 

While the bread was proving and baking, the tutor showed the group the ingredients list from several sliced, wrapped loaves from a supermarket. The biggest surprise to the mothers was that the bread contained mould inhibitor - calcium propionate.

They then tasted these breads, alongside the fresh rolls they'd made - and it was no contest. The youngsters especially enjoyed their own bread. The parents were very interested in the comparison also between the cost of home-made bread and commercial stuff.

Monday 19th March.
Another 50% cutback today -  with the twist that I had no breakfast.  Still feeling fine.

Sunday 18th March.
Needed to make a batch of rolls for my daughter to take home with her. Her husband likes a granary-type bread, so I used half a packet of Dove's Malthouse flour along with 100g wholemeal and 100g of white. To this I added my usual flaxseed - 70g - plus 30g each sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. And I used the undercover method, dividing the dough into 14 rolls, rather than 12.

Friday 16th March.

A busy, but very satisfying day, with three sessions back to back!

First I had my usual Family Learning session, making Chelsea buns, hot cross buns plus jam doughnuts and pain au chocolat, followed by my four year 3 students who each made a Swedish tea ring (to be shared by the rest of their classmates before going home time). 

[I can never remember to take pics of these sessions! :( ]

Then it was a mad dash across town to the hostel for homeless, eating lunch on the way, where I had a small group of residents and a couple of members of staff in a session. The only one of the six who had made bread before was a staff member who had attended one of my courses previously - the rest were complete beginners. All of them were interested in cookery, however.

Apparently it is St Patrick's day tomorrow, so the cook was keen for everyone to make Irish soda bread to go with the Irish stew she'd made for dinner. However, in the absence of any buttermilk, we just made plain soda bread. First I do a demo of how I make a loaf, then the students follow suit. Four of the students made a white soda bread, the others used some wholemeal with baking powder:

This was all that was left of the soda bread, 20 minutes after they came out of the  oven.
Following my comment that "As soon as the bread is cool enough to eat - it's ready!" someone produced a pat of butter and the guys just fell on the bread. They could not believe that what was just flour and water a mere 30 minutes earlier, had been transformed into this wonderful bread. 

Then it was back to work, this time making a sweet, yeast-risen dough to turn into jam doughnuts, petit pain au chocolat and iced buns:

At the top left of the picture you'll see Dave's  mincemeat and banana  calzone and,  next to it, a rolled up bread filled with barleycup and honey (no, I'd never heard of it, either!) He said it was delicious.
This was a very satisfying session - there's nothing I like better than enthusing newcomers with a love of  breadmaking, and this was a very enthusiastic group! Must admit I went home on a bit of a high!

Next week - the last session until sometime in May - we're planning to make pizzas, sizzlers, Chelsea buns and hot cross buns.

Thursday 15th March.

Took a tin of sliced peaches in to Longrun today, intending to make Danish pastries (didn't have any tinned apricots):

Each student made a batch of dough with 160g of flour. This was rolled out, spread with about 25g of Flora (which had been in the freezer for about 20 minutes), folded up three times, then folded 4 times - from each end (as in closing a book). This was then rolled out into a rectangle and cut into 6 or 9 squares.

We filled the pastries with apricot jam and tinned peaches - mainly making windmill shapes. They were a bit rough and ready, but I'm told they were jolly tasty!

Later on, Matt made his usual curried snake bread:

Wednesday 14th March.
Well, well, well, who'd 'a' thowt it? (Sorry, bit of Lancashire vernacular, there!)

Last week a friend of mine at Halcon Primary asked me about gluten-free, egg-free baking. So today I bought (or I thought I did) some gluten-free self-raising flour (Doves) and made both a chocolate cake and a small soda bread - which both turned out absolutely splendid! And then I realised the flour I'd picked up was the normal flour made from wheat, so it wasn't gluten-free after all! 

Undeterred, I tried again with some gluten-free bread flour, to which I added some baking powder. And, once again, I had some success. The chocolate cake was brilliant - I had two cakes side by side so I was able to make a direct comparison. The one made with wheat flour was marginally better - but the gluten-free cake was still excellent. The soda bread wasn't quite so good, but it was still very acceptable. 

I'll write up these two recipes later today - I'm off to Longrun in a minute. (Posted on Thursday morning!)

Now into my 3rd week of my eating less programme - and still feeling great. Odd moment of hunger, but it soon passes. There are signs that my stomach has shrunk somewhat, but I can't be certain about that.

Saturday 10th March.
Off to Stogumber this morning for a day's breadmaking with a group of friends - and friends of friends.
Story and pics.

Friday 9th March.
Loaves of bread and pizzas this morning:

I wasn't sure the lumps and bumps on Lydia's knotted loaf would survive as the bread rose - 
But, as you can see, they didn't do too badly! 

Lewis and Aidan's pizzas
Zak and his mum, Anne, were particularly pleased with the plaited loaf. They'd not made bread before, but Anne couldn't wait to get home to make another loaf. The other students had all attended my before and knew what to expect.

Thursday 8th March.
2 visitors from the Dairy House today, Jo and Sarah, to my session at Longrun - making pain au chocolat and chocolate and banana bread.  Jo made the pain au chocolat and Sarah made the chocolate and banana bread, seen with a 'D' on top in the pic. Of the residents, Tixie and Tim made chocolate and banana bread, whilst Sarah made pain au chocolat and Vicky made chocolate, fruit and coconut buns:

All the bread made in the first session
 I was pleasantly surprised by the buns, which contain a few pieces of Galaxy, chopped, sultanas and desiccated coconut - which I don't particularly like, generally.

In the afternoon Will, Adrian and Eric made some fruit loaves, which also contained ginger, porridge oats and molasses. Matt made his usual curried fruit bread, which started out as a snake and turned into his initial!

The loaves were OK, but perhaps needed to be a bit sweeter. 
Wednesday 7th March.
A beautifully sunny afternoon drew me outdoors to fire up the chiminea for the second time this year - and I immediately went back in to put a coat on, the wind was bitter! Nevertheless, I still managed to turn out some good pizzas and sizzlers.

Monday 5th March.
On Saturday I'm running a breadmaking workshop in Stogumber, with a group of friends. We'll be making a whole range of breads - probably well over a dozen I would have thought, although I haven't done the detailed planning, yet. However, I have sent out the initial letter preparing the students.

Sunday 4th March.
Needed some more bread rolls today, so I thought I'd give the autolyse method another go. Once again I cocked up the amounts - can't add up these days! The jury's still out on whether this method delivers more flavour, but the rolls do seem to be a bit lighter. But that could be down to the way I mucked about with the dough.

Thursday 1st March.
We were joined by a new student, Sarah, this morning - from the Dairy House, another care home that shares the same site with Longrun.

The bread we were making was Swedish Tea Ring, with a twist:

The 'D' denotes that it's Sarah from the Dairy House's loaf.  
Here's the rest of the loaves:

The twist is that they all contain slices of Mars bar through the middle instead of the traditional slivered almonds!
In the afternoon, apart from the usual chocolate cake, we made curried snake bread (Matt):

Curried snake bread (Matt)

Guy's Peshwari naan, yeast-risen
We also made a batch of

Flour and water pancakes
 - which Luke (who was assisting me today) learned how to toss! No lemon juice, so we had them with honey. Very nice.

Wednesday 29th February.
3rd session of 3 with the Wellington Children's Centre this morning, making pain au chocolate and jam doughnuts. Only three families came along (it never helps to have a break in a course) and the two support workers joined in - it was a lovely little session with some very keen and enthusiastic students. 

Tuesday 28th February.
To the delightful Somerset village of Stogumber for our monthly coffee morning with 5 friends. There were scones and cake provided - but nothing vegan, so I knocked up a few pancakes.

For a bit of a dramatic effect I poured some self-raising flour into a bowl, add cold water direct from the tap and stirred, adding more water to get the right consistency, whisked to get the lumps out and started making pancakes.

I made about 5 large ones. Our host had some Demarara sugar and also some lovely, plump sultanas - which turned the pancakes into a tasty treat.

Monday 27th February.
In response to recent research on the positive effects of eating less, I've decided to have a couple of days a week when I cut my food intake in half. So I started today - and logged the details here.

Thursday 16th February.
Apfel kuchen, molasses and ginger loaf in the morning - and, in the afternoon, a startling curried Bassett's liquorice allsorts bread:

Matt had been shopping that morning and came back with a packet of liquorice - what else should he put on his curried naan bread (along with some filling from apple turnovers that other students were making)

Oh dear! Probably still taste OK if you ask Matt!
Sunday 12th February.
Whilst waiting for my son to bring my grandchildren down I made a couple of soda breads for my son-in-law - they're a favourite of his:

One traditional and one Italian soda bread 
They were a revelation - I put a good glug of olive oil in the mix and it made a huge difference to the texture and flavour.
For several years I've only made soda bread with self-raising flour and salt - I cut out olive oil in the bread made in my Family Learning sessions, thinking it might put the parents off. After making these today I shall have to at least give them the alternative - they were gorgeous. And the crust was very soft - totally unlike the usual soda bread

Saturday, 11th February.
Made a batch of wholemeal rolls and some parkin tonight, in preparation for a visit on the morrow to my daughter's to pick up my grandchildren on the Sunday.

Friday, 10th February.
Spicy fruit buns, hot cross buns and Chelsea buns (all from the same mix) plus cheese, potato and onion pasties:

3 batches - each costing less than 50p.
Last session with this group - new students after half term.

In the afternoon I made my 2nd to last visit to Westleigh House, where I've been running a breadmaking session for the last 10 years or so.

We made several schiacciata con l'uva. There was quite a bit of yeast liquid left, so I made a dozen or so fruit pikelets whilst they were cooking:

Just a handful of dried fruit in the pikelets lifts them to a whole new level! Here they are drying from the outside. 

And then turned over
This is also known as '2 harvest bread'. The dried fruit from last year and the grapes from this.
And, finally, in the evening, I managed to bottle 4.7 kilos of ginger marmalade!

Thursday, 9th February.
Fun with pesto at Longrun House today - canapes, mainly, made with bread dough of course, which contained veg Oxo cubes and mixed herbs:

Half a teaspoon of pesto covered by a combination of onion, pepper, mushrooms. Bit of dough made into a breadstick and a couple of vegan sizzlers*. The bread at top left was made with leftover dough and all the bits of veg that were left.
 *The vegan sizzlers contained mushroom pate, mushrooms and chopped sun-dried tomatoes. These were for my lunch - and very tasty they were, too!
More canapes... 
...some with sun-dried tomatoes

The pesto does tend to spread and dry out a bit - but the flavour remains!
Adrian's breadsticks - rolled all by himself

Wednesday, 8th February.
Started some marmalade last night. 1.6kg of fruit including 1kg Seville oranges. I'll post the recipe and method soon - suffice it to say it will contain loads of ginger and some Benedictine!

No Wellington's Children Centre this morning since I had a medical appointment - the session has been re-scheduled for the 22nd.

Saturday 4th February.
No breadmaking today, but made my second attempt at Lancashire parkin, this evening. Used wholemeal flour instead of white, and it's turned out to be much closer to the cake  Iremember from my youth

Thursday 2nd February.
Fruit and nut bread in the first session at Longrun House this morning - a mixture of crushed cashew nuts and walnuts along with chopped dates and sultanas. Cinnamon and mixed spice was also added, and the dough shaped into a couple of flower loaves:

Fresh out of the oven...

And decorated. (Memo to self: keep an eye out for a cake decorating course!)
The students also made Belgian buns and Chelsea buns.

In the afternoon we played around with some star cutters and made:

A variety of iced buns

Here's Luke helping Eric decorate his buns

And taking the mickey!
Here's Matt's bread - curried, sweet, gingerbread men
Iced buns.

Wednesday 1st February.
This morning, in a delightful session organised by Wellington Children's Centre, 7 young mothers and their babies and toddlers made  cheese and tomato pizzas.

Monday 30th January.
In contrast to yesterday's damp squib, today's breadmaking at Glebe Primary School was a great success - with these results:

Sunday 29th January.
I was supposed to hold a workshop at St Paul's, London, with the OccupyLSX folks - but it never happened! Here's the story.

One session that will go ahead is tomorrow's session with my granddaughter Olivia's year 4 class. 

No comments:

Post a Comment