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.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012


This was made with the help of one of my Adults with Learning Difficulties students - and there's a batch of Chelsea buns on the same tray. 
Two harvest bread*

200g (or 1 mug) strong white flour
1 tablespoons sugar
100g (or 1/2 mug) sultanas
1 dessertspoon fresh yeast or 1 teaspoon dried yeast
125ml (or 1/3rd mug) lukewarm water
2 tablespoons olive oil 

Seedless grapes and a dessertspoon of sugar 

1. Measure the water and stir in the yeast to dissolve. Place the flour, sugar and dried fruit into a mixing bowl, pour in the yeast liquid, then add the olive oil.

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. Knead until the dough becomes smooth – and then stop before you get fed up!

4. Either leave it on your worktop under an upturned bowl for an hour or so, or go straight to step 5.

5. Roll the dough out to a circle about 1.5cm thick, place it on a prepared baking sheet and cover with the grapes. Sprinkle with sugar.

6. Leave to prove until the dough is risen and puffy and bake at 200C (Gas mark 6) for around 15 to 20 minutes - but check after 10.

*The term ‘Two harvest bread', comes from the fact that, in Tuscany, the sultanas are from last year and the grapes from this. (If you soak the sultanas in wine it becomes ‘Three harvest bread'!) 


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