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.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016


Making your own bread is one of the easiest and most satisfying things you can do when money is short. And, if you have your children to help you, it’s also a great deal of fun!

The cheapest bread you can make is a soda bread - just s/raising flour, salt and water. But there are many things that can be made with just those cheap ingredients.

On to yeast-risen bread. Contrary to what you may have heard, making your own bread is actually one of the easiest things you can do in your kitchen! It's also healthy, cheap, and a great deal of fun!

With own brand white bread flour at between 75p-£1.10 for a 1.5kg bag, three large (800g) loaves can be made for less than £1, depending on how your oven is heated:

"If you are considering buying a new cooker, remember that a gas main oven costs around 5p an hour to run, compared to an electric main oven, which costs about 17p per hour."   

Here are three ways of making your own loaves – one method takes an hour, hour and a half, or so; one will take you several hours; and the other, left to mature overnight, will take about ten minutes in the evening and the same in the morning – dead easy!

But it’s not just that you’ll save making your own loaves:
A decent-sized cheese and tomato pizza can be made for less than 80p!
A batch of hot cross buns for less than 30p! (Once you've made these buns, here you'll find the recipes for half a dozen or so varieties of fruit breads you can make - all delicious, and cheap!)

You’re a family of four with one banana – but you’d like a pudding. With a little chocolate spread, make a chocolate and banana loaf! It’ll cost you pennies. Check out the Banoffee bread variation, using a Mars bar – it really does taste like banoffee pie!

Anything made with pastry can be made using bread dough – containing no expensive fats, it’s both cheaper and healthier!

Got a jar of jam in your fridge? Then make some jam tarts, large or small – or make some healthy jam doughnuts. Perhaps you’ve some leftover mincemeat to use up – mincemeat doughnuts are wonderful!

Make a small bar of chocolate last all day by making a batch of pain au chocolat – chocolate rolls.

What about these apple and marzipan tartlets? Mouthwateringly good - and so simple to make! You only need an apple and some ground cinnamon and a little marzipan

While you’re making your pizza, double up the amount of dough and make four cheese and tomato/mushroom sizzlers (small bread wraps) as well – these are great for lunch boxes! (As is a slice of pizza – keeps fresher than a sandwich!)

There's more - much more - but I wanted to get this up and posted. Have a look around the blog and see what takes your fancy. Remember, you'll save money everytime you make something at home, rather than buying the finished product!

Have fun!

Yeast - fresh yeast (the best sort, IMO) can be obtained from any small baker (who bakes on the premises) or from a couple of supermarkets at the bakery counter:
Asda give it away 
Sainsbury's will charge I think it's 19p for 50g/60 for 200g
Morrison's will tell you it's in the chiller counters (it never is!), and,
Tesco's generally don't want to know!

However, all these supermarkets sell 125g of dried active yeast - Allinson's, in a yellow tin - for 64p, currently. For small batches of dough, use the same amount of dried as fresh - for larger amounts, use half the amount of dried to fresh.

Sachets of fast-action yeast can come in handy sometimes, but be aware it isn't 100% yeast, there are additives in there. Plus it's about 3 times the cost of the dried active. If you do need to buy some, get the own-brand version.

Flour. You'll get better results from strong, or bread flour, than you will from plain, although half and half works fine. I use own-brand white bread flour but I go for Doves organic wholemeal bread flour at £1.99 a bag. It's a very tasty flour.

Olive oil, if you can afford it, helps to improve the quality and keeping property of your bread. Lidl and Aldi basic brands score highly in tests and a 750g bottle will only set you back £2.20 or so and it lasts for ages.

I use basic ingredients - dried fruits, jam, cheapo grated cheese (I've never understood why this is cheaper than blocks of cheese - but it is!) and get fantastic results. Bread seems to bring out the best in other ingredients, somehow.

Maybe I'm biased! :)

(If you'd prefer, here's a 'Breadmaking for beginners' post to start you off.)

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