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.

Saturday, 25 May 2013


No need to go without any treats on the 5:2 WOL - but if you need to know how many calories you are eating, these buns come in at around 160 calories.

(Here's the original version - with pics.)

300g strong white flour - 1032 cals
25g granulated sugar - 100c
2 teaspoons mixed spice - ?
200g dried fruit (currants, sultanas or raisins) - 586c
1 dessertspoon fresh yeast or 1 teaspoon dried yeast - 12c
200ml lukewarm water

10g vegetable oil - 82c
10g sugar to sprinkle - 40c

Brush with a glaze made with 1 dessertspoon sugar and 2 dessertspoons boiling water. Sprinkle with sugar. (I haven't counted these calories - you don't need a topping if you're watching your calories!)

1. Place the flour, sugar, spice and dried fruit into a mixing bowl, and mix to distribute the ingredients. Measure the water and stir in the yeast until it dissolves (dried yeast takes longer to dissolve than fresh). Add the yeast liquid to the dry ingredients, and 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).

3. Mix into a sticky dough - if it's not sticky add another 25g of water to make it so - and knead for 10-20 seconds.

4. Dip your hands in a little flour and rub off as much of the dough sticking to your hands as you can before you wash them. Invert the bowl over your dough and leave for 10-20 minutes.

5. Knead it again for a short period and leave it as before.

6. Knead for a third time - and this time you should notice that the dough is less and less sticky. Once again leave it for a bit.

7. When you're happy with the dough, leave it - covered - for at least an hour if you can

8. When you're ready to proceed, roll the dough out into a rectangle, 40cm by 25cm, with the long edges across in front of you. Brush with oil, leaving a centimetre gap along the bottom edge and sprinkle with the sugar. Roll up the dough towards you, along the long side, as you would a Swiss roll. Cut into 10-12 pieces and place, cut side uppermost on a prepared baking sheet.

9. Cover with a dry tea towel and leave to prove on your worktop until the buns have grown appreciably in size.

10. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes at 220C 425F or gas mark 7, checking the colour underneath the buns – they should be browned evenly across the bottom. You may need to remove the buns on the outside, which have browned underneath, and replace the others in the oven, upside down if necessary. Brush them with the glaze when they come out of the oven and place on a cooling rack.

9. Place the buns on a piece of baking parchment so that they are just touching. Place the paper on a baking tray and cover with a roasting dish. Leave until the rolls are roughly doubled in size then bake at 220C for 10 minutes before removing the roasting dish. Continue baking until the top of the rolls are browned sufficiently - say 5-10 minutes. Brush them with the glaze when they come out of the oven and place on a cooling rack.

Soaking fruit.
I'm a great fan of soaking the fruit in water* for several hours - overnight, preferably, and use some of the liquid. Here are 400g of sultanas and chopped, dried, unsulphured apricots:

Pour off as much liquid as possible before adding to the dough - and reduce the liquid amount in the recipe by at least 25ml.
*Tip: Soak the fruit in wine for a few weeks before Christmas - makes a lovely dessert wine.

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