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.

Sunday, 8 December 2013


 Saturday 7th December 2013.
I have to report that the workshop went very well! All the students left with half a dozen varieties of freshly made bread - and the confidence that they have the ability and the knowhow to attempt to make any bread they fancy. 

12 students turned up - our target audience, and all enjoyed a day of successful breadmaking. About half of the students had breadmaking machines - about which they were rather embarrassed, which they had no need to, of course! My view about bread machines is that they are just another kitchen tool - one containing a small mixer and a small oven. Machine users are at least controlling the quality of the food they eat - and I think they bring people into breadmaking.

I didn't take many pics - but here's what I've got. Amanda, one of my students from the Hornblotton course who arranged this day, took quite a few more. She intends to publish them on the village website - and I'll post a link to them when this happens.

Here are a few of the participants:

Round about 12.45, lunches began appearing out of the oven:

 Each with a distinctive letter on top to identify it.

More bakers getting stuck in:L

Marzipan pinwheels made with some surplus dough
[More to come]

As a result of a course I ran on two consecutive Sundays at Hornblotton in early May, I've been asked to conduct a one day workshop at High Ham.

Because there will be students on the workshop who also attended the Hornblotton course, I shall try and vary the breads on offer.

As my planning for this workshop develops, I'll post it up here - so, more to come! :)

Monday 2nd December

Letter to students in advance of the session:

2nd December 2013

Christmas Breadmaking Workshop, 10.00am - 4.00pm
23rd November at High Ham Village Hall

Dear Student,

This letter sets out what I intend will happen during the day and includes a list of items which you will need in the session. If you are new to breadmaking, let me reassure you that it is much easier than you may have been led to believe. It is indeed, ‘easy peasy’! Oh, and it’s also a lot of fun, as you’ll find out!

The session will begin in a relaxed fashion – the first thing you need to do is to find somewhere at the side of the hall to park all your stuff, get yourself a drink and a chair to sit on round the tables in the middle.

Before we start breadmaking I’d like to spend some time finding a little about each other, and what you expect to get out of the day’s session so that I can better meet all your requirements.

Lunch. We’ll be eating around 12.30-1.00, and everyone will make their own. All you need to bring is a little cheese – say 50g – and a tomato or a mushroom.

Here’s the programme for the workshop as it stands:

1.     Soda bread focaccia
2.     Potato pizza - lunch
3.     Xmas loaf
4.     Mince pies/tarts/doughnuts
5.     Fun with mincemeat
6.     Stuffed mushroom en croute and grissini

I have a blog, which I call “No bread is an island”, in which I write about – among other things – my teaching practice. On here have a post, “Breadmaking made easy at High Ham”, which contains all (most) of what you need to know about the course, including my planning:

Keep an eye on this, if you can – and check out the many recipes on the blog, including those for the breads I’ve already mentioned.

If you’re interested in sourdough, I’ll have some of my sourdough starter with me. Bring along a container – a small jar would be fine – if you’d like to take some home with you.

I have several aims for this course, one of which is that everyone should enjoy himself or herself! Another is that everyone will make good bread. At any time during the day the kettle can go on for a mug of tea or coffee.

I'm sorry if this all sounds a bit daunting. Please let me assure you that it will all fall into place quite easily. If you have any suggestions, (or concerns) at all, please don't hesitate to contact me, I'm always very happy to talk to my students about bread.

Finally, can I draw your attention to the word ‘Companion’? The ‘com’ part means together – as in community – and the ‘pan’ part of the word means bread. So ‘Companions’ are people who make bread together! Which is what we shall be doing this Saturday!

Best regards,

Paul Youd (Course Tutor)

You will need to bring:
Several tea towels, both to cover your dough whilst it's proving and to wrap any warm bread in to take home.
Something to carry away the finished products (a large basket or cardboard box lined with tea towels would be ideal)
Mug for hot drinks
Sourdough container (if you’re interested in this)

You can also bring the following items – but they’re not essential:
Kitchen timer (if you have one)
Set of measuring spoons
Any favourite cooking utensil – sharp knife/scissors are always useful
Your favourite baking tray
Your favourite weighscales

An update - 3rd September

There has been lots of interest in your bread day in December...I am sure you are not surprised. We have 12 places filled, and a reserve list of 3 - one of the 3 attended a course with you a few years ago and wants more!. All booked within week of advertising. 

I am available on the day to act as skivvy. The kitchen area is twice size of Hornblotton, and I am sure the cooker/0ven is larger than standard size. the main room is large with plenty of Formica tables. I will get the set up before you arrive, for you to arrange to suit. I will supply the coffee/teas.

To which I replied:

Thanks, Amanda, that's wonderful!
I've put your email on the High Ham post on my blog:
I've also realised that the 7th Dec is coming up to Christmas - Duh! - so I shall include my Christmas loaf and perhaps some fun with mincemeat in the programme.
Cheers, Paul
Sunday 30th June

Breadmaking at High Ham

Soda bread – with variations
Sizzlers (wraps) for lunch + fancy dinner rolls
Loaf – wholemeal or white plus seeds
Chelsea buns, spicy fruit buns
Focaccia and pizza

This is just the suggested programme – for those with some experience of breadmaking I can offer these variations – apfel kuchen instead of Chelseas, fougasse instead of focaccia, calzone instead of pizza.

And I haven’t forgotten the sweet calzone; cheese, broccoli and potato pasties; sweet and savoury canapés I mentioned earlier.

Let me know what you think.

I’ll stick all this up on the website for students to see – and comment if they wish.

For anyone with the slightest interest in breadmaking, this workshop will cover the techniques and methods needed to turn out a range of delicious breads. You will learn how easy, economical and healthy home breadmaking is. With over 20 years of experience to call on, Paul guides everyone in the making of at least half a dozen different breads: From soda bread to focaccias; from fancy dinner rolls to Chelsea buns. You will astonish yourself with your expertise!

Just emailed these suggestions to the organiser:

As for a programme - both the Chelseas and the focaccia lend themselves to variations. We could do calzones instead (or as a choice) instead of pizza - plus a sweet calzone. Cheese, broccoli and potato pasties always go down well. Sweet and savoury canapes spring to mind. Have a look around and see what you'd like to make.

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