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, 21 July 2013


Stop Press: The last I heard is that there are still two places left. Get in touch if this appeals.

21st July 2013

Here's the letter I sent this morning for the organiser to distribute to the students:

Breadmaking made easy workshops, 10.00am - 4.00pm

27th July and 3rd August at Hadspen Village Hall

Dear Student,

This letter sets out what I intend will happen on the first 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 out what you expect to get out of the day’s session so that I can hope to 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 first workshop as it stands:
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

Sourdough: Sometime on the first workshop, you’ll be creating a sourdough starter to take home. For this you’ll need a jar of some kind – an ordinary jam jar would be fine - a 1ltr Kilner jar would be perfect! On the following Sunday we’ll use this to make a sourdough loaf.

If you don’t see the bread you’ve always wanted to make on this list, get in touch and we’ll see how we could fit it in to the programme.     

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 I’ve started a post, “Hadspen breadmaking”, which contains all (most) of what you need to know about the course, including all 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.

I have several aims for this course, one of which is that everyone should enjoy themselves! 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. Cost 20p.

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 ring 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 over these two Saturdays!

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
Jar for the sourdough starter

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

Overall programme:
Soda breads
Fancy dinner rolls and freeform loaves
Small filled savoury breads – from sizzlers through stuffed parathas to pierogis and baozi (Chinese buns)
Larger filled savoury breads – from pasties to calzones to pane casereccio
Hot cross buns, through Chelseas to apfel kuchen (German apple cake) or schiacciata con l’uva
Flatbreads – from naan through pitta to trenchers and focaccia to pizzas
Sweetened breads – from iced buns through Devonshire splits to pain au chocolat and jam doughnuts
No-knead overnight bread
Yeast-risen batters – pikelets and socca

1st July 2013

Following the successful Breadmaking Made Easy course at Hornblotton in May, I've been asked by a student on the course to run a similar course at Hadspen Village Hall in South Somerset, on July 27th and August 3rd.

Here's the programme so far:
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.

On the second Saturday students will decide themselves which breads we make - possibly sweet calzone; cheese, broccoli and potato pasties; sweet and savoury canapés. But we'll definitely include sourdough.

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