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, 29 January 2013

5:2 DIET - SIMPLE CHOCOLATE CAKE (VEGAN)

[Some pics here]

Ingredients:
165g self raising flour (I use Sainsbury's Basic)

200g sugar
25g cocoa powder
80g vegetable oil

250g water

Method:
Measure the dry ingredients, sifting the flour and the cocoa powder, then add the oil and water. Stir, initially with a dessertspoon, and then with a whisk, then pour into a prepared 20cm (8") cake tin.

Bake at 180C (gas 5) for 35-40 minutes.

Calories:
165 flour = 355 x 1.65 = 586
200 sugar = 400 x 2 = 800
25 cocoa powder = 355 x .25 = 89
80 oil = 900 x .8 = 720

Total= 2195

The finished cake weighed 640g. 13 slices at around 50g each, say, would give 170 calories a slice.

Cost:

Last time I checked, the ingredients came to 70p – or 5.5p a slice.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

SPELT LOAF


500g (3 mugs) wholemeal spelt flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 dessertspoon fresh yeast or teaspoon of dried active or fast action yeast
315ml (1 mug) lukewarm water
2 tablespoons olive oil (optional, but improves keeping qualities)

Method:
1. Measure the water and stir in the yeast until it has dissolved. Place the flour and salt into a mixing bowl, pour in the yeast liquid, then 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). 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. If the dough is too sticky, instead of putting extra flour on your worktop, place some in the bowl, put the dough back in and turn it round to coat it all over. That way you keep the flour under control and you won’t be tempted to add too much. Knead until the dough becomes smooth – and then stop before you get fed up!

4. Either leave your dough in the bowl, covered with a dry tea towel, for an hour or so, or go straight to step 5.

5. Oil a large loaf tin and have it ready, then shape the dough by pressing it out into a rough rectangle and rolling it up tightly. Put the dough into the tin with the seam underneath.

5. Or: For a freeform loaf, shape the loaf by pulling up the dough at the sides with your fingertips and pushing it down in the middle; do that all round the dough. This will have the effect of smoothing the underneath of the dough. Then turn it over and shape it into a round. Place it on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment.

6. Cover with a dry tea towel and leave to prove on your worktop until it has grown appreciably in size. (As a general rule, spelt breads rise a little quicker than wheat breads – so keep an eye on it.) Bake at 220C, 425F or gas mark 7 for about 25-30 minutes.

7. The loaf is ready when it has browned on the sides and bottom. You may need to put it back in upside down, for a few more minutes. It is better overbaked than underbaked.


Thursday, 10 January 2013

VEGAN, BREAD CANAPES FOR A 5:2 DIET


Calorie counted canapes made with a bread dough (makes approx. 26)

Simple mushroom canapes - each containing 36 calories!
Ingredients:
200g strong white flour
10g bouillon powder
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon mixed herbs
1 tsp fresh yeast
125ml lukewarm water

Plus:
69g Pateole mushroom pate
125g mushrooms
Black pepper
Dried oregano

Method:
1. Measure the water and stir in the fresh yeast. Place the flour, bouillon powder, herbs and garlic in a mixing bowl, stir to distribute the ingredients and pour in the yeast liquid.

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. If the dough is too sticky, instead of putting extra flour on your worktop, place some in the bowl, put the dough back in and turn it round to coat it all over. That way you keep the flour under control and you won’t be tempted to add too much. Knead until the dough becomes smooth – and then stop before you get fed up!

4. Leave the dough to rest whilst you prepare a baking sheet and gather your ingredients. When you are ready to proceed, take the dough out of the mixing bowl and form it gently into a cob shape. Have plenty of flour to hand and liberally scatter flour over the dough and worktop. With a rolling pin, roll it into a circle about 25-30cm across. 

5. Use a pastry cutter to create circles of dough, or a pizza cutter to create 5-6cm squares and place them on a prepared baking tray. 

6. Spread half a teaspoon of pate over each circle or square followed by a slice of mushroom. Sprinkle with black pepper and dried oregano.

7. Bake at 220C, 425F or gas mark 7 for between 8-10 minutes. They should be browning underneath.

Calories:

216g flour (including 16g for rolling out) = 730 cals
10g bouillon powder = 24 cals
3g curry powder = 3 cals
69g pate = 151 cals
125g mushrooms = 17 cals

730 + 24 + 3 + 151 + 17 = 925

Divided by 26  = 35.6 calories per canape





Tuesday, 1 January 2013

FUN WITH MINCEMEAT - AND REINDEER DROPPINGS

Or: What to do with that leftover mincemeat!

Christmas shapes, mainly with mincemeat.

Since the beginning of December I have been making nothing but Christmas breads in my sessions:
Mincemeat doughnuts
Mincemeat snowmen, snowballs, Christmas trees, stars – and reindeer poo!

Some sessions I’ve simply called, ‘Fun with mincemeat’.


Here’s my basic sweet dough recipe for the mincemeat filled breads:

Ingredients:
200g strong white flour                                                      
1 dsp sugar      
1 tsp mixed spice (optional)                 
1 tsp fresh yeast
125ml lukewarm water
1 tbs olive oil (optional)
                       
Filling:
A small jar of mincemeat       

Dough:
  1. Measure the water and stir in the fresh yeast. Place the flour, sugar and mixed spice into a mixing bowl, pour in the yeast liquid, then add the olive oil if using.
  1. 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.
  1. 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!
Shapes:
Christmas tree: Divide the dough into two, form into balls and roll out into two ovals. Cut out 2 Christmas tree shapes and a small star. Place one of the tree shapes on your prepared baking tray.

Spread mincemeat over the tree on your tray and place the other tree shape over the top. Place the star at the top of the tree and press the dough of the star and the tree together.

After baking, brush with sugar glaze and stick slivers of different coloured glace cherries for candles on the branches. Or just dredge icing sugar over your tree.

Snowmen: Roll out the dough to a large pizza size. Using a set of pastry cutters, cut an equal number of large, medium and small circles. Place half of them on your prepared baking tray with the medium circles overlapping the large circles, then the small circles overlapping the medium circles to form snowmen shapes. Spread mincemeat over the snowmen, then put the top circles on. After baking, sprinkle with icing sugar.


Snowballs. Exactly the same as snowmen - place one circle of dough on the baking sheet, place a teaspoon of mincemeat in the middle, then cover with another circle of dough.


Reindeer poo. Any leftover bit of dough can be turned into reindeer poo. Divide the dough into four and shape into small balls. Place three on the baking sheet, huddled together, then place the last one on top. When these are baked they can be covered in melted chocolate. When the chocolate is cold, you can sprinkle these with a little icing sugar to represent snow.

  1. When your bread is shaped, leave to prove until the dough has become puffy.
  1. Bake at 220C, 425F or gas mark 7 for between 10-15 minutes. Look for some shade of brown underneath. Place on a cooling rack. When cool, add the finishing touches.



And this batch was made with one of my students with learning disabilities. They're all filled with mincemeat - except for the reindeer poo, which is simply 4 small balls of sweetened bread dough covered with melted chocolate.


Have fun!


Here's a few pics:
These were made in one of my sessions by a couple of homeless guys...


Thursday 23rd August.
Fun with mincemeat today: mincemeat doughnuts, mincemeat Swedish tea rings, mincemeat apfel kuchen (German apple cake), large mincemeat tart, mincemeat Chelsea buns, mincemeat Bialys.



Chelsea buns and a couple of doughnuts
Swedish tea ring and doughnuts

Mincemeat tart, apfel kuchen (German apple cake) and bialys


There are several ways to approach using mincemeat in apfel kuchens, Chelsea buns and Swedish tea rings: they can be made with dried fruit in the mix as per normal, then spread with mincemeat before being rolled up; they can have the mincemeat incorporated in the mix instead of dried fruit; or, as happened here, they were made with a plain sweetened dough which was then spread with the mincemeat.

I sampled the German apple cake and one of the Chelsea buns - and they were simply gorgeous - we certainly don't make enough of mincemeat away from the Christmas season.

Each of these batches of bread is made using 160g of flour to 100g of water - so they're not very big. Just goes to show that in breadmaking, a little goes a long way!


Thursday 24th March 2011
The pineapple and mincemeat loaf was just a simple spicy fruit dough, rolled out and covered with mincemeat - then turned over on top of the slices of pineapple which were placed on the baking paper.

Pineapple and mincemeat upside-down loaf


Thursday 26th April 2012

At Longrun care home this morning, where the residents made mincemeat doughnuts. A great variation on these is to place a flattened disc of marzipan on the circle of dough before placing the mincemeat on top. The combination of marzipan and mincemeat is very tasty!


 At the back there are several of Adrian's jam pasties, since we'd run out of mincemeat.