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, 27 April 2014


A friend of mine recently gave me a jar of smoked paprika - and I've been doing a bit of experimenting with it.

I made some pasta with the s/paprika in the dough - which gave it a lovely flavour and looked pretty amazing, too! 

Yesterday being Saturday it was pizzas for dinner - but the weather was far too wet to use the chiminea, so I had to use the oven. 

Judging by the pasta, in which I'd used 3/4 teaspoon of smoked paprika to 50g of flour, I decided I needed 3 teaspoons for the 200g of flour I was using for the pizzas - and once again, it gave the dough a lovely colour:

The topping was some leftover chilli, mashed a little, with mushrooms, tomatoes, nooch and dried basil

200g strong white flour
3 good teaspoons smoked paprika
1 Oxo cube, crumbled into the flour
10g fresh yeast (or 5g dried active)
125ml lukewarm water
25g oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes

Plus - pizza nr 1:

I could have made this pizza redder by stirring some smoked paprika into the hummus - something for next time!
Sliced, cooked beetroot
3 or 4 sun-dried tomatoes, cut into strips
Nutritional yeast
Dried basil or oregano

Plus - pizza nr 2:

Leftover chilli sauce, mashed a little 
Slices of tomato and mushroom
Nooch and basil or oregano

1. Measure the water and stir in the yeast until dissolved. Place the flour, paprika and stock cube into a mixing bowl, mix the dry ingredients together 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 your fingers. Stir round in big circles, pulling the flour off the sides of the bowls into the middle. 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, stretching it out and so on and so forth. Once the dough is smooth either leave it, covered with a dry tea towel, for an hour or so, or go straight to step 4.

4. Without knocking it back (that is; kneading a couple of times), form the dough into a round bap shape. Have plenty of flour to hand and scatter flour over the dough and worktop. With a rolling pin, roll it into a circle around  25cm (10”) across. Keep turning the dough around and refreshing the flour. The dough should slide on the flour. Place the dough on a prepared baking sheet.

5. First pizza. Spread the hummus over the pizza base and place the slices of beetroot over it, placing the strips of sun-dried tomatoes in between the beetroot. Sprinkle with nooch and dried basil.

5. Second pizza. Spread the chilli sauce over the pizza and spread it out with the back of a spoon, leaving it 1 cm from the edge. Add the sliced tomatoes and mushrooms, sprinkle the nooch over the top and finish of with a little dried oregano or basil and leave to rise. On your worktop is fine.

6. When the dough at the edge of the pizza has become puffy, place in a hot oven, 220C, 425F or gas mark 7 for 15-20 minutes. When it is done the pizza will lift up all along one side when you check underneath, using a palette knife or similar. The bottom should be browning from the edges.

Oops, nicked off a corner before I remembered to take a pic!

And here's the crumb


To get a crisp bottom to the pizzas, there are several things you can do:

• Make sure you keep the wet topping away from the edges – and don’t overload the pizza;
• Have a heavy metal tray at the bottom of the oven to use as a pizza stone. If you do this, have your pizzas on baking parchment on an up-turned tray – then you can just slide the pizzas into the oven.
• Finish them off in a large, dry, frying pan
Obviously, the second pizza was just what I had to hand - I've sometimes used a veg curry to top a pizza with, and that's also very nice.

So the message is - experiment! Whatever you put on a pizza will work - guaranteed! :)

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