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, 31 January 2016


I cooked 500g of dried r-k beans today, for the freezer.

They looked so lovely, whilst they were drying out prior to freezing them, I just had to share them with you!

1.171kg of pure wholesomeness! They not only taste good - but they look good as well!
I prefer to used dried pulses for several reasons:
Firstly, the cost. At £1.09 in the supermarket, these are great value for money.
Secondly, the quality is always consistent. That is, provided you turn over your stock so that you're always using 'fresh' beans.
Thirdly, you can use as many or as few as you wish. I tend to just grab a handful from the freezer and add them to whatever veg stew I'm cooking at the time.
Fourthly, they're environmentally friendly. Instead of approximately 5 tin cans, only one plastic bag is needed to package them. So there is less transport cost involved - 500g in the packet as against 2.4kg in the tins.
Fifthly, they are possibly healthier - although the jury's still out on whether tinned foods pose any health risks.

These instructions are specific for r-k-beans (no other beans need ten minutes vigorous boiling to remove the toxins).

Soaking, cooking and freezing:
Use a large saucepan to cook the beans. Cover with water and soak overnight - or at least 8 hours.
Refresh the water and bring to a rolling boil for 10 minutes, then reduce to a simmer until the beans are cooked. How long to let them simmer depends very much on how fresh the beans are. I've had beans that have been cooked after the initial ten minutes - others have taken 20 minutes or more - so I keep checking every few minutes.

When the beans are cooked, drain them and spread them out on a tea towel as per the above pic. If you do it while they are still warm, they dry off quicker. Transfer the beans into a freezer bag and freeze.  Whilst the beans are in the plastic bag, I spread them loosely over an oven tray to freeze them. Check after an hour and shuffle the beans before replacing them in the freezer. If you don't do this, the beans could clump together - but, freezing them spread out over the tray avoids this. I'm aiming to have them loose enough so that I can just grab a handful whenever I wish.

Sounds a bit of a faff, but it becomes routine after a few times.

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