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, 4 July 2017


Tuesday 4th July 2017
5th week - jam doughnuts and tarts/pizza and calzone today (It was supposed to be mushroom en croute - but I forgot the mushrooms! We made a calzone with mushroom pate and pesto instead.)

Marion's 'Fun with Jam' shaped and put to prove

Vivien's. Doughnuts, jam tart and sweet Bialys




John's pizza with nutritional yeast and vegan mozzarella
(More to come - I took 31 pics today, thanks to John giving me a nudge now and then. )

Tuesday 27th June 2017
I've been running this course for several weeks now, with every intention of posting about it - and now I've managed to get round to it.

6 students have been attending for the past four weeks - with 2 to go - and, so far, these complete beginners have made 13 different varieties of bread:

A College loaf - tear and share. Not sure who's this is.

John's College loaf 

For the college loaves, half of the students made a wholemeal dough, while the other half made a dough from white flour - then they swapped half each.

I think these are Viv's pain au chocoat - I know she made 8! :)

Jackie and Nic's college loaves, naan breads, pittas and pain au chocolat

More incognito bread! - Naan, pittas and pain au chocolat

I always ask students to identify their bread with an initial - but it's often an afterthought and sometimes overlooked, both of which are my fault. The initial does two things, it enables students to be reunited with their own bread, and it allows me to identify who has made which batch.

Lynne's naans and pittas

Marion's pittas, naan and pain au chocolat

Jackie and Nic's  chocolate and banana bread and garlic 'batons' - slightly nibbled!

As you've noticed, some of the breads are darker than others - partly this is to do with the ovens, but occasionally, the bread gets forgotten about, and becomes a bit singed!

The students also made a batch of 'high-hydration' dough to take home with them - this is a method of getting more water into a bread dough. You make the dough stickier than usual, then give it several 10-20 second kneadings over an hour or two. Each time you re-visit the dough it's slightly less sticky than before.

During the shaping demos, Vivien showed us how to do a 5-strand plait:

I took a video of Viv doing this - if I can upload it, I will.

Since yesterday's session I've received a couple of emails:

Jackie wrote:

Hi Paul 
When we got home the bread was pushing its way out of the container !! and wow when we cooked it was lovely so pleased , Nic took his loaf to Cornwall this evening to share with his Mum n Dad.
I loved the result and so easy thanks so much 

And Lynne wrote:

Dear Paul,
It made delicious toast for my husband and I this morning and I feel very pleased with my efforts. The garlic batons were to die for. Probably my favourite so far. I had eaten 1 before I drove home yesterday and managed to share the other with my hubby over a pasta supper dish. 

Absolutely splendid, is my verdict!

Since this course is all about gaining the skills to make bread at home, it's good to see the results from the student's own kitchens!


  1. The loaf was a great success! It rose beyond the bounds of the container by the time it went into the oven and was everything I hoped for - crispy crust and soft interior. Fabulous!

  2. Well done, John! Just wait until it's cold enough and you can bake in your AGA!