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.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

SUMMER FRUIT PIZZA (vegan)

I've made this a couple of times, and it's absolutely gorgeous! I'll get the recipe and pics up on here ASAP.

Just wanted to put up a link for my students.

2 smaller ones made with 1 mug flour

Basically, the base is a simple pizza dough, using sugar rather than salt. It's then rolled out flat, with a thin layer of marzipan and a topping of frozen summer fruits. A sprinkling of sugar and cinnamon finishes it off.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

BREADMAKING MADE EASY - AT BURNHAM SS&L CENTRE

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
Nic's

Lynne's

Jackie's

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!

Monday, 3 July 2017

GARLIC BATONS - in the oven and frying pan (Vegan)

Saturday 1st July 2017
Since I began teaching at Taunton Association of the Homeless, a couple of years ago, I've made quite a bit of bread in a frying pan, along with the students. When they find accommodation, they may not always have an oven, but they may well have a hob and a frying pan. 

Last week the students on my current Burnham breadmaking opted to make garlic batons, as below, in the oven. So I wanted to see how these would fare, making them in a frying pan.

I used self raising flour, as I often do, these days:
Put the frying pan on a medium heat
100g s/raising flour
Pinch of salt
65ml water

Mixed into a dough and kneaded for a minute or two
Roll out into a rectangle a bit shorter than the frying pan

Garlic spread:
3 cloves garlic, smashed 
Heaped dessertspoon vegan spread -mixed together

Spread the garlic, et, over the dough and roll it up tightly.

Using a little flour and a rolling pin, flatten the dough and place it in the frying pan with a lid of some sort. Bake for 4 minutes each side - the colour should finish up a golden brown. 

Not like this one...

I baked it too long on both sides.

Still tasted gorgeous, though!

I made one for my neighbour - his verdict was, "Stunning!"

Sometime back in 2011.
Whenever I'm offered garlic bread at a gathering it's almost inevitably a supermarket baguette, cut into chunks, slathered with butter and garlic and baked for a while. It's OK, but it doesn't have the depth of flavour of these batons, where the bread and the filling are cooked together. Vary the filling as you will, with herbs, pesto, etc. As a vegan, I use olive oil instead of butter.
Garlic batons. Dough rolled out flat, covered with mashed garlic and olive oil, then rolled up like a Swiss roll


This method infuses the whole loaf with garlic


Ingredients:
400g strong white flour of your choice
1/2 teaspoon salt
250ml lukewarm water
1 rounded dessertspoon fresh yeast
Good splash of olive oil

Filling:
Garlic spread made with around a dozen or so cloves of garlic, peeled and squashed, and olive oil to taste. Mix in any herbs or spices you fancy. Spread with pesto to give it a bit more oomph.

Method:
1. Measure the water and stir in the fresh yeast. Place the flour and salt into a mixing bowl, pour in the yeast liquid, then add the olive oil.

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. 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 stretching the dough out, folding it over, stretching it out and so on and so forth. Do this until it is smooth – or until you get fed up! Either leave it, covered, for an hour or so, or go to step 4.

4. Divide the dough in two and form each piece into a round bap shape. Roll each piece out into a large rectangle – about 20cm by 30cm on a floured worktop. Spread the filling all over the dough and roll each piece up like a Swiss roll, with the seam side underneath. Gently tuck the ends underneath to stop any leakage. (You’ll still get a bit.) Place them on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment.

5. Leave to prove until they have risen appreciably.

6. Bake at 220C, 425F or gas mark 7 for between 15-20 minutes. Look for colour underneath.