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, 16 September 2012


Friday 14th Sept.

Finally broke away from my tagliatelle rut, last night, and made a lasagne with my homemade pasta.

I made it with all wholemeal and added half a teaspoon of bouillon powder, a heaped teaspoon of nooch, and the end of a spoon of curry powder. I forgot the EVOO, but it didn't seem to make any difference - probably won't bother with it from now on.

The lasagne was the best I've ever had, simply scrummy - and I've still got half of it left.

I have to say it was very satisfying, cutting the sheets to the required size for the pot - so that only one sheet was needed for each layer! 

Ravioli next!

Saturday 8th Sept.

Boy! Am I getting good at this!

Came home this evening to find my wife had made me a vegetable pasta sauce - so I set to and made some pasta - 100% wholemeal this time.

I put a pan of water on, found the scales, then the flour, the bouillon powder, the nutritional yeast and the cayenne pepper.

I measured 50g flour and added 3/4 of a teaspoon of stock powder, a heaped teaspoon of nooch and 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper. I mixed this together and added 30g of water and a glug of EVOO. This came together as a dough very quickly - which I kneaded a couple of times.

4 minutes after I began, I formed the dough into a bun-shape, dredged it with flour (s/raising this time, it's a quarter the price of the w/meal) and rolled it out thinly.

To try and encourage a square shape, I pick the dough up - left hand to the bottom left hand corner, right hand to the top left hand corner; then, turning the dough over, I bring my right hand over to the right hand bottom corner. Then I spread with flour again, roll out a couple of times and repeat the turning over procedure - only this time on the right hand side. Once I've got it to the correct thickness - which I check by folding the dough three times (giving me 8 layers) and measuring it - it should be about 1cm thick. Which makes the dough roughly 0.125cm thick.

[Does this make any sense, folks? It's the first time I've tried to write down what I actually do. Feedback welcome, please.]
It's a bit ragged - possibly because it's all wholemeal?
I then take the pizza wheel and cut it into roughly 1cm wide strips. Today I cut 23 strips, so the square of dough was approx. 23cm square.

The pan of water was now ready and in went the strips, one strip at a time. 3 minutes later - 16 minutes after I began - it was nearly ready. Only then did I realise I hadn't warmed up the sauce. That took a couple of minutes - but I finally sat down with my meal 20 minutes after I started!

It's more than I need for one meal (although I still cleared the plate. Next time I'll use 40g of flour and 25g water.
The wholemeal pasta was absolutely fine - I shall do it like this from now on. And adding flavourings to the pasta makes it a whole new ball game - one that I can play about with to my heart's content!

I'd just about given up on pasta I was so bored with it - but now I embrace it willingly. Must try lasagne and ravioli very soon!

Tuesday 28th August.
Two of our grandchildren are staying with us for a few days - and as soon as Olivia (9) heard about my pasta-making and saw the pics, she wanted to make some herself. Not tomorrow, not later today - but now! So we're having pasta for lunch!

Once the pasta was cooked, it was mixed with chopped tomatoes and served with grated cheese.

Tuesday 21/8/12.
I've done it again!

I came home from the cricket to find my wife had made me a vegetable pasta sauce - which smelt wonderful!

So I set to to make some more pasta. This time I thought I'd make it with 50% wholemeal - using half Dove's organic wholemeal and half a basic strong white flour.

I made too much for one meal last time, so I divided the ingredients in half:
50g wholemeal and white flour
3g bouillon powder
30g water

Mix together, knead for a few seconds then roll out into a large circle. With the confidence gathered from the last time I made pasta, I rolled the circle out as big as last time - but, obviously, a lot thinner. I folded it into 8 to check the thickness - it was roughly 1 cm thick. So the dough was about 1.25mm thick.

This amount of dough, 90g approx, made a rough oval 11" by 12"

This bit's the most fun - cutting it into  strips

Once again, using a pizza cutter, I divided into long strips - about 1cm wide, or less.

Lifting it up with a dough cutter is easy
Boiled some water in the kettle, poured it into the pan, and, when it was boiling I tipped in the pasta. Three minutes later (as the video said! :) ) it was done.

A bit more than I would normally have in one portion; still, I ate it all!
I don't know if it was my wife's lovely sauce, or my homemade pasta - but it was a thoroughly gorgeous meal!

It probably took me about 15-18 minutes. I reckon I can get it under ten - which is quicker than cooking dried pasta. Just have to remember to put the water on to boil before I start making the pasta!

One last comment. I dropped a strand of pasta in the pasta sauce - and it cooked perfectly well - again in three minutes! Now, I'm thinking, could I cook it all in there? Hmm!

Wow! I've finally made my own pasta - who knew it was so easy?

I did a bit of googling, of course, and came up with this video, which gives a recipe and also demonstrates a small variety of shapes.

These were the ingredients I used:
100g Doves white strong bread flour
61g water
10g extra virgin olive oil (not strictly necessary, but I just love adding olive oil!)

Mixed into a fairly stiff dough - adding more flour until it was the right consistency (not as soft and squishy as my bread dough) and left for 10 minutes whilst I tickled up my wife's vegetable pasta sauce. She makes a fairly basic sauce to which I add a good dessertspoon of vegan pesto (Meridian is my preference), some dried basil and a fair dollop of WI pepper sauce.

I rolled out the dough using plenty of flour, turning and refreshing the flour and rolling out again:

The dough was about 2.5mm thick. I measured it by folding a corner into four, then measuring the combined thickness - 1cm.

Then, using a pizza cutter, I cut half of the dough into strips, to make tagliatelle, flouring it first:

I draped the strips for a few minutes over a cooling rack - which you can just see in the following pic.

I then started playing about with the remaining dough - cutting it into small shapes as per the link above:
I rolled some of these into small cylinders (cavatelli) - made some into bows  and tried and failed to make the ridged cavatelli using a fork 
I was pleased with the farfalle, top left. My attempts at the ridged cavatelli are top right.

The tagliatelli cooking - about 6 minutes rather than the 3 specified in the link

And the finished dish! 
I doubt I'll ever buy pasta again! 

This is a cheap and simple dish - the total dough weighed 191g (120g flour, 61g water, 10g oil). And, leaving out the oil, it's very low on calories. I used half of the dough, so, 60g of flour = 200 calories. Add the calories from  the vegetable sauce - very few - and the total comes to very little!


  1. Hey Paul, nice work! Were you inspired from the Baking weekend then? ;)
    Now you've got the hang of pasta, wait till you make your first raviolis!

  2. Marcus! How nice to hear from you - hope you're well!

    It was partly the BWE and partly the Simply Italian prog. You're right, it's ravioli next!

    Cheers, Paul

  3. This is fantastic! I'm really enjoying reading through your recipes for 'do it yourself' meals, and I can't wait to try out the pasta!

  4. Thanks, Paul! I do enjoy experimenting and trying new things. Do let me know how you get on with the pasta, please.
    Cheers, Paul

    Marcus - I still haven't tried the ravioli! Will do soon!