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.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

2ND VEGAN BREADMAKING COURSE at The Planet Cafe, Taunton

Tuesday 20th September 2016
Arrived late tonight - traffic in Taunton was pretty well grid-locked, due to Station Road closing to allow a new bridge being placed in position. A couple of the students were also late - but with breadmaking being such an easy activity, we soon got back on track.

Focaccia and Chelseas tonight:

Not sure who loaf this belonged to - but it's a well-risen loaf

Another good loaf - and this time I can identify it to Sarah H
(Note: I ask the students to place an initial on top of each batch of bread - for two reasons; firstly, so the students can be re-united with their own bread - but also so that I can identify these breads when I'm putting these pics up on here.)

Tuesday, 13 September 2016


200g or 1 mug strong flour – either all white or a mix of white and wholemeal
¼ teaspoon salt
125ml or 1/3rd mug lukewarm water
1 tsp yeast, fresh or dried

1 Measure the water and stir in the yeast. Place the flour and salt into a mixing bowl 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 a knife, cutting through the dough as it forms. 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 flattening the dough out, folding it over and flattening it again. If the dough is too sticky, instead of putting extra flour on your worktop, place some in the bowl, put the dough back in and turn it round to coat it all over. That way you keep the flour under control and you won’t be tempted to add too much. Knead until the dough becomes smooth – and then stop before you get fed up!

4 Divide the dough into 6 pieces with the side of your hand and give yourself plenty of room on your worktop. Take one of the pieces in each hand and flatten them down with the palms of your (flat) hand. Keeping them pressed down, gently move them round in a circle. After a couple of circles, start to ease the pressure off. Still moving in circles, let your hands form a hollow shape. Gradually cup your hands and relax the pressure, whilst still making the circular movement. Your little finger and thumb should make contact in turn with the side of the roll as it tightens up. Ease off the pressure altogether, and you should have a couple of bun shapes! Place the rolls either on greased bun trays or on oven trays lined with baking parchment.
5 Cover and leave to prove until the rolls have doubled in size, then bake at 220C, 425F or gas mark 7 for between 15-20 minutes.
Why not make some shapes - Fancy Dinner Rolls:
Roll each piece of dough out into a long thin rope, long enough to tie a knot in it – Lover’s Knot
Roll the dough out a bit longer and roll it up from one end – Whirl
Roll the dough up from both ends – Twirl
Roll the dough up on top from one end and underneath from the other – Swirl
Pick up the dough in the middle and twist one end around the other – Twist

And of course, you can invent your own shapes!

Thursday, 1 September 2016


For two:

30g flour
25g vegan spread
200g soya (or other vegan) milk
(I used 50g soy cream + 150g water)
1 dessertspoon nooch
1/2 teaspoon bouillon powder
2 heaped teaspoons wholegrain mustard
Black pepper + other spices to taste (I'm a great fan of cayenne pepper)

100g pasta of your choice (I used fusilli, since that's what we had in), cooked just how you like it.

Place all the ingredients except the pasta into a small saucepan over a low heat, and start stirring as soon as any bubbles form. Keep stirring as the sauce thickens, adding more water if it thickens too much. Taste and adjust seasoning as required.

Drain the pasta, add it to the sauce, stir and serve.

For some reason, I have to have fresh (well, defrosted) wholemeal bread with this. :)

(This is adapted from Jacqueline Meldrum's recipe.)