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, 23 October 2010

Planning for the 4th session - fruited and sweetened breads

Each of you will have the opportunity to make 9 different breads with two different doughs:

First the fruit dough for all the different fruit breads; and then the plain, sweetened dough for all the filled sweet breads. Leave the second on the table with a bowl inverted over the top.

(We’ll make the 2nd dough a little bit sticky because we’ll have a chance to knead it a couple of times to give you some practice with the ‘Several short kneadings’ method.)

With the fruit dough we will make:
Either an apfel kuchen or a Swedish tea ring, plus Chelsea buns, spicy fruit buns and hot cross buns.

Divide it into 2 pieces and put one aside.
For AK: Roll the dough out to about 25cm (10”) long and half as wide. Place on BP and cover with slices of apple. Sprinkle the apple with 1 dessertspoon sugar mixed with 1 tsp of cinnamon. Leave to prove on top of, or near, an oven.
For STR: Roll into a rectangle a bit bigger than A4 size, spread with oil (about a dessertspoonful), sprinkle with sugar and strew flaked almonds over the top. Roll up towards you like a Swiss roll with the seam underneath. Form the dough into a circle and tuck one end inside the other (Demo). Now make a cut about halfway through the dough, at 2cm intervals round the ring. Place on tray and leave to prove on top of, or near, an oven.

Give the second dough 20 quick kneading actions and replace under the bowl.

Take the other half of the fruit dough and roll it out as per the STR – treat it just the same (leave out the almonds) right up to leaving the seam underneath.

Now divide the dough into two, and cut one of the halves into 4 equal pieces. Place on BP with the cut sides uppermost (esp. the end one!).

Now squidge the rest of the dough back together and knead it a couple of times to distribute the oil and sugar evenly.

Divide it into four rolls with the side of your hand and form bun shapes with them (Demo). Place on the baking sheet and press a cross into the top of 2 of them. Put to prove with your initial on there somewhere.

Now the sweetened dough. This will make a large jam tart, marzipan and apple tartlets, doughnuts, pain au chocolat and iced buns.

First the jam tart: Divide the dough into two pieces and roll one out to around pizza size. Cut out a square measuring about 15cm (6”), plus 6 fairly thin strips of dough. Place the square on some BP and put the strips around and across the square. Fill each square with some jam.

Marzipan and apple tartlets: Cut out 4 circles from the rest of the rolled out dough and add the trimmings to the set aside piece. Press out four small circles of marzipan and place them over the circles. Cut a quarter of an apple and cut the quarter into slices. Place two slices on top of the marzipan and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.

Roll out the rest of the sweetened dough as you did the first, and cut out 6 circles of dough. Place three on some BP and put 1/2 a teaspoon of your filling in the middle. Place the other circles over the top and pinch the doughnuts all round (Demo).

Divide the rest of the dough into golf ball size rolls. Half of these will be iced buns and half petit pain au chocolat.

Iced buns: Either leave them as round buns, or gently roll them out into finger rolls. Place on baking sheet.

Pain au chocolat: Squidge a piece of chocolate into a piece of dough and squeeze the dough together to seal. Put to prove with your initial on top of one of the buns.

I find it a good idea to soak the fruit overnight to make them plumper and juicier. If you do that, I find a jam jar is a convenient container to use.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Evening course - 3rd week

All of my students, 7 of them including a new student, are on email, so I thought I'd take advantage of that to give them advance warning of my planning for tonight:

Tonight we're making 5 breads, ciabatta, focaccia, grissini, pizza and Peshwari naan.

After introductions, and a welcome to Claire, we'll get straight into making the ciabatta.

This is a bread mixed entirely in a bowl and not kneaded at all. Since I want to be precise about the amounts we use, the ingredients need to be weighed:
200g strong flour (either all white or a mixture of white and wholemeal)
1/4 tsp salt
150ml lukewarm water (that’s 125ml + 25%, roughly)
1 tsp yeast
3 tbs olive oil (45g)
All this is mixed together and beaten for a couple of minutes, then left to rise in the bowl.
The 2nd dough (this will make a focaccia, some grissini and a pizza):
500g strong flour (either all white or a mixture of white and wholemeal)
1 /2 tsp salt
50g sun-dried tomatoes (minus 4 which will go on the top of the focaccia), chopped
325ml lukewarm water
1 dsp yeast
2 tbs olive oil
This will make a moderately sticky dough, which, once mixed, we’ll knead for 15-20 seconds then put to one side.
Peshwari naan – the 3rd dough.
200g self-raising flour (or use plain flour with 2 tsps of baking powder mixed in)
1 or 2 tsps curry powder
1 dsp sugar
50g grated creamed coconut
100g dried apricots, quartered (or sultanas if you wish)
Medium onion, finely chopped
125ml of water (cold is fine)
Have an oven tray and baking parchment ready, assemble the dry ingredients, and then add the water. Working fairly quickly, mix into a dough, shape it into a cob and roll it into a circle about 30cm across.
Place it on the baking sheet and put it straight into the oven – for about 10-15 minutes at 220C.
Knead the 2nd dough – put to one side.
Scrape the risen ciabatta dough onto some baking parchment and gently pat into your required shape. Put to prove on top of one of the ovens.
Take about 200g of the remaining dough and roll it out into a circle about 20cm across. Put it on some baking parchment and put it to one side.
Take off another 50g of dough, divide it into three pieces and roll them out into long breadsticks (grissini). Place them next to the pizza dough.
Form the rest of the dough into a cob shape and roll it out to about 2cm thick. Place on a baking tray and dimple the bread with your fingers. Leave to prove on top of the ovens.
Add the topping – tomato and cheese – to the pizza.

Cheers, Paul 

[Reflections on the session: I departed from the planning in leaving the ciabatta until last - and I'm not sure they had sufficient time to rise before they had to go into the oven. Apart from that, all the bread was pretty impressive - and, once again, I forgot to take pictures! However, some of the students did, and I've included them in the portfolio of the course.]

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Evening breadmaking course, Autumn 2010

It's my intention to create a portfolio of pictures of bread made by my students as a result of this course.

Here's the first - some fancy dinner rolls made by Collette at home:

And here's a couple from Nic:

These were made by Kath on Wednesday evening. We also made some grissini, but I expect they didn't last long!
Here's 3-year-old Zoe, Kath's daughter, making a fruit soda bread
Yesterday Claire (the new member of the course - this was her first ever attempt at making bread) sent me these four pics from her phone:

Sun-dried tomato focaccia with Parmesan
Peshwari naan (my non-authentic version). The letter C is there so that Claire can identify her own bread. You can just see her breadsticks that she made from the same dough as the focaccia.

Cheese and tomato pizza - base made from the foccacia dough.
Here's a mix of pics (see what I did there?;)) from Collette. The pizzas were made at home.
Collette's Apfel kuchen
"They were seriously yummy! 
I shocked myself!! " Collette

Pizza by Charity (Collette's daughter)
(More to come.)