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.

Monday, 11 January 2016


(Makes 6-8 doughnuts and up to 10 chocolate rolls)

2 mugs (or 400g) strong white flour
2 dessertspoons sugar
2/3rds of a mug (or 250ml) lukewarm water
1 rounded teaspoon fresh yeast
Splash of olive oil (optional)

A jar of jam (the thicker, the better) and 10 or so squares of decent eating chocolate
Sugar glaze
Sugar for sprinkling

1. Measure the water and stir in the yeast. Place the flour and sugar into a mixing bowl and pour in the yeast liquid. Add the oil if using.

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 (starting with the yeast first, to dissolve it properly), 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 – and stop before you get fed up!

4. Doughnuts: Form the dough into a cob shape. Have plenty of flour to hand and scatter flour over the dough and worktop. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a large circle. Using pastry cutters, cut out 16 circles. Place 8 circles on a prepared baking sheet.  Place half a teaspoon of jam in the centre of each circle (not too much or the jam will leak out). Now cover the jam with the other circles, pressing down all round the edges . To seal properly, pick up the doughnut and squidge the edges together firmly – as if you were feeling your earlobe!

5. Pain au chocolat. Knead the scraps of dough back together (add a teaspoon of water if it looks too dry – you need the dough soft to keep the chocolate in!) Divide the dough into 10 pieces and press the chocolate gently into the middle of each piece. Squidge and pinch the dough together around the chocolate checking for any gaps. Place smooth side up on the baking tray.

6. Cover and leave to prove until they have grown appreciably in size. Bake at 220C, 425F or gas mark 7, for about 15 minutes.

7. Whilst these are baking, make a sugar glaze with a dessertspoon of sugar and two dsps of boiling water. When the rolls are done (look for colour underneath) brush them with the glaze straightaway. With the doughnuts, sprinkle with sugar while the glaze is still wet.

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