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, 26 March 2012


A brilliant (not my word) Family Learning session at the far end of Somerset this morning! Up at the crack of dawn (7.15 - well it is for me!) and out of the house at 7.45 for the 35 mile trip to Castle Cary primary school, where I had up to 15 families waiting to make bread.

In the event, there turned out to be 12 children and 10 parents in the session. One or two of the mothers had made bread, with varying rates of success, and there were a couple of students with experience of bread machines, and that was it. Lots of cooking going on, most making cakes with their children, but very little bread.

One of the students was a French chef, who managed a local eaterie - even he had never made bread!

After a demo from me, they all made a batch of dough, with the youngsters showing quite a bit of competence (these were year 2 children, aged 6 and 7). Then they divided the dough into 2 pieces, one large and one small. The large piece was turned into 4 or so rolls of varying shapes while the other bit was to be a pizza.

I'd taken my four small ovens along, but it was still nice to see a domestic oven in the small kitchen adjoining the "Hive" as the activities room was called.

Here's the setup - with 2 shelves in each of the small ovens and 3 in the large one. 11 in all - but with 2 trays each holding 2 batches, there was room for all the batches of bread at one time.
One of my small ovens in action

The batch on the right was hopelessly burnt, so I gave the family the bread I'd made for the demo - on the right

Each batch was numbered - that's number 5 on the left, not sure about the other one!

Another batch
One of the youngsters breaking off a bit of bread from his roll

More shapes and another taster for someone!

Pizzas proving

More pizzas

Proving and baking
Ready to eat...

And pretty well all gone!
The hardest thing for the adults in these classes is - not doing it for their children! The breadmaking is easy - keeping your hands out and letting the children get on with it is difficult for the adults. But I delight in showing them just how competent their children can be, when given a chance.

Before I left I gave them all some homework - to find someone who doesn't know how to make bread and teach them what they've learned today. Not only will this spread some breadmaking ripples around, but the students themselves will enhance their own breadmaking skills.

The feedback was universally positive - they all loved it and would like some more of these sessions!

One comment I particularly liked, when asked what the parent had enjoyed about the session, was:
"Sitting back and watching my child do baking and not needing any help. You never know what your child can do."

I must add, in conclusion, that I had great support from the course organiser, Maureen, and the class teacher, Emma. Thanks, guys!

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