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.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012


For Christmas dinner this year I quite fancied homemade vegan haggis  - en croute. Reading about the en croute method in general I discovered that a brioche dough is quite traditional when making a beef Wellington, so this was what I wanted.

As a vegan, brioche made with butter and eggs has been out of the question up until now. But I'd recently come across this post on The Fresh Loaf forum, so I knew a vegan brioche was quite doable. However, this was to be a savoury wrap, which I wanted to make it as tasty as I possibly could - I just used the recipe as a base.

For the last couple of years I've added chopped sun dried tomatoes whenever I've made pizza dough - and I've always included a good glug of the oil from the jar. This makes a wonderfully crisp, crumbly crust - almost like shortcrust pastry. So I decided to use the same oil - which was mostly sunflower oil, with a little olive oil - for the brioche dough.

The procedure for any brioche is to make the dough first, then, once the gluten has formed, knead in whatever fat you are using. 

Here's the dough I made:
160g white bread flour
1 stock cube, crumbled
1 rounded teaspoon of curry powder
1/2 teaspoon mixed herbs
4 s-d-tomatoes chopped small

Yeast liquid made with:
10g fresh yeast
20g tomato puree
70g lukewarm water

1 dessertspoon vegan pesto
25g extra virgin olive oil (I probably didn't need this!)

Mixed into a dough and kneaded until smooth.

Then 80g of the oil from the jar of s-d-tomatoes was poured into the bowl and incorporated into the dough - with difficulty, I have to say. After a couple of minutes squeezing and turning repeatedly, it was pretty ragged and I began to think I'd used too much oil. But I persevered and suddenly it became like a ciabatta dough - neither a batter or a dough, but somewhere in between. At this stage I added a further 25g of flour and, after a bit more kneading and squishing (to use the technical term! :) ), I brought it onto the worktop and I was able to begin rolling it out. It was a very wet dough and after a couple of attempts I realised I'd be better rolling it out on some baking parchment, which was what I did. Flouring it liberally, I managed to get it to the size I required, covered the dough with thinly sliced mushrooms

and gently folded the dough over the haggis. 

First two folds, using the baking parchment to lift the dough over the haggis

All is safely gathered in!
Normally I would hack away with a pair of scissors at this stage, to get the least amount of dough to haggis ratio I could. Not this time. I was just happy I had the haggis enclosed!

And here it is, after 20 minutes at 200C

Divided in two, half for dinner tomorrow, the rest went in the freezer

This is what I wrote at the time (1.30 on Christmas morning) on one of the food forums I use:

"My haggis en croute has just come out of the oven and I've had a taste of the crust - it is absolutely gorgeous! No, glorious is a better word!"

The next morning I nibbled the crust constantly - I found it irresistible!

I'm happy to report that my Christmas dinner was absolutely lovely - with a spicy tomato sauce and all the traditional roast veggies, I was very happy indeed!

And I've got the other half of this bread in the freezer - perhaps for New Year's dinner?


  1. I've yet to find a nut loaf recipe that really does it for me. However being a fan of the Macsweens veggie haggis, I'm sorely tempted to try making homemade veggie haggis, I think it could do for me everything that the traditional nut loaf does for others, and more - lovely idea with the brioche dough, though it's been quite a long time since I made any myself!

  2. Hi pennilessvegetarian, now where have I seen that name before? :)

    Thanks for your comment.

    You're right to make the comparison between this and a nut loaf - in fact I haven't made a nut loaf since discovering how tasty homemade haggis can be.

    Doesn't have to be a brioche en croute, I wrap stuff in an ordinary bread dough all the time - it always enhances the flavour of what is being wrapped. Have a look for mushroom en croute on my blog - it's absolutely splendid!

    I'm sure I'll meet you on one of the forums I frequent!

    BW, Paul

  3. Just found this blog and after making my first foray into homemade (vegan) haggis for Burns night this year, I think haggis en croute sounds like a brilliant idea so I'll be trying this recipe soon! Thanks :)