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.

Sunday, 26 May 2013


I'll try and remember to take a photo of the crumb when we cut into it - tomorrow, at my daughter's

Going to see my daughter and her husband tomorrow, so I thought I'd make some bread to take up with me.

Her husband is a great fan of soda bread - and both he and my daughter also like Malthouse flour (Malthouse is Doves version of Granary flour), so I thought I would combine the two.

I've been putting more and more olive oil in my soda breads recently - it does improve the crust especially, IMO. And the focaccia treatment of pouring olive oil into holes on top of the loaf does make a difference.

Finally, I used the undercover method with this loaf.

400g Malthouse flour
4 tsps (25g approx) baking powder
5g salt
250g water
50g Extra virgin olive oil


1.     Since the baking powder begins working as soon as it comes into contact with the water, it is essential to have everything ready before mixing the dough. So, heat the oven to 220C, 425F, gas mark 7 and either grease your baking sheet or line it with baking parchment.

2.     Place the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl, add the baking  powder and stir the dry ingredients to mix them evenly. When the oven is hot, add the water, then the olive oil and begin mixing with a palette knife or similar.

3.     Turn it out onto a lightly floured worktop, knead it firmly several times, then mould it into a cob shape, roll it out into a large circle, about 2cm thick and place it on your prepared baking sheet. 
(With practice you can get the mixing and shaping done in less than two minutes.)

4.    Press your fingertips into the dough, making large indentations, and drizzle oil all over the dough and into the holes. 

5.     Bake in the centre of the oven for 25-30 minutes, turning at intervals if necessary.

6.     The loaf is ready when it has a good colour underneath and a skewer comes out clean. You may need to put it back in, upside down, for a few more minutes. Place to cool on a wire rack.

Undercover method:
At step 5 I covered the dough with a stainless steel roasting dish for the first 10 minutes of baking. This allows the dough to rise that little bit more.

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