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.

Friday, 13 November 2015


This is where I shall post all about the workshop - my planning, the letter to the students, how the session went and any pics I (or the students) take.

After the letter went out I had a call from the centre telling me there was another student enquiring about the course. This student ran a pub and made all his own bread - not only that he was a trained chef! He was wondering if I had anything I could add to his repertoire.

After a short conversation on the phone, after I told him we could make several breads that weren't initially on the programme, he said he'd like to come along.

Here's the programme I've designed, just for him. (Now I'm really looking forward to the workshop!)

Dear student

Here’s my suggested alternative programme for you for Saturday – hope it meets with your approval!

1. Italian soda bread (soda bread focaccia)
2. As the rest of the group
3. Apfel kuchen (German apple cake) and Schiacciatta con l’uva (Italian fruit loaf) with a demo of hot cross buns
4. Ciabatta
5. Pane casereccio (stuffed rolled pizza)

As to the extra ingredients:
The focaccia needs olive oil and rosemary - dried is fine
The  apfel kuchen needs an apple – a decent sized eater will suffice – cinnamon and sugar
The  schiacciatta just needs a good handful of seedless grapes
The ciabatta just needs olive oil
The stuffed pizza needs 100g cubed Cheddar, chopped mushrooms and cherry tomatoes

Given your experience, as far as possible, I'll let you get on with it (with the recipes, of course!), while I look after the beginners in the class. IMO, you're going to be a real asset to the group - I'm sure you'll be a great inspiration.

If there’s a variety of bread you’d like to have a go at instead of the ones suggested, don’t hesitate to get back to me.

Regards, Paul

09/11/2015 Here's the letter that goes out to the students:

Breadmaking made easy workshop, Burnham, 14/11/15

Dear Student,

(This should be read in conjunction with the Course Information Sheet - you should already have a copy of this. The list of ingredients and equipment is a little different, so please have a look at that.)

This letter sets out what I intend will happen during the day and includes a list of items which you will need in the session. If you are new to breadmaking, let me reassure you that it is much easier than you may have been led to believe. It is indeed, ‘easy peasy’! Oh, and it’s also a lot of fun, as you’ll find out!

The session will begin in a relaxed fashion – the first thing you need to do is to find somewhere to park all your stuff, get yourself a drink and a chair to sit on round the tables in the middle. There is some necessary paperwork to fill in (bring a pen if possible), but it won’t take long and I’ll guide you through it.

Before we start breadmaking I’d like to spend some time finding a little about each other, and what you expect to get out of the day’s session so that I can better meet all your expectations.

We’ll be eating lunch around 12.30-1.00, and everyone will make their own.

Here’s the programme for the workshop as it stands:

1.     Soda breads – choice of plain or spicy fruit loaf
2.     Fancy dinner rolls or shapes+bread wraps (lunch)
3.     Fruit dough for hot cross buns and Chelsea buns
4.     Focaccia
5.     Cheese and tomato pizza

If there is time we could also make some petit pain au chocolat – depends how everything goes on the day.

I have a blog, which I call “No bread is an island”, in which I write about – among other things – my teaching practice. On there I have started a post, “Breadmaking Workshop at Burnham”, which will contain all (most) of what you need to know about the course:

There’s not a lot on it, yet, but here’s a post about a breadmaking workshop at High Ham village hall, which will give you an idea about how the workshop will go:

I have several aims for this course, one of which is that everyone should enjoy her or himself! Another is that everyone will make good bread. I’ll bring along tea and coffee at 20p a mug. You may want to bring your own mug

I'm sorry if this all sounds a bit daunting. Please let me assure you that it will all fall into place quite easily. If you have any suggestions, (or concerns) at all, please don't hesitate to contact me, I'm always very happy to talk to my students about bread.

Finally, can I draw your attention to the word ‘Companion’? The ‘com’ part means together – as in community – and the ‘pan’ part of the word means bread. So ‘Companions’ are people who make bread together! Which is what we shall be doing this Saturday!

Best regards,

Paul Youd (Course Tutor)

Shopping list:
(I’ve simplified this a bit from the list in the course information sheet.)
1 bag (1.5kg) strong white flour
50g fresh yeast if you can find it – I’ll have some with me if not
10g baking powder
100g granulated sugar
Sesame/poppy seeds
200g dried fruit
Mixed spice
250ml olive oil
100g cheese (for pizza and lunch)
2 tomatoes
2 mushrooms
Tomato topping for the pizza – tomato puree is the easiest to transport. Or make up your own topping
Dried herbs
Small bar of your favourite chocolate 

You will also need to bring:
Several tea towels, both to cover your dough whilst it's proving and to wrap any warm bread in to take home.
Baking paper or parchment (stops the bread sticking to the oven trays)
Something to carry away the finished products (a large basket or cardboard box lined with tea towels would be ideal)
Mug for hot drinks

You can also bring the following items – but they’re not essential:
Kitchen timer (if you have one)
Set of measuring spoons
Any favourite cooking utensil – sharp knife/scissors are always useful

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