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, 25 August 2017

SIMPLE SODA BREAD - IN THE FRYING PAN (VEGAN)

Plain soda bread

Ingredients:
1 mug or 200g self raising flour (Or: wholemeal flour and 2tsps baking powder)
1/4 tsp salt
1/3rd mug or 125ml water

Method:
1. Put the frying pan on a low heat. Using a non-stick pan, you don't need any oil - but if you feel it may stick in your pan, add the bare minimum.

2. Place the flour (with baking powder if using) and salt into a mixing bowl. Add the water and begin mixing with a table knife or similar.

3.  This is known as a quick bread, so, working quickly, mix together into a soft dough, stirring and cutting through the dough as it forms, adding more flour or water as needed. Turn it out onto a floured worktop, firmly mould it into a round flat loaf, about 1cm thick and place it into the frying pan.  (With practice you can get the mixing and shaping done in less than two minutes.) Increase the heat to medium.

4. Put a kitchen timer on for 5 minutes, then check the colour underneath the bread - you're looking for a good, even colour. Turn the bread over and cook the other side. Once again, don't forget the timer.

5. When you're happy with it, put it to cool on a wire rack and – for a softer crust – wrap the bread in a tea cloth.

Fruit soda bread:
At step two, instead of the salt, add 1 dessertspoon of sugar, half a mug (100g) of dried fruit and a teaspoon of mixed spice. Then proceed as above.

Curried soda bread
At step two, along with the salt, add a teaspoon of curry powder.

Notes:
Here's how I made this frying pan bread in only 13 minutes!

And, my new record, bread made in a sandwich toaster in only 8 minutes!

Here's the recipe for this bread baked in an oven.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

VEGAN PARKIN - the concise recipe

(The story behind this recipe.)
Simple Parkin (vegan)

Ingredients:
100g porridge oats
100g wholemeal flour (for a gluten-free (ish) version, substitute with Dove's gluten free flour)
2 and 1/2 tsps baking powder
4 tsps ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
100g sugar
100g blackstrap molasses (or treacle if you can’t find molasses)
220g lukewarm water
80g vegetable oil

Method:
       Preheat the oven to 180C [or see microwave version below]
       Measure the oats, flour, baking powder, ginger and mixed spice and stir to distribute the ingredients
       Gently heat the molasses and water together to approximately blood heat and add to dry ingredients
       Add the oil to the mix and stir – initially with a large spoon or spatula, then with a whisk
       Pour in to an oiled and lined 20cm (8” inch) cake tin
       Put in the oven and cook for between 35-40 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean
       Leave on a cooling rack in the tin for ten minutes
Turn out on to the cooling tray

With a traditional parkin it is recommended you leave it for several days to mature. This is supposed to enhance the taste. I’ve no idea whether this works with this recipe – as, in this house, the parkin disappears very quickly after cooling. It is simply gorgeous from the moment it is cool enough to eat.

The only way I’ve found not to gorge on this cake is to, as soon as possible, cut it into, say, 50g pieces, then put them in the freezer. This way I can allow myself one piece per day.

If anyone has the strength and fortitude to keep the parkin for several days to see if it does in fact improve with keeping, I’d be very glad to hear from them!

Variation: For a gluten free version of this, simply use Dove’s gluten free flour in place of the wholemeal flour - and you'll need GF oats.

27th July.
Following a conversation on the Wildfood forum about microwaving carrot cake, I decided I'd try this with parkin.

I put my 800w microwave on for 3 minutes - and the parkin looked like this:


Baked in the oven my silicon cake form contains the parkin easily - but it rose much more in the microwave, as you can see! 
Once it's turned out onto the cooling rack, you can't tell the difference between a cake made in the oven - or in the microwave!
Comparing the two methods of baking:
40 minutes in the oven (with 10 minutes warm-up time), as against 5 minutes in the microwave - and you get a better risen cake!