For some years now, I have been making (most) of our bread. I have had mixed success, in a machine and by hand. Because I tweak the recipe, because I experiment, and because I don’t actually understand what I’m doing… which seems to be the key to being a good breadmaker.




But I love what I do. So when Scientist Guy talked about having a posh dinner party for some of our friends, I jumped on this opportunity to learn what the heck is going on during the whole process; as he would like the bread that we eat this weekend to not only be handmade, but made by me.

Today, I have been playing with ciabatta




and trialling a new basic white loaf recipe, having tossed out my old cobbled together version – which originated with a bread machine and got adjusted to suit taste and conditions until it has (clearly!) become an unworkable mess.



I’m using the wonderful and daunting tome “Bread Matters” by Andrew Whitley, which has 142 pages of history and technical discussion ingredient by ingredient before you even get to the first basic recipe! But it really is amazing…


He favours using fresh yeast – because it makes a better bread; but early on there is a blindingly clear conversion for both dried and fast action instant yeast, so armed with this knowledge I have set forth today.


It didn’t work.


The birds enjoyed it; and I got an irrefutable example of why old instant yeast is not good yeast!


But my ciabatta was kinda good. Not great, but not bad; and certainly a good place to start from again – tomorrow : )