How to bake French-style brioche bread

French brioche bread

Baking bread. It sneaks up on you. It starts slowly, just a little experiment, maybe a curious attempt at a simple loaf. Nothing out of the ordinary, just flour, salt, yeast, water and time. You find that it works. It works better than you could ever dare believe it’d work. Your bread tastes real, substantial, [...]

Food & drink

Bathuras, or fried fermented Indian flatbreads

Bathura, or Indian yoghurt fermented deep fried flatbread

I have this theory about Indian restaurants. It may be a Yorkshire thing, or maybe even just a Bradford or Leeds thing, or perhaps its just me, but I reckon you can judge the quality of an Indian restaurant through a combination of how good their breads are and whether or not you get a [...]

Food & drink

How to make croissants

Making French croissants

They look so complicated, with their elegant crescent shape and proudly airy layers of rich pastry, tightly curled up and falling over one another. Breaking one open sends a shower of buttery flakes everywhere and leaves your fingers satisfyingly greasy. Surely, this type of baking is the preserve of the professional? Or the French? But, [...]

Food & drink

How to make parathas

How to make Indian or Pakistani parathas, enriched unleavened Asian flatbreads

A while ago, I spent some time in India, travelling around Rajasthan and the north of the country.  We ended up in the town of Jaiselmer, deep in the Rajasthani scrublands, a place that feels like the very edge of the world. The big tourist thing to do in Jaiselmer is to hire a guide [...]

Food & drink

On why I bake bread

On the spiritual art of making bread

I made a couple of sourdough loaves yesterday. They started out the night before in a mixing bowl, a ladleful of starter mixed with flour and water. More flour in the morning, salt, kneading, proving, shaping, baking. 24 hours of waiting went into those loaves. Slow food, indeed. This batch was different from the last. [...]

Food politics