Just a quick break from my reporting of my weekend in Oxford to tell you about my first foray into the realms of breadmaking. I decided that I’d like to give it a go as bread is becoming so expensive to buy, and as a family we eat a lot and don’t enjoy the cheaper bread you can get in the supermarkets. So, it makes sense if I learn how to bake good bread to try to cut back on food costs a little. And also, we always enjoy the speciality breads like cheese bread, or fruit bread which obviously cost even more again.

I bought myself some expensive Hovis flour for my first attempt, although I intend to buy cheaper bread flour in the future. I found the mixing and kneading very therapeutic, in that I didn’t have to think about anything while I was doing it, and it was obviously coming together well and working out in a relatively short amount of time.

I think that when you have stress and worry in other areas of your life, it’s a good thing to be able to do something like this. It’s something that doesn’t take long, but produces a very satisfying and useful result, and also reminds you (when things appear to be going wrong elsewhere) that you are good at something! Ooh, didn’t I sound negative then! But I just wanted to explain what I meant by baking therapy. I can also find this calm when I cycle around the country lanes where it is quiet, and when I walk or sit beside a river or the sea. I think that it is because in open spaces like parks or the seaside you can open your mind completely and relax into your surroundings.

And this, a couple of hours later, was the finished result. I apologise for the poor photo, but it was quite late by the time I took it out of the oven and I was tired! However, I’m pleased to announce that everyone had some of my bread for breakfast this morning (the boys had honey on it and I just had some butter) and everyone said that it was very nice! And so, with that encouragement behind me, I will be making more bread in the very near future! I plan to experiment with different flavours as well as different shapes, and hope that ultimately it will save us money as well as provide me with more valuable baking therapy!


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