Behind Brilliant Bread

This article was originally published in Shetland Life magazine and was written upon receiving my first copy of “Brilliant Bread”


Writing a book not long after finding yourself churned from a reality television show, you come to expect a standard set of questions from tabloid journalists: “Has your life changed? How long did it take you to write your book? Did you write it all? Did you bake everything in the pictures?”

If you’re interested, the answers are: yes; two months; yes; yes. But then comes the most inevitable and quickly the most exhausting: “Why bread?” Normally I try to shyly shrug this off with a few mentions of satisfaction and science and with the frequent use of the word ‘awesome’. All of what I say is true and bread really is awesome. But the most genuine answer would take too much time and reveal far more about myself than I’d rather.

For whatever reason, now, here’s why and how I wrote about bread.


Soon after we filmed the third season of the Great British Bake-Off, a few of us were put in touch with literary agents. It was put to us: 5 of the 6 previous finalists now have book deals. It was taken as a given that we would follow in a cold new exercise to capitalise on our temporary popularity. It seemed a purely financial exercise in which the production company had a reasonable cut.

It was expressed to me in no uncertain terms that a general baking book encompassing a wide variety of culinary categories would be both easiest to sell to the publishers and to the public. This is what people would expect. But gradually, through meetings and tele-conferences with producers and agents, my own suggestions and ideas were, to my surprise, encouraged. I was tentatively told to start down the route I suggested above all else: bread. If my enthusiasm was to be ignored by those who mattered, we could always re-strategize. That was the theory.

My obsession with the idea of a bread book was that I loved it more than any other baking discipline, but that there wasn’t a single book on the subject that didn’t have irritating faults. I saw them all as both single minded and subjective; they advocated one particular set of techniques and skills and denounced all others, without any evidence to justify it.

Not one approached baking from an evidence-based perspective. But more than that, every bread book so far has been written by a professional baker. The worst contain nothing but toned down commercial recipes without much introduction or thought for what the home-baker can replicate at home. The best contain too much detail on copying professional loaves and so become too complicated and alienating for most.

I wanted to write the best bread book on the market. And the concept I devised, as far as I could tell, was mostly that. I didn’t want to churn out 100 recipes and pose with a superimposed cake on the cover of a glossy book for sale for a fiver in Tesco. I didn’t want to be another reality TV reject, even though that is what I clearly am (and I’ve come to terms with it). I wanted to do something well – nay, I wanted to do something the best; better than anyone else had done before. And that is why I picked bread; I thought I could do it justice and start to make a name for myself that didn’t involve the Bake-Off.

I’m sitting with one of the first advance copies of “Brilliant Bread” and I’m proud to say I’m happy. It’s overwhelming to hold it; it is everything I wanted it to be. And I can’t leaf through it without thinking of how it got here.

The first hurdle is the ‘proposal’. This is where you set out exactly how you see your book looking and what it will contain, in just a few pages. This is sent off, via your literary agent (many publishers will simply refuse to read manuscripts not submitted through agents) to a variety and in turn they send a response. For some, it was a blanket “we’ve got too many bread authors already” and others “we’re not interested in the bake-off”. But a few saw enough potential to get me down to London for a meeting.

All the summits were set for a single day – 5 hours down on the train, 5 hours pottering around from posh parts of London to posher, then 5 hours’ journey back up to Glasgow. A whirlwind of coffee, biscuits and enough free cookbooks in branded canvas bags to scar my shoulder.

Within a few weeks, they come back to you with whether they’d like to publish the book and their rough terms. At this point, every publisher wants to get as much out of you as they can: they don’t offer much money and the contracts are one sided. Long negotiations ensue between agents and editors and one emerges triumphant. In my case, I’ll admit Ebury won me over as soon as I walked in and they said, beaming: “We’re the biggest publisher and we don’t have a bread book.”

The problem is that at this point, a contract is concluded and everyone’s celebrating, but the book is still merely an idea. I’ve got a rough plan, jotted down quantities and three months until my exams. I gave myself a month to study, and vowed to write furiously for the first two. This desperate struggle worked out, undramatically; I submitted my manuscript on time and proceeded to pass my exams with comfortable margins.

It’s often pointed out to me that writing 60,000 words in two months on top of a medical degree is a tough ask. It was hard, but it was do-able. If I’d been writing a cake book, though? Patisserie? Nope. I wouldn’t have had the enthusiasm or drive to get it in on time. Because it was bread, I was fervent to get on to the next chapter or the next section. I saved ‘Sourdough’ to the very end as a treat; I indulged in going over and over it and cutting many a superfluous word.

I hope this boyish excitement comes across inside– and I hope I do Shetland justice. Please don’t shout at me for my (girdle) bannock recipe until you’ve tried it, because it’s actually pretty good.


Order now!


UPDATE! Check out this awesome video for a comprehensive guide. For the full recipe, see down the bottom:

Hullo everyone!

One question I get asked most often by those who have got my book is: “what recipe should I start with??”

Usually, what I suggest tends to vary depending on my mood. But the most frequent answers will be focaccia or pita breads if you’re a complete beginner, or my “never-fail” rye and raisin if you’re experienced.

Focaccia and Pitas are both from the “basic breads” chapter of my book – these breads don’t require any kneading if you don’t want to, or any other prior thought really. They just let you get on with making great loaves without any fuss. Each is designed to take the beginner through a different aspect of breadmaking and to suggest concepts that will help you later on. Because these are so simple, we’ve put together a few recipe cards to give everyone a chance to bake brilliant bread!


So here I present my focaccia recipe and why it is so awesome. This one is designed to introduce the beginner to really wet doughs – and it is very wet (though not as sticky as some in the book). To view it full size, just click below!

(Direct link to image if above doesn’t work: FOCACCIA)



Brilliant Bread is OUT NOW and available to purchase HERE


Bread Beckons

Last night’s GBBO4 debut brought back some memories.

The initial exhilaration at meeting Mel and Sue. Memories of the massive marquee and the hundreds of insects that would congregate in the peaks of its rolling ceiling. And memories of the intense nausea brought on by faltering self-control in the face of unlimited cake and its constituent ingredients. I imagined half the chocolate chips involved in this year’s cocoa-showstopper went raw into the mouths of the contestants and crew and comediennes.

After our first two days of filming, we were all averse to sweetness – the mere thought brought on the boak. There was one flicker of optimism and that was that next week was bread week. Savoury week. The week where we were released from our saccharine shackles and could pig out without fear of repercussion.


And now, today, next week is bread week. I’m worried. My own bread experience on GBBO was less than ideal – I was frustrated with my results in every challenge and selfishly lashed out at Paul and producers for setting such short challenges. Good bread takes time. Great bread takes a lot of time – with spells that can be spent doing other things. By asking us to produce a plaited loaf in 2 hours (TWO HOURS) you’re simply condoning this drivel to the population.

Last year, I pleaded for a challenge for next year’s contestants in which there was an unlimited or protracted time limit – let us see the best of the best of what they can do. Today, I can see why they won’t do this (it’s TV, after all) but I still live in hope. I want to see some acknowledgement of this glorious school of baking that often seems as diverse as all others combined; I want to see sourdoughs and wholegrains and not just underproved and underbaked white breads with each contestant’s own desperate ‘twist’. I’m guilty of using the beyond-clichéd ‘Ispahan’ combination (rose, lychee, raspberry) but last night we saw it too many times. Maybe when bake-off becomes tired and the format needs rejigging, maybe we’ll see true innovation. But the problem is that for the moment, it’s just too darn good to change.


On Tuesday next week, there will be GBBO’s bread episode. I fully expect it to reduce breadbaking to a circus and will not in any way shine light on the remarkable abilities of 12 beautifully talented individuals left.

But if you want a proper introduction to bread, wait until Thursday. To see just how hard bakers can make loaves look (and how easy it really is), to see how you can bend baking amazing breads around the busiest of lives and to be taken through every step in as much or as little detail as you and still always make something to be proud of, wait until Thursday.

On Thursday, my first book is out. It’s called “Brilliant Bread”. Notice: Mr Hollywood’s book is merely “Bread”.


And I’m proud of those 60,000 words. My aim was not just to take bread baking to a new and younger audience, it was to try and produce the best beginner bread book on the market. I think we’ve done that.

Inside, you’ll find a full set of step by steps for every process I felt couldn’t be accurately portrayed in words. And the step-by-step theme continues: you’ll find a range of breads for a range of circumstances and abilities. Begin as a book is meant to: at the beginning. Read my spiel about the ingredients and the processes and take it one step at a time. I promise that do it this way, listening to what I have to say and baking just a bread or two from each chapter, you’ll soon be baking loaves as good as the best Artisan Bakeries in the world. Truly: world-class bread is achievable by the even the indifferent amateur. I love that about bread.

45193_RAND_BBR_P0044.pdf 45193_RAND_BBR_P0045.pdf

And people say to me: “YOU can bake great bread in 5 minutes, maybe. But me? Naw.” Please trust me: anyone can. Just read the book and don’t try a sourdough or a panettone as your first go. You’ll be grand. Moreover, you’ll save the full cost of the book after just the first two times you leave a bottle of wine at home bring fresh focaccia or magnificent miche round as a dinner party gift instead.


Order here and it will be with you on Thursday: AMAZON

Mars Bar Macarons

So, this is the first blog in a while. But I’m going to get back into it. Whilst I’ve been quiet here and on the twittersphere, I’ve been busy polishing off a book, writing plenty of recipe columns for the Sunday Mail (note: not associated with the Daily Mail) and trying to learn lots of stuff about cardiology. Hopefully, bits and pieces of all of these will end up on here!

But far more importantly, Mars Bars. Battered, they are excellent, as we all know. But there are few other chocolate- and chocolatebar-related recipes that, I feel, actually become better than if you were to just eat the pure product. So in the interests of proving Scotland can do more than fry the Mars and in finding a way to combat that soft-sickly texture the original bar can sometimes have, I came up with this. It’s a bit of fun. And it’s actually really, really good. And it’s easy.


Mars Bar Macarons

110g icing sugar

60g ground almonds

2 medium egg whites

40g caster sugar

2 teaspoons cocoa powder

3 standard Mars Bars, chilled in the fridge


Makes about 12 sizeable macarons

1 Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. In a food processor (or using a blender/stick blender if you don’t have one), grind together the icing sugar, cocoa and ground almonds until there are no lumps – you want them as powdery as you can.

2In a large bowl (don’t use plastic), whisk your egg whites and caster sugar until stiff. Add your sweet almond powder to your airy sugary egg whites and mix everything together until you’ve forced most of that air you’ve captured out, so that the mixture tumbles from your spoon, gradually but gloopily. Stop when it reaches exactly the consistency of flowing lava – when you drop some into your bowl, the surface should slowly flatten out to leave no visible peak.

3 Scoop your mixture into a freezer or piping bag and pipe little circles onto your prepared baking sheet –  anything between 1-2 inches in diameter. Once your macarons are piped, lift your baking tray about a foot or two above your work surface and drop it so it smashes down dramatically. Repeat 2-3 times – this removes any big bubbles that might be left in the mixture.

4 This is the most important step. Leave your piped macarons uncovered and at room temperature for, at the very least, 30 minutes. The longer the better. You want the surface to dry out and a skin to form. At this point, preheat your oven to 180C/160C fan. Your oven must be properly preheated.

5 Bake for between 10 and 12 minutes, depending on the size you’ve gone for. You must take them out before they begin to go brown. A good tip is to open the oven fully, then quickly close it again, at least twice during cooking. This will remove excess steam.

6. Once done, cool the macarons on their tray whilst you make the filling. First, take 1 and a half of your mars bars and melt them in a microwave until smooth – this filling hardens up quickly, but you can just re-melt as many times as you like. Add a teaspoon of filling to the underside of a macaron shell, then cut a sliver off your remaining bars using your sharpest knife and place this on top. Sandwich with another macaron shell then place another sliver on top. Repeat.


BakeryBits Bread Baking Kit Giveaway

Yet another corporate sell out having to resort to free giveaways to generate traffic for his blog? No, actually.

This is something I’ve been working personally to organise for a while. The unadulterated truth is that for getting professional bread baking results at home, there is only one place I get my bread stuff: BakeryBits. I think I’m right in saying GBBO Judge Mr Hollywood goes here too. There are good reasons: everything is really good quality and very reasonably priced. It’s great for hard-to-get-at-home stuff like Aroma Panettone and Diastatic Malt Flour. But it’s even better for it’s selection of basic equipment for home and trade alike.

I have been through the entire website and have compiled a list of essential bread baking kit that I think will help take any home baker’s bread to the next level. These are the EXACT SAME products that I use at home. I own at least one of everything that have kindly agreed to donate for one lucky winner (and no, they didn’t give them to me; I’ve owned them for a while).

This includes:

A BakeryBits Dough Scraper

A BakeryBits Stainless Steel Dough Cutter

A proper High Sided Loaf Tin

A super-sharp Landaise Lame

A BakeryBits 1kg Round Banneton (proving basket)

A BakeryBits Dough Whisk


To be in with a chance of winning, all you need to do is enter below. Click the wee ‘tweet’ button to tweet a link to the competition and then confirm it. You can also like the BakeryBits facebook page for a chance of winning.


(some people saying they are having trouble tweeting – enter with your email address and the little tweet button definitely should come up)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Christmas Mincemeat Tarte Tatin

Let’s face it: Christmas should be care-free. It should be for curling up near something warm with a hot and spicy mug of mull.

Is it ever?

I’ll concede that when it comes to baking and Christmas, sometimes it’s really worth making the effort. Christmas cake, Christmas pudding, panettone… I wouldn’t ever rush them. As the days grow shorter, though, I don’t want to take time or make effort. I want television and alcohol and paper hats.

This recipe is for the short days,

Ingredients shameless and shop-bought and proud.


Christmas Mincemeat Tarte tatin

1 packet of shop-bought all-butter puff pastry

6-8 sweet apples (any kind will do)

200g golden caster sugar

50g unsalted butter

A splash of water

Juice of 1 Large Lemon

A wee pinch of salt

1/2 a jar of cheap mincemeat

A wee pinch of cinnamon (optional)


Flour, for rolling


Makes one large tarte tatin

1. Preheat the oven to about 180C. Peel, slice and core the apples in any way you like. I cut them into 12, by cutting them in half, then in half again, then each bit into three. It doesn’t matter if they start to turn brown – this helps them hold their shape.

2. In an ovenproof frying pan, weigh out the sugar, butter, water, lemon juice and salt. Place the pan on a medium heat, stirring to combine the ingredients. Once it’s boiling, turn it off.

3. Add the apples, the mincemeat and the sprinkling of cinnamon. Return to a high heat and don’t be afraid to boil furiously for about 10-15 minutes, until the apples themselves (not just the surrounding caramel) are beginning to blush brown. The lemon juice will stop the caramel from crystallising.

4. Whilst the apples are bubbling, roll out the pastry with plenty of flour so it is wide enough to cover your frying pan. Once the apples are ready, place the rolled out pastry on top of the pan and trim around the edge using a sharp knife. Tuck the edges of the pastry inside the pan, around the apples.

5. Place the whole pan in the oven to bake for at least 30 minutes – you don’t want a soggy bottom. The pastry should be a deep, golden brown and nicely puffed up. Enjoy hot, with cream.


Have a very, very merry Christmas,



Yum Yums

The artisanal Yum Yum is the best thing you will ever taste.


At the request of a certain sister of a certain member of One Direction, I tentatively present my very best recipe: Yum Yums. I’ve got a feeling I’ll have to spend the rest of my life dealing with the health repercussions of this post.

If you’ve not had a Yum Yum before, it’s basically a cross between a doughnut and a croissant. Then drenched in icing. And the ones you bought from the shops may have been the most delicious thing in the world – until now. Thankfully (or dangerously), this method is so very easy. You don’t need to own any special equipment or do any kneading.



500g strong white bread flour

2 sachets (or 14g) fast action yeast

8g salt (or about one heaped teaspoon; reduce if using salted butter)

30g sugar

250g water (a tiny bit warm; weigh out rather than use a jug)

1 medium egg

100g unsalted butter, chilled and diced


Oil, for frying

More flour, for rolling



250g icing sugar, sifted

60ml (4 tablespoons) water


Makes 14-16 Yum Yums


1. In a large bowl, weigh out the flour, salt and yeast. Lightly rub the salt and yeast into the flour on opposite sides of the bowl, then rub in the sugar.


2. Dice the chilled butter into thin pieces (as shown). Add this to the flour and don’t rub it in – you don’t want it like breadcrumbs. Just lightly stir the butter into the flour.

3.Add the water and the egg to your mixture and mix using a wooden spoon until begins to come together. Then, use your hands to mix until your dough has mopped up all the flour. Cover your bowl with cling film (or a wet teacloth) and rest for at least half an hour at room temperature.


RESTING TIP 1: For a better Yum Yum with more complexity of flavour, rest in the fridge overnight.


4. Once the dough is rested, it’s time to laminate. Flour a work surface and roll your yum yum dough out into a long rectangle. Turn your rectangle so the long side is facing you. Take both ends, and fold them into the middle. Then, close the whole thing like a book (shown). Roll out again and repeat the whole folding process until your lumps of butter have disappeared (3-5 times). Wrap your laminated dough in cling film and put in the fridge for another half an hour to rest.

RESTING TIP 2: 30 minutes is the minimum resting time recommended for a good Yum Yum. For a more open structure, leave to rest here for as long as possible (ie over 2 hours).


5. Once rested, roll your dough out one final time on a floured surface into a big rectangle. Cut into strips of your desired size. To each strip, make a cut down its length, but leaving at least a centimetre attached at both ends. Twist this round into a Yum Yum shape as shown:


6. Leave to rest on an oiled surface in a warm place for at least an hour, until doubled in size. Near the end of the rest, make the icing by mixing the icing sugar and water, then prepare the oil


OIL TIP: If you don’t have a deep fat fryer (I don’t), heat a big pan of oil ON A LOW HEAT that’s going to be deep enough to take a Yum Yum. It should be constant at 170-180C. If you don’t have a digital/sugar thermometer, be careful and reserve bits of dough to test your oil regularly to make sure it’s not too hot. Please seek full and proper safety guidance before handling hot oil.

7. Fry your Yum Yums until a golden brown on each side. As soon as they’re done, remove from the oil and brush liberally with the icing. Leave to cool completely on a cooling rack before enjoying.


14-Hour Meringues

Why the hell would you spend 14 hours making meringues? How the hell CAN you spend 14 hours making meringues?

Because these are quite lovely. They are somewhere between your traditional crisp meringue and the soft and light poached meringue. They are fluffy and cloud-like, but have a light and delicate crisp coating around the outside. These actually don’t require much effort at all, but I’m afraid they do take rather a long time – your best bet is to bake them overnight.

The secret is a big slab of stone, on which to bake. My baking stone is a Tesco Granite Surface Protector. At home in Shetland, our oven is full of roofing slates. It doesn’t need to be fancy – just scour your streets for flat slabs and give em a good wash. Granite floor tiles are good. The stone is normally used to stone-bake bread; it retains heat, so you can just switch the oven off and let the meringues cook slowly on the stone overnight.

And you’ll want an electric mixer, if you don’t want a sore arm.


Makes 6 huge meringues


6 egg whites

300g caster sugar


1. About 1 hour before you intend to bake, preheat your oven with a baking stone inside to 220 degrees C.

2. Put the egg whites in an electric mixer with a whisk attachment. Set to it’s noisiest setting.

3. Weigh out the sugar. Once the egg whites are light and fluffy and big, start adding the sugar, without turning the speed down. Add the sugar a teaspoon at a time, one straight after the other. You may find this quite a slow process, but this is right.

4. Once all the sugar is all added, continue whisking for about 1 minute. Turn the mixer off and remove the whisk – it should be a proper stiff peak.

5. Scoop out the meringue into 6 big piles (leave plenty of space between them) on a greased and lined tray (non stick baking paper if possible). Place in the hot oven on the stone and turn the oven off straight away.

6. Wait until the oven is totally cool – best to leave it overnight.


Enjoy with blueberries and whipped cream. Nom.

Raise some Dough for Children in Knead

This is just an idea.

Bake sales are popular. You can’t turn a corner without the local sexual health charity peddling rude cupcakes or student communists shouting after you to try their patisserie.

Bake sales are popular because they represent all things brilliant in society. They not only raise mind-boggling cash for charity, but they’re super fun to run and everyone, customer and vendor alike, gets right into the spirit. So why not try starting a bake sale with a difference?

You’ve got the chance to both raise lots of cash for charity and try a new thing – bread. Bread can be intimidating, but there’s genuinely nothing to get stressed about! There are plenty of great beginner books out there (Richard Bertinet and Dan Lepard probably best), but also a fantastic resource online (The Fresh Loaf amongst others ). Not only that, but here’s a Bake Sale Specific Recipe for you – I hope you’ll find it so simple that you’ll not only make pots of money for a good cause, but you’ll keep baking bread forever more.

And what cause is better than Children in Need? As well as the truly wonderful work that is done on their behalf, it provides opportunity to get everyone baking bread and utilise possibly the best bun in baking: it’s time to Raise Some Dough for Children in Knead. (I’ll admit, it was actually my father (@thebeatcroft) who came up with it…)

Go on. Give it a go! I’m sure someone can lend you a folding table or picnic blanket.



Crusty Bake Sale Buns


500g Strong White Flour (or plain flour if that’s all you’ve got)

One 7g sachet fast-action yeast (make sure it’s in date!)

10g Salt

340g water (weigh all your ingredients if you can for better accuracy)

Optional: a flavouring of your choice; fresh herbs, dried fruit, and nuts all work well


Makes 12 buns.

Total time required in the kitchen: 5-10 minutes. Start them the evening before your bake sale for best results.

1. In a large bowl, weigh the flour. With your fingers, rub in the salt at one edge of the bowl and the sachet of dried yeast on the opposite side (the salt can stop the yeast working). Add the flavouring if you’re using.

2. Add the water to the dry ingredients, and mix together until it forms a coherent dough (use your dough to mop up all the flour on the bowl). Cover your bowl with a damp tea towel or cling film and rest in a warm place for at least 30-40 minutes, or until noticeably expanded in size.

3. Wet the fingers of one hand, and slide your fingertips between the bowl and the dough and fold the dough in half. Turn the bowl a quarter turn, and repeat until you have removed all of the air and it is noticeably smooth. Keep your fingers wet to stop them sticking. Cover your bowl again, and rest the dough for a full hour, or until noticeably ballooned in size.

4. Scrape the dough out onto a floured surface and using floured hands this time, roll it up into a long sausage shape. Cut the sausage in half and in half again. Divide each piece of dough into 3 so you have 12 rough pieces of dough.

5.  On a surface without any flour on it, place your piece of dough. Rub some flour into the palm of one hand, getting rid of any excess. Cup your floured hand as if you had to carry water in it, then turn it upside down keeping that same shape. Place your hand around your little piece of dough and make big circular movements with your hand. You should feel the dough turning with the friction between your hand and the work surface – this will tighten it into a nice ball. Repeat, placing the rolls on an oiled baking tray.

6. Pop your tray in the fridge overnight; this slows the yeast right down. In the morning they should almost be touching (it doesn’t matter if they do touch, you can tear them apart after baking!). Preheat your oven to 200C (190 fan) about 20 minutes before you want to bake them.

7. Before you bake them, lightly slash the top of each roll in a cross shape using a bread knife. Pop your baking tray in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until your rolls are a dark golden brown.

Mug Bread


This is all you need.


Homemade bread should be ubiquitous. It is cheaper than buying bread. It requires less effort than popping to the shops to buy bread. It is more delicious than any bought bread. And the satisfaction and smell of a freshly baked loaf brings you as close as you are ever going to get to divinity.

Homemade bread can only become universal with accessibility. This does not mean having to spend a fortune on specialised equipment or ingredients. This recipe takes the commercialisation of baking and dismisses it. You can make bread anywhere. Anywhere, so long as you can find a mug, a bowl, a tin (or tray, dish, pot… anything) and an oven. And you can forego the bowl if you wish.


Takes a few hours in total, but about 5-10 minutes in the kitchen. Perfect for dinner parties at home or away.


Two and a quarter full mugs of plain or strong flour (they both work fine…)

One full mug of tepid water (hot+cold tap mix)

A sachet of yeast (or a heaped teaspoon)

Enough salt to just coat the bottom of the mug


Makes 1 large loaf, but size will depend on your mug


1. Measure out the flour into a bowl using a dry mug. Measure the salt by just coating the bottom surface of the same mug you used to measure the flour. If your mug is curved at the bottom, add a pinch extra. Rub in the salt and then add the sachet of yeast and rub that in too.

TIP: Water-flour ratio doesn’t need to be exact, as great bread can be made much more or less water than the measurements given here.

2. Fill your mug with tap water. You should dunk your fingers in and if you can’t tell whether its hot or cold then it’s perfect. Use one hand to mix into the dry ingredients together into a rough dough. Don’t worry if you find it a little wet – this is right.

TIP: to get sticky dough off your hand, rub your doughy hand in more flour

3. Cover (with clingfilm or a damp teacloth) and leave the dough to rest for 40 minutes, or until noticeably plumper.

4. When rested, fill your mug with water and use this to dip your fingers in to stop them sticking. Slide your wet fingers underneath the dough and firmly fold it in half. Rotate the dough and fold in half again. Repeat until you have forced all the air out of the dough (you should hear little high pitched squeaks!). Notice how smooth it is? This is what a kneaded dough looks like.

5. Cover and rest again for an hour, or until nearly doubled in size.

TIP: If, at any point, you need to go out, just stick your bread in the fridge. It will slow down your 1 hour resting time to about 10-12 hours, so you can just forget about it until the morning or when you get back.

6. Once rested, it’s time to shape the dough. Generously flour a work surface and, using slightly wet fingers, scoop the dough out onto it. Now, flour your fist and punch it into a rough square. It doesn’t need to be thin, keep it at least an inch thick; just punched enough so you can discern four corner-ish shapes.

7. To shape, flour your hands and grab your corners and fold them into the middle of the dough, pressing down so each one sticks. Now, gather all the edges of the dough together and press them together in the middle, holding them so they stick. Flip your bread over and place on your heavily floured baking tin to prove.

TIP: Your baking tin can be anything. Easiest is a baking or roasting tray, but a big pot with a lid is probably best as you can put the lid on for the first 15 minutes of baking to create steam as in a true bakers’ oven.

8. Rest (prove) for a final hour, or until doubled in size again. About 20 minutes before you’re ready to bake, preheat your oven to 210 degrees.

9. Score the top of your bread. A serrated knife is best and I would aim for cuts around 5mm – 10mm deep. I recommend a simple cross shape if you are unsure of patterns.

10. Bake for 30-45 minutes. You want a dark golden brown colour and a good thick crust!

A white Mug Bread, next to a massive Rye Sourdough that takes over 24 hours to make.