If you don’t buy bread from a local baker, you could have a go at making your own. This is better than buying over-sized loaves in shops made with palm oil, improvers and wrapped in plastic (and often don’t taste as nice). In France, bread is such an important part of life that bakers are not allowed to take holidays at the same time. No-Knead Artisan Bread (The Simple Veganista) is made in 5 minutes, with just 4 ingredients. If you don’t have a Dutch oven, you can sub with any 5-quart pot or pan with a fitted lid (cast iron, enamel, ceramic or Pyrex).
Keep fresh dough (and other toxic bread ingredients like salt, dried fruits, onions, chives and chocolate) away from pets. Don’t feed stale, mouldy or crusty bread to birds or wildfowl, as it can choke (fat like buttered bread can damage waterproofing/insulation of feathers.
Many people are put off baking their own bread, because it’s not sliced. However, it’s easy to slice your freshly baked loaf. Just put a damp tea towel under a good chopping board (to stop it sliding around) then invest in a good bread knife (safely stored away, when not in use) and you won’t spray crumbs everywhere (not a good idea when pets are nearby). If you bake a lot of bread. 4-Ingredient Bread (Simple Vegan Blog) only needs flour, salt and yeast along with water. Also try Iosune’s recipe for gluten-free bread.
Simple Homemade Bread Recipes
The secret to good bread is good flour. Switch over to wholesome quality flours, to make the best loaves. A double-eyes dough whisk can help to mix even dough up to 3 times quicker, and can be used to make bread, pizza dough and even delicate cakes and pastries. Doves Farm have some good basic recipes:
Spelt Bread (Short Girl, Tall Order) is made with 7 simple ingredients. Spelt is not gluten-free, but an ancient grain that is often easier to digest, than conventional wheat.
Irish Soda Bread (Shane & Simple) is made with just 5 ingredients, in one bowl.
Or try this recipe from A Spoonful of Kindness with homemade vegan buttermilk.
Alternatively you can make this recipe as buttery vegan brioche buns.
Homemade Pitta Bread (So Vegan) are made with fast-acting yeast and olive oil. You need a hot oven, for this recipe to work.
Vegan Cornbread (Crowded Kitchen) is made with just 10 ingredients, and very easy to make. Ideal for soups, chillies or use it in stuffing.
Instead of buying it in shops, use a stick of homemade or bought French bread to maek this easy vegan garlic bread (Crowded Kitchen). It’s ready in 20 minutes, ideal to serve with pasta, pizza or salad.
Croissants are Austrian, rather than French. However, like brioche, nearly all are made with butter. These Vegan Croissants (Carlo Cao) are by a talented Swiss-Italian baker. These use vegan block butter (no palm oil), coated with oat milk wash. Or try these Vegan Chocolate Croissants.
The Best Homemade Bread Mixes
Amisa Organic Oat Bread Mix is organic and free from wheat and gluten, and a high source of fibre and protein. Brimming with seeds and oats, the mix makes one lovely wholesome loaf (contains linseed, sesame, sunflower, chia seeds and millets – not just for budgies!) Avoid chia for swallowing difficulties. Good toasted with your favourite organic jam. Also try their breakfast roll mix.
Store in a Breathable Bread Bag
Store your homemade bread in an organic cotton reusable bread bag. This lets the bread breathe. Plastic traps moisture and cause the crust to soften, and encourage mould growth.
Helen Round makes beautiful bread bags in her Cornish studio, made with linen and hand-printed with pretty designs. The bags are ideal to store not just rolls and loaves, but artisan breads and patissierie. They are also great for home-baked and bakery-bought breads like sourdough. Includes a cotton tie. Choose from:
Award-Winning Bread Dippers from Yorkshire
Charlie & Ivy Bread Dippers are made with Yorkshire rapeseed oil. Just pour into a bowl and tear some crusty bread to dip, or use as part of a serving platter. The range includes:
- Garlic, oregano & balsamic
- Lemon, balsamic & juniper berr
- Chilli, garlic & ginger
- Rosemary, thyme & lemon
- Smoked garlic & black peppercorn
- Blackberry, thyme & balsamic
- White balsamic, tarragon & white peppercorn
Books to Bake Your Own Bread
- Whole Grain Sourdough at Home shows how to bake a beautiful bread loaf, using a master recipe. With one bowl, a few simple ingredients, minimal kneading and less than 24 hours, you have sourdough bread on the table. Includes 60 recipes including sandwich loaves and focaccia. A few recipes contain milk, egg or honey but most don’t (the sandwich loaf is made with almond milk).
- Bread of the Resistance is a book on how to make sourdough, you don’t even need exact measurements. The book is simple and straightforward, with wonderful clear illustrations. Find a nationwide list of sourdough courses. If you bake a lot of bread, a small bread machine is a good investment (can also make pizza base).
- Living Bread by pioneering baker Daniel Leader shows how to make Curry Tomato Ciabatta, Vegan Brioche and Chocolate Sourdough Babka, plus more traditional recipes.
- The Homemade Vegan Pantry is a book packed with staple recipes, including how to make homemade bread (and vegan butter). From pizza dough to homemade pastas, the book also includes tips to make French-style buttercreams, roasted tomatoes and homemade breakfast sausage, to serve on your bread.
- The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Bread is ideal for people with allergies, and includes recipes for yeast breads, crackers, biscuits, tortillas, rolls, pita, bagels and pizza crusts. Along with sweet recipes for muffins, cinnamon rolls and doughnuts.
The Best Shop-Bought Breads
Yorkshire’s Handmade Bakery was the first baker to offer community supported agriculture, where local people fund the bakery, through ‘bread bonds’. By supporting the bakery financially in advance, investors received their profits in the form of bread. The success has now enabled this thriving bakery to also offer classes, to teach local people how to bake good bread.
If you can’t find a local baker and don’t want to bake your own bread, the best choices in supermarkets are Cranks Whole Lotta Organic (made with organic flour, salt, yeast and sunflower oil) and Biona Organic (organic rye breads).