How To Bake An Amazing First Loaf

Homemade Loaf
My husband baked bread. This lovely loaf was made by him. And very delicious it was too. He's working from home (you know, The Virus) and, frankly, I think he was tired of my healthy wholemeal bread. So, upon finding a dearth of bread in the supermarket, he took matters into his own hands. The children were delighted to have white bread, of course, and it was gone within a few hours, but now that someone else has successfully baked, there's every chance it may happen again. Lovely to be baked for. Hint hint.

It was his first loaf, I believe. Evidently he is not alone in pursuing a new-found desire to bake. Flour has been selling out in the shops, Freshly Baked has received an influx of new subscribers (Hello! Welcome! Make yourself at home) and my inbox has been abuzz with queries (lovely to hear from you!). I've been inspired into action again: not only to write this update but to complete a whole new book. More on that later.

I must confess that I am quite liking this social distancing thing. I am naturally inclined to stay at home, alone, with a book. I'm not missing the frenetic pace of our erstwhile schedule: everyone being in one place is much simpler. We've been a home-educating family for years, so, even with the sudden cessation of extra-curricular activities, socialising and trips to the park, we're already somewhat equipped to cope with life spent largely in each others' company. I've always said, the biggest challenge of home education is not the academic content but the relationships. If you're finding it tough to spend so much time with your children, I heartily recommend Laura Markham at to help you through this challenging time. Her books, Calm Parent, Happy Kids and Calm Parent, Happy Siblings have been invaluable in my quest not to catastrophically melt down and send them all to boarding school.

It helps that the sun has been shining and it's been quite mild. The trampoline is my new favourite place to exercise.

Trampolining girl in shadow

The view skyward yesterday was The Best.

Sky blue

It wasn't only my husband who decided to bake this week. My daughter was similarly desperate for white-bread pizza inspired. She really does love pizza.

Making pizza

I made dough balls.

Dough balls

They were hasty but tasty. By which I mean, I didn't spend much time shaping them, so they look rather un-photogenic, but they were a welcome accompaniment to our soup, none the less.

Dough ball and soup

I looked pleased with myself anyway(!)

Dough balls

With all this baking going on at home, and all these new enquiries to Freshly Baked, I thought it might be useful to write a definitive guide to baking bread: clear, step-by-step instructions to help new bakers with their first loaf.

Maybe, having tackled 'Fresh Bread In 20 Minutes' you're ready to move on, raise your game and gain new skills. First Loaf is for you.

First Loaf

In it, you'll find everything I know about baking loaves: My top tips to make the process as simple as possible, answers to the questions I'm always asked, solutions to the problems you might encounter. 

What's your ideal loaf? Dense and chewy? Flavoured with fruit? Packed with seeds? First Loaf will also give you the inspiration and know-how to bake your perfect loaf (or loaves - why stop at one?) so there's plenty of opportunity to take your bread-baking skills to the next level.


  1. Just purchased your new book - can't wait to get started!

    1. Thank you Jakki! I'm excited to know how you get on!


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