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Breadsong: How Baking Changed Our Lives

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This is not just the story of Kitty and Al but her very understanding and supportive Mum and older brother and sister. And also all of the population of Watlington which seems like a wonderful community to live in.

Breadsong: How Baking Changed Our Lives by Kitty Tait, Al Breadsong: How Baking Changed Our Lives by Kitty Tait, Al

The Orange Bakery, especially, has developed a cult following. An artist called Biddy who makes work about “anything that’s dead”, describes it to me as the heartbeat of Watlington. When I’m hanging around the shop, a man with his toddler son tells me, unsolicited, that the Taits make the best bread in the world. When I tell Kitty that later, she replies: “Well, I did pay him. Money well spent. The boy, actually, was the expensive one.” I think that bread, just like Dad, will always just be a part of me Kitty Tait

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Don’t, whatever you do, call it a village. Watlington, population 2,643, on the edge of the Chiltern Hills in Oxfordshire, is reputed to be the smallest town in England. “We are so proud of that fact,” says 17-year-old Kitty Tait. “The townspeople, the smallest townspeople, are very proud of that.” Kitty is clearly very focussed and determined and before long their small home was filled with an industrial oven and other bread making paraphernalia with flour dust everywhere. Within a year of so Kitty and Al had opened The Orange Bakery in their village of Watlington near Oxford and one day Al realised that he was no longer a teacher but a baker. Both Al and Kitty are effusive about Aggie and Albert, Kitty’s patient siblings, who had to put up with their kitchen being turned into a professional bakery for a couple of years. Kitty has even named one of the Orange Bakery’s sourdough loaves after her brother. “We think he likes the fact that it’s called The Albert,” says Katie, their mum. Then she giggles: “He doesn’t really, actually.” Radio 2 has a lot to answer for; every time they feature an author on their Sunday morning show, I HAVE to go and buy it, and this was no exception.

Breadsong Book Launch — Five Little Pigs Breadsong Book Launch — Five Little Pigs

What’s that famous saying? Don’t cry over spilled milk? But you can cry over a freshly made loaf of bread. Tip the dough on to a lightly floured work surface and either knead by hand for 10 minutes or in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook for 4-5 minutes, gradually working the cubes of butter into the dough as you knead until it is soft, silky and stretchy. Leave the dough in the bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. Leave to prove in a warm place for 12-16 hours. I always appreciate a cookbook which blends the cook's story and experiences into the recipes, which Breadsong manages excellently.Replace the casserole lid and return it to the oven for 30 minutes. Now remove the lid and continue baking for 10 - 15 minutes until it is golden brown. Line a deep baking tray with parchment paper. Place the dough slices cut-side down on the tray, spacing them 1cm apart. Place a damp tea towel over the top and leave in a warm place to prove for 40-45 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Dad, bread and me: how baking gave one teenager a new zest

This book is such a wonderful read. It shows the deep bond of family, friends and the support of a community, and how much of an impact this can have on a person's life. The village of Watlington comes across as a wonderful place to live, with so many people helping on Kitty’s journey. The book is beautifully and simply written, with some beautiful hand drawn illustrations, and excellent photography. The story is inspiring, and shows how, with the right support you can get through most challenges in life. When you have finished the beautiful story, you then get to the recipes which were chosen to be included. They are wonderfully clearly laid out, with fantastic product photos, excellent and easy to follow instructions, and they all sound amazing. I think this book would make a wonderful gift for anyone in your life who enjoys food, and who has ever struggled with mental health. It is a perfect combination.Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the salt and yeast. Stir together using either a sturdy spoon or, my personal favourite, your hands. Bit by bit gently mix in the lukewarm water until a shaggy dough forms. We call this the Scooby dough in homage to Scooby-Doo. When I first took this book out of the library I tried some recipes and made the decision not to buy shop bought bread anymore. I make bread every day now. I made my own sourdough starter and made a loaf that tasted better than any bread I had previously eaten. I really wanted this book and managed to find a copy that wasn't too expensive. I felt disappointed that the book was half filled with 'the journey' and I didn't want this part but bought it for the recipes. I then took my copy on holiday and read 'the journey'. It was so enjoyable, I loved every minute, it was so interesting and despite my preconceptions (thought they must have had a bit of money to start something like this) I was completely wrong and it was completely inspirational how this happened. It's given me hope and inspiration to try to do something with my own love of cooking and I would highly recommend this to anyone but especially those who have found a time in their life when they have struggled. It's profoundly obvious but there are just some things that are bound to help when you're not feeling well or when you are stressed and walking a dog or baking some bread or spending time with loved ones should be up there with things doctors prescribe. I loved the illustrations and the use of photos. Was the choice of an old copy of “What Katy did” made on purpose?

Breadsong: How Baking Changed Our Lives: Kitty Tait Breadsong: How Baking Changed Our Lives: Kitty Tait

Inspiring, humbling, amusing, engaging, moving ….just a few of the adjectives I could use to sum up this book which is oh so much more than a cookery book. Written by both Kitty Tait & her father Al Tait the first half recounts their journey which lead them to setting up their ‘Orange Bakery’ & the second half is recipes. But even the recipes (written by Kitty) are a joy to read. Never have I ever laughed out loud at a serving suggestion before!! Yes it’s also a memoir through the hell that is anxiety & depression but the whole book is a complete joy. I’d recommend it to anyone. Now to bake me some bread!! Drain the fruit in a colander and remove the tea bag. Scatter the plump fruit over the dough along with the lemon zest, if using. I chose this book because on the surface, it is about anxiety and depression, something I suffered from at a similar age to Kitty. I am always interested in how people cope with a mental health issue especially when you are still in your teens and in full time education. However, there is so much more to this book. Kitty is a strong woman with a wonderfully supportive family who not only allow her to recover in her own way without worrying about her schooling but help her every step of the way. It was a brave move for her father to give up the job of teaching to become a baker in partnership with his daughter. It is clear he knew he had no option. He writes about his amazing journey in this book and Kitty writes about hers. It doesn’t surprise me how much support this family received on their journey including from teachers at Kitty’s school. This is part memoir, part cookbook. The first part is written in two hands, between Kitty and Al (the father), describing their journey to help Kitty overcome her anxiety and their journey with the bakery as well as the two seemed to come together. I really loved reading this memoir and was totally obsessed by it (I read it over two days and probably also dreamt about it at night). To make the glaze, warm the water and marmalade or jam in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Generously brush the glaze over the buns. You can hold on to any spare for later use as it will keep for several days.This book is split into two parts, the first portion is biographical and tells the story of how Kitty Tait and her father became bakers, and how the baking helped her to overcome her own personal issues. And writing about it, I didn’t realise how emotionally exhausting it was going to be,” she goes on. “There’s all this trauma that I’d just pushed down and moved on from that I had to work my way through again. And that was really painful, but also really good because, at the end of it, I understood, not why I got ill or why I struggled, but I became immensely proud of myself. Beforehand, I’d felt really ashamed of my mental health: the times that I couldn’t get out of bed or the times when I just had to scream. And writing about it made me realise my mental health wasn’t my fault and it never really was. And there might be other people who might feel ashamed of their mental health.” It has been so lovely reading about Kitty’s journey through her mental health and seeing how much the family supported each other. The story of how the Orange Bakery came to be is so heartwarming and I’m so glad to know that there are communities out there who will support each other so fervently and are always there to boost each other up. I actually finished reading the memoir part of this book a couple of weeks ago - the day I received it in fact. But I had to wait until I had baked a couple of the recipes before I could do a legit review! Halfway through the resting time, preheat the oven to 210C fan/gas mark 9 or as high as it will go. Put a large cast-iron casserole dish with a lid and a heatproof handle into the hot oven for 30 minutes to heat up.

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