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

Thank you to the Tandem Collective for a copy of the book, to join the readalong / bakealong for Breadsong.

Synopsis:

‘If you had told me at 14 when I couldn’t even get out of bed with depression and anxiety that three years later I would have written a book I would never have believed you. But here it is – the story of the Orange Bakery. How I went from bed to bread and how my Dad went from being a teacher to a baker. You reading it means everything to me’ Kitty Tait

Breadsong tells the story of Kitty Tait who was a chatty, bouncy and full-of-life 14 year old until she was overwhelmed by an ever-thickening cloud of depression and anxiety and she withdrew from the world. Her desperate family tried everything to help her but she slipped further away from them.

One day her dad Alex, a teacher, baked a loaf of bread with her and that small moment changed everything. One loaf quickly escalated into an obsession and Kitty started to find her way out of the terrible place she was in. Baking bread was the one thing that made any sense to her and before long she was making loaves for half her village. After a few whirlwind months, she and her dad opened the Orange Bakery, where queues now regularly snake down the street.

Breadsong is also a cookbook full of Kitty’s favourite recipes, including:

– the Comfort loaf made with Marmite, and with a crust that tastes like Twiglets
– bitesize queue nibbles, doughnuts with an ever-changing filling to keep the bakery queue happy
– sticky fika buns with mix-and-match fillings such as cardamom and orange
– Happy Bread covered with salted caramel
– cheese straws made with easy homemade ruff puff pastry
– the ultimatebrown butter and choc chip cookies with the perfect combination of gooey centre and crispy edges.

My first attempt at the chocolate chip cookies

My thoughts:

Having just had a new kitchen installed, this book arrived at the perfect time to enable me to find my baking mojo again.

As the synopsis states, Kitty discovered baking at the age of 14, enabling her to find a purpose in life after suffering from anxiety and depression. The first half of the book is told by both Kitty and her dad, Al, explaining how baking took over their lives, home and local community.

Thank you to Kitty and Al for sharing their story, hopefully this will help and inspire many other people. Thank you also for sharing your recipes. So far I’ve made the cheese straws (must follow the recipe instructions more carefully) and the Ultimate Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (followed the recipe and everyone has declared them the ‘best ever’ cookies).

I’m planning to use the upcoming jubilee bank holiday to try some of the bread recipes, including the miracle bread. I also hope to make a sour dough starter this summer and try more of the sweet and savoury recipes in this fabulous book.

If you enjoy baking, this is a book you need to add to your collection. Or alternatively, visit the Orange Bakery in Watlington, Oxfordshire and let the Tait family bake for you (follow them on Instagram at @the_orangebakery )

Cheese straws – not quite as the recipe said – totally my fault

By Karen K is reading

An avid reader from the age of 4. Love escaping into a good novel after a busy day working with students. Mum of teenagers. Adopter of dogs.

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