National Bread Week: 10 brilliant recipes to get you baking

Sourdough loaves, tray-bake focaccia, oriental bao buns, and a best-ever banana bread to mark National Bread Week

It's National Bread Week, so naturally it's bread week in the Great British Bake Off tent too, where they'll be baking up a storm in the hope of impressing master baker Paul Hollywood. If you want to get some of those tantalising aromas going in your own kitchen, here are 10 great bread recipes to get you started.

They say that once you go sourdough, there's no going back. If you want to start from scratch, read baker Patrick Ryan of Firehouse Bakery on the process of making your own starter, as well as keeping it alive. Ryan also shares his recipe for an easy overnight sourdough loaf that is baked in a pyrex casserole dish.

If you want to get baking immediately, rather than wait for your own starter to bubble into life, bakers who are members of Real Bread Ireland countrywide, and branches of The Natural Bakery in Dublin and Kildare, are giving away free starter to mark Sourdough September.

For an easy, tray-baked bread that can double as a pizza replacement, give Donal Skehan's tomato and mozzarella focaccia bread a go. It's hard to go wrong with a springy, squidgy, olive-oil rich slab topped with cheese.


Domini Kemp's potato and olive bread is also a tray-bake, and good for tearing into generous wedges, but this one has the interesting addition of baked potato in the yeast dough.

For an alternative take on a healthy loaf, Kemp's no-grain, nut, kale and seed bread is a worthy contender. Soaked quinoa, almonds and a smattering of seeds – linseed, pumpkin, sunflower and chia – bake into a dense but flavoursome loaf.

If you're lucky enough to have a glut of courgettes, the same writer's courgette bread could be a godsend. It's a quick and easy wet mix into dry mix method, and comes out of the oven a pleasing colour of green.

Scones are bread too, right? Vanessa Greenwood gives them a savoury twist in her recipe for blue cheese scones with fig jam. Figs are right in season now, and Greenwood's jam comes together in minutes.

For something a bit different, steam a batch of bao buns and stuff them with something fresh, zingy and colourful. The Asian street food staple is the backbone of the menu at Bread & Bones in Millennium Walkway in Dublin 1, but you can replicate them at home with their easy to follow recipe.

Closer to home, chef Kevin Dundon shares his traditional Irish brown bread recipe on the website. "Sometimes I add in some pine nuts, sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, fennel, and caraway seeds for a healthy crunchy finish. Diced dried apricots and sultanas add an unusual finish to the bread also," he says.

When Lilly Higgins says something is her "best ever", people sit up and take notice. So her best ever banana bread recipe is definitely worth a shot. A crunchy black pepper streusel is an exotic addition to the bake.

Finally, the bread that I've been making on repeat since discovering it, is the flatbread from Jamie Oliver's latest book, 5 Ingredients Quick & Easy Food. Four tablespoons of self raising flour, the same of natural yoghurt, a splash of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, pulled into a soft dough, divided in two, flattened and fried. That simple, that good.