Thursday, 27 January 2011

Rosemary & Raisin Bread and Cheese & Black Pepper Bread

Sometimes I like to make my bread a little more interesting by adding some extras. For these loaves I used fresh rosemary and raisins and also strong cheddar cheese with crushed black peppercorns.
My bread recipe is rich in flavour which comes from the rye flour, but is surprisingly light in texture. I like to include white as well as wholemeal flour as this gives a more airy result rather than brick-like and heavy.

I should say that if you don't have a lot of time or patience then this recipe probably isn't for you as the bread requires lots of proving time and kneading to develop the flavour and texture, but I promise you that it is well worth devoting time to using this method.

The beauty of this flavoured bread is that you don't have to put the herbs etc. in at the dry stage, so you can make a big batch of dough, divide it up at the final kneading stage and then add whatever you want, giving you endless options but with any easy approach.

I just chopped some rosemary leaves to add to the dough along with a few handfuls of raisins. Then finished the top of the loaf with some rosemary sprigs and a dash of sea salt flakes.
Cheese is easy to add, just grate some over your flattened piece of dough along with some crushed black peppercorns and knead in. Finish the loaf with some more grated cheese before baking.

My Rustic Bread Dough Recipe

1 tablespoon dried active yeast
500ml luke warm water
1 tablespoon honey
250g white bread flour
200g wholemeal bread flour
200g rye flour
100ml sunflower oil
1 teaspoon salt

In a large jug, dissolve the yeast and honey in the water and then leave to stand for about 10-15 minutes until the liquid froths up.

In a large bowl mix together the white, wholemeal and rye flour with the salt. Tip in the oil and mix well.
Make a well in the centre and tip in the yeast liquid and mix well with a spoon.
Liberally flour your work surface and tip out the dough on to it. The dough will be sticky, but this good. Using more flour on top start kneading the dough with your hands, stretching and folding over in to the middle, over and over again. Do this for 10 minutes until the dough becomes silky and elastic.

Oil the bowl and drop in the dough and cover with some cling film. Put into a warm place (the airing cupboard is good) and leave to rise for at least an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

Remove the dough on to your floured work surface and knock back and knead again for 5 minutes. You should feel and hear air escaping as you do this. Pop it back into the bowl, cover and leave to rise again for another hour.

Repeat the process of kneading and then form the dough into two loaf shapes.
NOTE: If you want to add any flavourings, this can be done at this kneading stage. Divide the dough in half. Flatten each half out and sprinkle with your herbs, fruit, cheese or whatever you fancy and then roll up inside the dough and knead well to mix in.

Place the loaves on oiled baking sheets, cover with some oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place until well risen and almost doubled in size.

Brush with water and make a slash in the top using a very sharp knife.
NOTE: At this stage you can sprinkle with sea salt crystals, spices or herbs.

Place in a preheated oven 200C / 450F / Gas Mark 7 for 30-35 minutes until brown. The loaf should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom, then you'll know it's done.

Photos: ©childsdesign 2010


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