… The Viking and I spent the weekend in London this last weekend. The weather was incredibly hit and miss swinging from scorching hot to torrential downpours. We managed to avoid the worst of the rain and found ourselves walking along the Southbank from Waterloo to Tower Bridge. It’s one of those tourist walks that you tend to avoid at the weekends as a Londoner because it’s inevitably crowded and the food offerings along the way are horrendously expensive but we paced ourselves and ignored the massing throng and had a lovely time. We didn’t eat this time, learning from past experience and instead ended the journey in the supermarket purchasing naughty things for a picnic at home, like crisps and cheap bread to make un-healthy but delicious crisp sandwiches, telling ourselves that the 8 mile walk would allow us this naughty feast and ignoring the fact that the whipped ice cream and pint of cider we purchased en route would have cancelled out any calorie burning the walk had already done… oh well, you’ve got to live a little right?
sun-dried tomato, honey, walnut and rosemary bread
this is another of my entries for this years Aby Village Show. It’s my classic low-knead bread with some added gorgeousness. This is what I adore about this recipe. It’s so adaptable and ultimately so easy to make that you really can throw in any ingredients you happen to have around. The category for the bread was a ‘speciality loaf’ and rather than go for a classic ciabatta or baguette I wanted to create something a little special. I also know that my low-knead method is failsafe so I was assured of a decent loaf. The only trouble I had was deciding how to present it so I made enough dough to make two loaves and then presented them in two different ways, one as a classic round, free form ‘cottage loaf’ with slashes and a flour top and the other formed in a cake tin as separate rolls formed together like a flower… either way they were both glorious loaves. The classic loaf didn’t place at all and the cake-tin loaf came third… what can I say… perhaps you should be the judge and make this for yourself…
I created a brilliant photographic step-by-step for my low-knead loaf on the blog and here’s the recipe for this one:
600g strong white bread flour
200g rye flour or wholemeal rye flour as it is sometimes known
3 teaspoons fact action dried yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon runny honey
600 ml water
olive oil to knead
100g chopped walnuts
50g sun-dried tomatoes – finely chopped
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary – chopped
extra honey for glazing
place all the dry ingredients into a bowl, along with the tablespoon of honey and stir together, then add the water and bring together with a rubber spatula until you have a sticky shaggy mess – cover with a tea towel and set aside for 10 minutes
after 10 minutes, drizzle a little oil onto your work surface, rub around with your hand and then using your oiled hand lift the shaggy mess from the bowl and place it onto your oiled surface
drizzle a little more oil into the bowl and rub this around the inside of the bowl with your oiled hand and set aside
now knead the dough 10 times and then place it back into the oiled bowl, covered with a tea towel, for another 10 minutes
repeat this 2 more times, each time you will feel the dough getting softer and silkier and it will begin the expand and swell too
after the last time, place the dough back into the bowl and stretch cling film over the top of the bowl and set aside for at least an hour or until the dough has doubled in size
after an hour pre-heat your oven to 220C or as hot as it will go and place an oven proof pan in the bottom of the oven
prepare one baking tray with some well floured parchment paper and line a loose-bottomed cake tin with parchment on the bottom and sides.
oil your work surface and then scoop out the risen dough onto the oil, you want to knock it back with your knuckles and fold it over envelope-style a few times and then, if making two loaves, cut it in half. Flatten each half slightly and place your ingredients on top and begin the fold the dough over and incorporate them into the dough
Now it’s time to shape each half into the shape of your choice; If you’re going for a classic ball shape simply mould the dough into a round and place it onto your baking tray. If you’re after the cake-flower shape then cut the dough into 6 even pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Place one ball into the centre of the cake tin and place the other balls around it to form a flower. Cover both loaves with oiled clingfilm or place them in a plastic bag, then set aside for 30 minutes as they prove.
once you’re ready to bake and your oven is extra hot, spritz the round loaf with water, then sprinkle on a little rye flour and rub gently with your hand. Slash the top three times with a sharp knife.
Quickly open the oven and pour a little cold water into the tray in the oven and then place in the loaves and bake in the oven for 10 minutes on 220C followed by 20 minutes on 180C. They will be done when they are risen and golden and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom
When they come out of the oven, place the floured round loaf to one side on a wire rack. To glaze the cake-flower loaf, simply brush it with honey and then set aside to cool
sorry there’s no pics of a cut slice but I had to submit them to the show un-cut and then I sold them at the end for charity…
eat and of course, enjoy!