I have a confession to make, dear readers: I’ve never baked bread. (*gasp*)
There. It’s out.
The fact that I haven’t so much as touched yeast must be terrifying for you all (for which I’m terribly sorry. Please take a deep breath). I’ve been bombarding you with delicious cakes and super sweet desserts ever since I gave birth to my precious little blog here, and I do consider myself a bit of a cake snob (My sarcastic remarks thrown at some of the Great British Bake Off contestants- when they for instance accidently put in salt instead of sugar- are Oscar-winning, Pulitzer-prize-deserving material) but when it comes to bread… nothing.
In fact, The Bake Off’s “Bread Week” is probably the only time when I’m not yelling at the telly and just staring in utter amazement- and fright!- at the screen. The whole process just seems so incredibly daunting: the kneading, the proofing, the baking,… So many things can go wrong and I’m simply too scared to spend hours and hours of my time to try to bake something that will eventually turn out to be one big failure.
Lately, however, I’ve been haunted by the image of Paul Hollywood in my head. I can literally see him with a very harsh and judgy look on his face, his eyebrows menacingly high on his forehead. I can hear him tutting.
“You’ve never baked bread?” Tut.
“Not even an easy white bread?” Tut.
“Cinnamon buns?” Tut tut tut.
With his disapproving look engraved in my mind, I decided to do something about it. I baked bread!
Well, sort of, anyway. (I thought it would be advisable to take baby steps first, before attempting a, let’s say, Eight-strand plaited loaf.) This bread contains no yeast (Why does yeast creep me out so much??), hence requires no proofing whatsoever (hurrah!), and hardly any kneading (double hurrah!).
It tasted heavenly! The Mediterranean flavour of the sundried tomatoes, rosemary and garlic added a summery touch to a very butchy and filling whole-wheat loaf and the entire baking experience wasn’t frightening at all! So maybe, when I have some spare time (and feel like I can concur the world!) I might even attempt baking a “real” loaf of bread! With Yeast!
Not tutting now, are you Mr. Hollywood? 😉
This very yummy Italian-inspired bread was served alongside an incredibly healthy and flavoursome Summer Minestrone with homemade pesto. It simply was the perfect meal in every possible way!
For the sundried tomato whole-wheat loaf
• 100gr sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
• 2 eggs
• 150gr coarse whole-wheat flour
• 225gr strong white bread flour, sifted
• ½ tbsp baking powder
• 2 tbsp, fresh rosemary, finely chopped (plus some extra for the top)
• 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
• ½ tsp ground pepper
• ½ tbsp coarse sea salt (plus some extra for the top)
• 75ml olive oil, plus extra for greasing
• 1,5 dl milk
• 1 tbsp honey
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C and grease a loaf tin with olive oil.
2. Mix all the dry ingredients for the dough together.
3. In a separate jug, mix together the eggs, olive oil, milk and honey.
4. Mix the chopped sundried tomatoes, rosemary and garlic into the dry ingredients. Pour the liquid in and mix on a slow speed until well incorporated.
5. Spoon the dough into the loaf tin and sprinkle some extra sea salt and rosemary sprigs over the top of the unbaked loaf.
6. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean of dough. Allow to cool before serving.
For the Summer Minestrone:
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 1 yellow courgette, finely diced
• 1 green courgette, finely diced
• 1 romanesco, cut into florets
• 1 can of chickpeas
• 2 bay leafs
• Pinch of chilli flakes
• 2 l vegetable stock
• ½ tbsp dried oregano
• 3 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
• Homemade pesto, to garnish
1. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan, add the onions and cook until they start to soften. Add the romanesco florets and cook for a few minutes more.
2. Add the stock, oregano, chilli flakes and bay leaf. Let it simmer on a low heat for about 5-10 minutes before adding the courgette dices.
3. Add the courgettes and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
4. Add the chickpeas, heat through and season with salt and pepper.
5. Right before serving, stir through the finely chopped basil to give the soup a bright green colour.
6. Serve the soup with a good dollop of pesto and the notorious sundried tomato bread.