Making bread has always been one of those romanticised ideas in my head. I just couldn't be bothered with what seemed like a long and laborious process.
Then I came across a few "no-knead" recipes that had me dreaming of the smell of freshly baked bread in my kitchen all over again. Eventually I discovered a recipe by Chez Catey Lou for a Walnut and Cranberry No-Knead Bread which triggered a few ideas, so I decided to start some recipe testing to see if I could;
A) get a decent bread at the end of the process, and
B) come up with some interesting flavour combo's.
Surprisingly it is actually a really simple recipe. Hardly any ingredients, few instructions and most importantly a damn good looking and delicious loaf of bread at the end.
I'm officially a bread making concert. If it's this easy, it is something that will be coming out of my kitchen more regularly.
I came up with my own flavour combination to work alongside goats cheese as my first test recipe was being gifted to the lovely Karen from Willowbrae as a thank you for some gorgeous farm fresh eggs and goats curd. I absolutely love their goats cheeses and it's rare that a weekend goes by without me heading to the Carriageworks Farmers Markets off Wilson Street, Eveleigh (behind Newtown here in Sydney) and leaving without at least one in my basket. You haven't lived until you've eaten their wonderful produce.
When making a bread for Karen, I wanted to put together flavours that essentially worked like a cheese board; nuts and fruit alongside a herb (sage) to move it away from the breakfast "fruit toast" world and into the "savoury" cheese place it needed to be. I couldn't believe how well it worked out the first time around, so I re-trialled the recipe again and... Success!
Try this recipe at home and see what you think. When you see how fail-proof it is play with your own flavour combinations and make something creative. That's exactly what I plan on doing over the next few weeks. I am dreaming of feta, thyme and lemon, hazelnuts, orange and chocolate. The possibilities are endless!
I would absolutely love to see your finished products too. Share photos with me by posting them on my Facebook page and by tagging @tippleandfodder #tipplandfodderrecipes on Instagram. I can't wait to see how your recipes turn out so I can share them too!
If you love the smell of freshly baked bread like I do and want an easy option to trial it in your kitchen, give this recipe a go. You'll be surprised at how easy it is.
I know I was!
WALNUT, FIG and SAGE NO-KNEAD BREAD
Makes one medium loaf
3 cups bread flour
1/2 teaspoon dry yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped dried figs (remove hard stem tips)
4-6 fresh sage leaves (1 tsp butter to fry)
1 1/3 cup cool water
1. Fried Sage Leaves - heat saucepan on a medium high heat. Add butter. When melted quickly add sage leaves and fry on each side for 15-30 seconds. Do not allow to burn. Remove leaves, drain and chop.
2. Walnut, Fig and Sage No-Knead Bread (Steps 2-10) - Place all dry ingredients in a glass or ceramic bowl. Mix together with a plastic spatula. Slowly add the cool water and mix together in intervals with the spatul until the dough resembles a "shaggy ball" (I love this terminology used in the original recipe by Chez Catey Lou!). If it's too wet, add small amounts of flour, mixing between each addition and if it's too dry, add tiny splashes of additional water until the dough is perfectly "shaggy" and sticky to touch.
3. Loosely cover with cling wrap and leave for 12-18 hours on your bench. It will at least double in size and air bubbles should be noticeable on the surface.
4. When the dough is ready, flour your bench or a board and line a 10-12cm frypan/skillet or wok with baking paper. Spray the surface of the baking paper too.
5. Use a plastic spatula to turn the dough out of the bowl onto the floured surface. Making sure your hands are floured, gently work the edges of the dough up to the middle by lightly "pulling" the sides up to the centre. Tuck and pull these into place, creating a round shape.
6. Gently transfer the dough, seam side down (flipped over), to the sprayed baking paper you prepared in the frypan/skillet/wok. When doing this you might need to use the spatula or a scraper to assit moving the dough round more easily. Spray some clip wrap and cover the dough, sprayed side down, loosely for its second resting.
7. Allow the dough to rest for 1-2hours. It will again rise.
8. 1/2 an hour before baking, preheat your oven to 240 degrees celsius, placing a large oven proof pot and lid in at the same time to heat. This pot will act like a 'Dutch oven' for you to bake your bread. It will create a hot and condensed baking environment for it to bake perfectly.
9. When the dough is risen and oven/pot heated, remove the cling wrap from your dough and score a cross in the top of it. Working quickly and carefully, remove the pot from the oven and place the dough, still on the baking paper, into the pot. Cover it again and put it back in the oven.
10. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove the lid from the pot and continue baking the bread until the crust becomes a dark golden brown.
The bread should then be ready. You can test it by 'knocking' on the bottom of the loaf, which should sound hollow when done. Allow it to cool on a rack.
This bread will be perfect sliced as part of a cheese board. It would also work sliced and toasted, served topped with goats curd, fresh figs/strawberries and a drizzle of honey. Yum!
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