Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Bread Baking Babes - Asparagus Bread

It's the most wonderful day...
This month the Bread Baking Babes have been playing with seasonal produce with their loaves, Lien of Notitie van Lien (Lien's Notes) has introduced us to the joy of asparagus bread. Two nifty little loaves bursting with greens, nuts and cheese, sounds wonderful doesn't it?
This recipe comes together fairly easily, the incorporation of the additions can be a little tricky; some of us just kneaded them in using a little more flour to help us along, and some flattened the dough and added them cinnamon/raisin bread style, rolling them up in the dough and forming a loaf.
Which ever technique you try, this is a rustic, healthy and delicious bread that I found to be most tasty sliced thick and lightly toasted with a perfectly poached egg.

You can bake with us and become our Bread Baking Buddy. Bake the asparagus bread, post about it and mail Lien the details (notitievanlien(at)gmail(dot)com). Deadline is June 26th. Lien will have a round-up around the 28th.

Asparagus Bread
(with Parmesan Cheese and Walnuts)
2 small loaves

This bread goes very well with a cold meat and salad buffet (says the book).
125 g green asparagus (if you can't find them, use p.e. spring onions, ramps, ...)
25-30 g rocket (arugula)
50 g walnuts
50 g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
450 g strong bread flour (you can also use half whole wheat and half white or white whole wheat if you can get that)
12 g fresh yeast or 1 1/4 tsp dry instant yeast
250-270 g water
25 g olive oil
10 g (sea) salt

Boil 3/4 liter of water with a pinch of (sea) salt. Clean the asparagus, set two of them aside, cut the rest into 4 pieces. Boil these pieces for 2 minutes in the water, scoop them out (so you can use the water for the rocket as well) and rinse under cold water (to stop them cooking). If you use p.e. spring onion, I personally would grill them or just sautée them in a little oil until they start to brown lightly, but other ideas on this are very welcome too!

Put the rocket in the boiling water for a few seconds (until wilted), drain and rinse under cold water and drain again. Press the water out of the rocket, chop it coarsely and cut the asparagus into 1/4 inch (± 1 cm) long pieces, set aside.

Crush the walnuts coarsely and grate the Parmesan.

Measure the flour and yeast in a large bowl, mix in most of the water and knead for a few minutes (on low speed), add the olive oil and knead for 10-12 minutes. Add the salt and knead on medium speed for 5 minutes until very elastic.

Let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Work the asparagus pieces, rocket, walnuts and Parmesan in with care so that they're evenly distributed.

Place the dough in a greased container, cover and let rise for about 2 hrs.

Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Make round balls, cover with a tea towel and let rest for 10 minutes.

Flatten the balls and fold into taut breads with slightly tapering ends. Lay one asparagus in lengthwise in the middle of the bread and press in slightly. Sprinkle with wheat flour and cover to rise for 70 minutes or until doubled. Before baking you can sprinkle a little grated cheese on the bread if you like (optional).

Preheat the oven (preferably with stone) to 250ºC.

Place the loaves directly on the stone. Spray with water (or pour some hot water in a metal container on the bottom of the oven that you preheated to create steam) Lower the temperature after 5 minutes to 200ºC. Open the door after another 10 minutes to let some air in. Repeat twice during baking.

Bake for 40-45 minutes and cool on a wire rack.

This bread has been YeastSpotted!

The Bread Baking Babes

click on each to see thier Asparagus Bread results

Bake My Day - Karen
Canela and Comino - Gretchen
Cookie Baker Lynn - Lynn
Grain Doe - Gorel
I Like To Cook - Sara
Living in the Kitchen with Puppies - Natashya
Living on bread and water - Monique
Lucullian Delights - Ilva
My Kitchen In Half Cups - Tanna
Notitie Van Lien - Lien HOST BABE FOR JUNE
The Sour Dough - Breadchick Mary
Thyme For Cooking - Katie