Tag Archives: bread

Simple Grilled Sardines

Please, please would someone open a great fishmongers in central/south Bristol?? The two high streets near us have 5 butchers between them and zero fishmongers. And we’re really not that far from the sea! Anyway, these lovely sardines were picked up at the supermarket which is convenient, but we would love to be able to shop local and get an expert’s advice every now and then. This would have come in really handy when we got home and discovered that we had to gut the fish at which point Bird walked away and made herself very busy chopping tomatoes. Fats did a fab job though and they were soon cleaned up with minimal swearing.

Oily fish like sardines are great with really strong flavours like in our recipe with harissa and orange, but they also shine when cooked simply and served with some classic flavours. We grilled ours with just salt and pepper and served with thyme-roasted tomatoes, steamed broccoli and some freshly baked sourdough.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 sardines per person
  • Olive oil
  • 2 large handfuls of cherry tomatoes
  • Several sprigs of thyme
  • Salt & pepper
  • Green vegetables and bread to serve

To start with get the tomatoes roasting, these will cook on low for about 45 minutes until slightly dried out and the flavours have really intensified. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Cut the tomatoes in half and place in a roasting dish with 1 tbsp of olive oil, a good pinch of salt and pepper and then lay the thyme over the top. Place in the oven and leave for 45 minutes. Our grill is combined with our oven so when the time came to cook the fish we took the tomatoes out and left on the side – they kept really warm. Obviously if yours is separate then you can time it slightly differently so that they finish cooking while the fish grills.

Thyme roasted tomatoes

Make three deep slashes in each side of the fish and then rub all over with olive oil and plenty of seasoning. Place them on a baking tray covered with foil for an easier clean up. Pop under a preheated grill – they should take about 5-8 minutes per side, when they have been bubbling and spitting away for a while they should be ready to flip over.

Sardines raw

Serve with bread and green veg (or salad) and a wedge of lemon to squeeze over – so simple and delicious!

Sardines, tomatoes and bread

Moroccan Lamb Burgers

For some people their ideal romantic Valentine’s Day meal would be champagne, oysters and rose-water flavoured chocolate mousse all while bathed in the soft glow of candlelight. Us? Nah. We definitely see more romance in a beautifully crafted burger and a great cider. And this is a beautiful burger – delicately spiced lamb mince dotted with sweet apricots with a couple of chunks of griddled halloumi, a dollop of Moroccan chutney from this lovely company (thanks to Mumma and Papa Bird for that!), and drizzle of yoghurt all served in one of the gorgeous buns that we showed you how to make on Monday coated in a swirl of harissa. So grab someone, or several people, that you love and show them you care with this stunner.

Moroccan Lamb Burger

Ingredients for two burgers

  • 250g lamb mince
  • 1 tsp each of ground cumin and ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3-4 dried apricots, finely diced
  • A large pinch of salt
  • 1 heaped tsp tahini paste

To serve:

  • Two burger buns – you can buy them from a shop but try making your own with our recipe!
  • Halloumi sliced, chargrilled
  • Harissa paste
  • Yoghurt
  • Moroccan chutney (optional)
  • Salad

To  make the burgers simply squidge all of the ingredients together with your hands, shape into two patties and chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes before cooking.

Moroccan lamb mince

Once you’re ready to cook you can either cook them entirely on the hob, entirely in the oven or a bit of both. We went for the latter option because they were fairly thick burgers and we wanted to make sure they cooked through but we also wanted some beautiful charring on the outside. Pop them on a hot griddle pan for about 1 minute each side and then put in a preheated oven at 190°C for about 10-15 minutes to finish them off. While they’re in the oven it’s the perfect time to griddled that halloumi until it’s perfectly golden.

Lamb burgers cooking

Halloumi griddling

Then you just get to layer up your burger! Obviously it’s completely up to you how you do it but we put a swirl of harissa on the bottom piece of the bun for a burst of heat, whacked the burger on, then the halloumi, then the chutney, then the yoghurt and served it with plenty of salad on the side. True love, Fats and Bird style.

Salad

Burger with halloumi

Burger with halloumi and sauce

Black Onion Seed Burger Buns

This time last year the idea that we would make our own burger buns would have been laughable! We’d only just managed to make a loaf of wholemeal bread, little did we know how bread obsessed we would become. So as not to make this a super long post we’ll be posting the recipe for the burgers that we filled these with in a day or two… keep an eye out for it, it’s a good’un! We had a look at a few different recipes online for burger buns and they all seemed to be roughly the same with slightly different amounts of milk/sugar/butter etc so we went with our usual option of winging it, and they turned out beautifully. These are topped with black onion seeds as we went for a spiced burger filling but obviously feel free to go for the more traditional sesame seeds on top.

Ingredients for 2 buns

  • 125g strong white flour
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried, fast action yeast
  • 50ml milk
  • 25ml water
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Black onion or sesame seeds

We made ours the same way we make standard loaves – just mix together the flour, sugar, yeast and salt, then rub in the butter to form breadcrumbs. Add in the milk and the water – you might not need all of it, ours needed a little more than shown but it will differ slightly for each attempt. It will be a fairly stiff dough but don’t worry, they turn out great! Knead for around 10 minutes until smooth and elastic and then leave to rise in a bowl covered with clingfilm until doubled in size – around 1 hour in a warm room. After this time knock back, divide into two and shape by rolling into a ball and then flattening with the palm of your hand or a rolling pin until they are about 10cm diameter and 2-3cm thick. Brush with the beaten egg, cover with clingfilm again and leave to rise for half an hour. Brush them again with egg after this time and sprinkle on the seeds and then put your oven to preheat at 200°C.

Black onion seed buns raw

Leave them to rise for half an hour while the oven heats up and then pop them in for about 12-15 minutes until risen and perfectly golden brown. Leave to cool completely and then serve!

Black onion seed burger buns cooked

This is obviously a little more complicated than picking a packet up at a supermarket but these are gorgeous, slightly chewy, soft burger buns and it really makes it feel more special doing it yourself.

Rosemary and Walnut Bread

We’ve been making bread for a little over a year now, and we’re getting more and more confident at trying new things… Sometimes though, all you want is a great loaf with some cracking flavour in it. That’s what we’ve got here – this is a variation on our standard bread recipe, with the added lovely, woody, comforting flavours of rosemary and walnut pimping it up – not to mention some delicious sea salt to take the crust to the next level… On top of that, Fats picked up a couple of little loaf tins over Christmas, so we’ve provided the quantities and timings for a 400g loaf, which is perfect if there’s just a couple of you. To make a whole 800g loaf, simply double the quantities provided and bake for 20-25 minutes.

We managed to make this bread in an evening, after work and before dinner, so no excuses! Couple of tips though – warm water really helps it rise fast, especially in the winter, and it has to be put somewhere pretty warm – ours was above a radiator. We know that bread tastes better the longer it has to rise, but if you’re desperate then it is possible to make this in under 2 hours!

So, for a 400g loaf, you’ll need:

  • 150g strong white flour (plus extra for flouring the surface)
  • 100g non-white flour (we used 3 malt & sunflower – oooh, posh! – but wholemeal, rye or similar would be tasty too!)
  • 1/2 tbsp butter plus extra for greasing the tin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 150ml cold water
  • 30g walnut pieces
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 tsp good quality sea salt
  • 1/2 beaten egg (not sure where you’ll find half an egg…)

Add the two types of flour, the salt and the yeast to a bowl (keep the salt and the yeast at other sides of the bowl initially) and rub in the butter, so that there are no lumps of it remaining – you may find it easiest to cut the butter into small bits before this step. Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the water, then mix it together with the flour.

Once this has all combined, tip out onto a floured surface and knead vigorously for about 10 minutes – when it’s done, it should be nice and springy. Put this into a bowl and cover with a tea towel. Put it somewhere to rise – depending on how warm it is, it should take between about 1 and 2 hours to double in size.

To prepare the awesome flavour, chop up the walnut pieces so they’re about 1/8-1/4 the size of a walnut – no need to be exact – and finely chop about 3/4 of the rosemary leaves (the rest should be less finely chopped, and will be used for the topping).

Rosemary and Walnut Ingredients

Once the dough has doubled, empty it out onto a floured surface and flatten with the palms of your hands. Once it’s a reasonable size, cover in the pieces of chopped walnuts and the finely chopped rosemary. Fold the dough over on itself, and repeat the flattening-folding a couple of times to work the rosemary and walnut in. Now flatten it out one last time, so that one side is about the length of your loaf tin, and the other is about 1.5 times this. Line the tin with baking paper and butter. Roll the dough up, and place in the tin. Leave this somewhere to prove – this should take about 1 hour.

Rosemary and Walnuts Before Working In

Rosemary and Walnut in Tin

Prepare the oven by pre-heating to 230ºC. Mix together an egg wash with your half an egg and the remainder of the rosemary – you can throw in a few walnut pieces if you have any lying around. Once the dough has proved, cover with the egg, making sure there are no big lumps of egg anywhere – you’re making a loaf of bread not an omelette! Place the sea salt on the top of the egg wash, taking care not to crush any of the flakes. Put in the oven and immediately turn down to 220ºC. It should take about 18-20 minutes to cook, but keep an eye on it so that the top doesn’t burn.

Rosemary and Walnut With Topping

Once it’s baked, take it out and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before cooling the rest of the way on a cooling rack. This bread is definitely better once it has cooled down, so don’t be tempted to crack into it too soon!

Rosemary and Walnut Done

We had this with a winter salad from our new Rachel Khoo recipe book – the rosemary and walnut perfectly complemented the roast carrots and parsnips! It’s also particularly good with cheese – we can recommend Taleggio, a nicely pungent washed-rind cheese that we managed to pick up in the supermarket, but Brie or Camembert, or any blue cheese would be good too – this loaf has the flavour to stand up to strong cheese!

Posh Sardines & Tomatoes on Toast

This will be our first ever breakfast/brunch post! We’re always posting pictures of our delicious brunches on our instagram, so we thought we’d share some inspiration with you. It doesn’t take much effort to make sardines on toast quite special! It’s also healthy and nutritious and pretty cheap. We served ours on fresh home made bread, using our usual recipe, with some added Three Malt and Sunflower Seed flour – delicious.

Three Malt and Sunflower Seed Bread

For 2 servings:

  • 4 slices of bread, toasted (I’m sure you guys can figure this out!)
  • 200 g cherry/baby plum tomatoes
  • 1 60g tin sardines (in tomato sauce/olive oil)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • Handful of fresh basil (optional)

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Heat the oil in a frying pan over a high heat. Half the tomatoes and add to the pan, and season well with salt and pepper. Cook until they are starting to soften, and then add a splash of water and the balsamic vinegar. Once they’re nice and soft and have started to form a sauce, add the sardines, making sure that any bones have been removed. Chop the basil and add it to the pan, if you want to. Heat through for a couple of minutes and then serve on top of the toast.

Sometimes the simple things are the best

This is probably one of the shortest recipes we’ve ever posted. But sometimes all you need is a bit of inspiration! This is delicious with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, or just a nice cup of tea.

Cinnamon Rolls

If you’ve been following our instagram recently you’ll have spotted this little beauty. Not completely stuffed to bursting with all of the wonderful home-made treats provided by Mama Fats over the festive period – not to mention the mountains of chocolate we received on Christmas day – we thought we’d top it all off with some extra-special cinnamon rolls, especially for Bird’s Birthday! We’ve got a lot more confident with our bread making in the last year, and couldn’t have imagined attempting something like this at the turn of 2013. This is a really easy recipe though, and as long as you give the dough time to rise you’ll end up with beautifully fluffy rolls, a real treat! Even Fats’ little brother loves these, and he “doesn’t like cinnamon” (at least one of us must be adopted…).

For 12 cinnamon rolls, you’ll need:

  • 500g strong white flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 150g light brown sugar (we used light muscovado sugar)
  • 1½ tsp dried yeast
  • 175g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 200ml milk
  • 2 free-range eggs, plus one egg yolk, for glazing (in all the excitement we forgot to glaze ours!)
  • flavourless oil (e.g. sunflower, vegetable) for oiling
  • 1 orange, zest and juice (optional)
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon

Start by making the dough. Mix together the flour, 50g of the sugar, 75g of the softened butter, the salt and the yeast in a large bowl, making sure that the butter is well rubbed in. Add the milk and one of the eggs and combine with your hands – it will start off quite sticky and very messy, but should come together once the flour has been incorporated. Put the mixture onto a clean surface and knead for about 10 minutes, until the dough is nice and springy. Place in a bowl, cover and leave to rise until it has doubled in size – it should take about 1 1/2 hours, but this depends on how warm it is.

Cinnamon roll dough before rising
Cinnamon roll dough before rising
Cinnamon Roll Dough After Rising
Cinnamon Roll Dough After Rising (and a bit of prodding…)

To make the filling take the rest of the butter, sugar, cinnamon and optionally the orange zest, and combine together in a bowl with a fork to form a paste.

Once the dough has risen, oil a surface and tip the dough onto it. Roll out the dough into a rectangle so that it is at least 30 cm long in one dimension, and about the thickness of a pound coin (3-4 mm). Smear over the filling, ensuring that it reaches the sides of the dough that will form the ends of the roll.

Cinnamon Roll Dough Rolled Out

Cinnamon Roll Dough Covered in Filling

Now roll it up tightly – you’ll get a good roll if you ensure that the first roll is really tight. Slice this up into 12 rolls of even width, and place into a lined and oiled baking tray, leaving a small gap between each roll. Leave to prove until most of the gaps are filled in.

Cinnamon Roll Dough Rolled Up

This is what they look like before proving - make sure there are some gaps for them to expand into
This is what they look like before proving – make sure there are some gaps for them to expand into
After proving - almost good enough to eat already!
After proving – almost good enough to eat already!

Preheat an oven to 200ºC. Brush the rolls with the yolk of an egg, to get a nice glaze – we forgot this bit, but they still worked out alright! When the oven is up to temperature, put the rolls in and cook on 200ºC for 10 minutes, before turning the temperature down to 180ºC and cooking for a further 20 minutes. When they’re nicely golden on top, take them out and leave to stand on a cooling rack for a little while, but not too long – these are absolutely delicious when they’re warm! If you forgot to glaze yours like we did – or if you just want a bit of extra orangeyness – you can glaze again with a mixture of orange juice and melted butter once they come out of the oven.

Cinnamon Rolls Done

These won’t stick around for very long, especially if you’re surrounded by a sweet-toothed and hungry family! They’re really good reheated too, so you don’t have to eat them all at once…

Moroccan-style Spiced Vegetable Stew with Maneesh

We had originally planned to make this Moroccan-style roasted vegetable traybake and serve it with cous cous but Bird found herself with a bit of time on her hands. After a flick through Paul Hollywood’s “Bread” she decided to give Maneesh a go. Maneesh is a Middle Eastern flatbread topped with sesame seeds and herbs – basically a za’atar mixture which we’ve used previously with steak. Paul’s recipe can be found here.

The dough was really stretchy and sticky – very fun to work with!  We made half the amount in Paul’s book, he said his made 3 large maneesh but we managed to get 2 pretty huge breads out of half of the mixture. The vegetables were ridiculously simple – a mixture of bite-sized pieces of Mediterranean vegetables, roasted until slightly charred then smothered in chopped tomatoes, mixed with chickpeas and roasted for a further few minutes – often the simplest things are the best. This made a beautifully hearty dinner with enough vegetables left over for 2 lunches. It was lovely on it’s own but would be great with some meat, fish or cheese or could form one of many mezze courses to be enjoyed with friends!

Ingredients for 2 large maneesh

  • 250 g strong white flour
  • 5 g salt
  • 12 g caster sugar
  • 5 g instant yeast
  • 10 ml olive oil, plus extra for kneading and another 1bsp to make the za’atar paste
  • 180 ml tepid water
  • 2 heaped tbsp za’atar

You make this like a fairly standard bread dough. Mix together the flour, salt, sugar and yeast (adding the salt and yeast to opposite sides of the bowl at first), then add in 10 ml of olive oil and most of the water – you don’t need to bother rubbing in the olive oil like a regular loaf. Mix all of this together until you have a soft, smooth dough, adding the rest of the water slowly as needed. We used pretty much all of the water but you may not need to. Once it has come together tip onto an oiled surface and knead for 5-10 minutes until really soft and elastic. Place it in an oiled bowl and cover with cling film to rise, it needs to at least double in size – ours took just over an hour near a warm radiator.

Maneesh with za'atar

Once it’s risen tip it out onto an oiled surface again and knock back, fold it on itself and make sure all of the air is out. Once done split the dough into two. Roll each piece into a ball and then roll out with a rolling pin to form a large roughly circular shape. Put onto a baking sheet lined with oiled greaseproof paper. Now mix together the za’atar with enough oil to form a thick paste and smear onto the maneesh, leaving a small border around the edge. Pre-heat the oven to 210°C (Paul says 230 but we found this a bit hot) and leave the maneesh to rest for 20-30 minutes while the oven comes to temperature. When the oven is ready pop the bread in, we did ours one at a time as they cook best on the middle shelf. They take about 10-15 minutes to cook, when they’re golden-brown they’re ready! Leave to cool, turn the oven down to 180°C and start chopping your vegetables…

Cooked Maneesh

Ingredients for vegetable stew

  • A selection of chopped vegetables, we used 1 aubergine, 2 peppers, 2 courgettes, 1 large carrot, 1 red onion, all cut into bite-sized pieces with the carrots chopped slightly smaller as they take longer to cook
  • 1 tbsp ras el hanout
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes – optional
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin of chickpeas, drained
  • 1-2 tsp pomegranate molasses – optional

Place all of the chopped vegetables in a large roasting dish and coat with the ras el hanout, sea salt, oil and chilli flakes (if using). Place in a preheated oven at 180°C. The whole dish will take about 1 hour to make, check on the vegetables every 15-20 minutes to move them around. After around 50 minutes they should be getting slightly charred and very soft so tip in the chopped tomatoes, chickpeas and the pomegranate molasses. Cook for a further 10 minutes and it’s ready!

Moroccan Vegetable Stew

We cut our maneesh in half, served the spicy vegetable stew on half and placed the other half on top for dipping. This was a real success and the maneesh made it feel a lot fancier than it was – give it a try!

Maneesh and vegetable stew

Couronne

We like a challenge, so, upon flicking through recipe books to find inspiration for last weeks menu our eyes were drawn to a beautiful work of buttery art in Paul Hollywood’s “Bread”. Before the latest season of The Great British Bake Off we (and probably most of the nation) would have never heard of a couronne. Now however we know that a couronne is a round treat made of soft, rich, buttery dough, which is usually sweet and stuffed with dried fruit or similar. The recipe we came across was for a savoury one, still rich, still buttery but filled with prosciutto, basil and oozy mozzarella – you can find the recipe here. It was lust at first sight and we put it straight on the menu for Saturday. We’ve made two enriched doughs before – challah and cinnamon buns so this is still fairly new ground for us. The dough is made entirely in a mixer with a dough hook because it’s so sticky and hard to work by hand, mainly due to the huge amounts of butter! This has a whole pack of butter in it. Hello cholesterol problems! But as an occasional treat it’s fine, and it’s so tasty that you have to think “sod it!”.

We’re not saying this is the easiest bread in the world, probably not the best choice for your first foray into yeasted bakes, but we’re by no means experts and it turned out beautifully! Bread, and especially enriched doughs, are seen as really scary by some people (i.e. us, just over a year ago!) but it’s one of the most therapeutic ways to spend an hour or two and you get something really delicious at the end of it. Anyway, enough wanging on, on with the main event!

First up: the dough. Your butter must be soft for this so we used an old Mary Berry tip (cheers Bezza!) – cube your butter and place in a jug/bowl of lukewarm water to soften it. The water shouldn’t feel particularly warm to the touch otherwise you’ll end up with a bowl of melted butter and water, just slightly warm. The strong white flour is placed in the bowl of a mixer with yeast and salt, and then milk and eggs are added. Use the dough hook to combine these and then, while it’s still running, slowly add the butter. This should take at least 5 minutes but ours took about 15 because our mixer isn’t the sturdiest! Once all of the butter has been added and there are no large streaks of it take it out and leave to rise in a large, oiled bowl for at least 1-2 hours until doubled in size.

Getting nice and stretchy.
Getting nice and stretchy.

When it has risen tip it out onto a lightly floured surface. Don’t knock back, just roll out to a large rectangle (about 50cm by 30cm and about 1.5cm thick). Now’s the time to put the toppings on – we followed the recipe but because this one was a success we now can’t stop dreaming up new fillings! Anyway, for this one lay the strips of prosciutto over the dough trying to cover as much of it as possible. Then tear the mozzarella over and lastly tear the basil leaves over. Roll it up starting from a long edge so you have a large sausage of dough with the filling swirled in the middle. Now comes the slightly tricky part; slice the dough lengthways down the sausage and then grabbing the ends tightly twist it quite tightly so that you end up with a rope-like structure with most of the filling on the inside. Coil this into a circle and place on piece of lightly oiled greaseproof paper on a baking tray.

Couronne With Fillings

Couronne Before Baking

This beast then needs to prove for an hour or two until roughly doubled in size again. Preheat the oven to 200°C after about an hour of rising. When you’re ready to bake brush the couronne with a beaten egg and sprinkle on some grated parmesan, and pop in the oven for around 25 minutes. After this time you should be greeted by a golden monster, complete with oozy cheese! Leave it to cool for at least 20-30 minutes, it will still be warm after this time but not boiling hot.

Phwoar!
Phwoar!

We had ours served with the salad that was suggested in the book with spinach, roasted butternut squash, goats cheese, olives and spring onions and we added our own little crunch with toasted pinenuts. This was a brilliant dinner, it would be ideal for when friends are over too and what an amazing impression it would make when it landed on the table! We also had the couronne with tomato-based soups later in the week which was lovely too.

Bread filled with cheese, covering in cheese, served with cheese... what could be better?
Bread filled with cheese, covered in cheese, served with cheese… what could be better?

So give yourself a day when you’ve got time to give this recipe a bit of love and attention and give it a go, it’s so worth it, we would say for the sense of pride alone but the cheesy delight that you end up with isn’t bad either!

 

What We’ve Been Baking

We’ve been getting our bake on a fair bit lately, but unfortunately the stuffing of baked goods into our mouths took precedence over photographing our efforts on many occasions! So here is a little roundup of our bakes, I’m sure we’ll be making them again soon and we will try to be better bloggers so we can give you proper recipes.

First up for a charity Bake Sale at Bird’s work we made Raspberry & Blueberry Cheesecake Brownies and Challah. The brownies were immense – gooey, sweet, and a little bit sharp from the berries and the cream cheese. We will definitely be baking these again! We’ve got a feeling Fats’ family will be particularly fond of these…

The beautiful swirls before baking
The beautiful swirls before baking
The finished article! (sorry about the naff Instagram quality)
The finished article! (sorry about the naff Instagram quality)

Challah is a Jewish enriched bread, it’s sort of like brioche, soft, light, slightly sweet and so moreish. Apparently it makes amazing french toast too but we’ve never had enough left over to make it, oops! We shaped ours into a simple 3 strand plait, simple but quite effective.

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Plain Challah
Plain Challah
Slightly wonky poppyseed Challah
Slightly wonky poppyseed Challah

Lastly, and firmly on the savoury front, some little rye and poppyseed rolls made in ramekins, not only adorable but a great way of making bread stay fresh for days as you aren’t cutting into a loaf. We simply made half the usual amount (so 250g of flour) but still followed our basic bread recipe, using around 1/3 rye flour and 2/3 strong white flour. These also made very cute little pieces of toast!

The rolls before baking
The rolls before baking
They rose more than expected!
They rose more than expected!

So that’s what we’ve been baking, hopefully we can share the full recipes with you soon. What have you been baking lately?

Sweet Potato, Rosemary and Chilli Bread

Bread time again! We thought we’d try something a bit different to warm us up during the recent cold snap. This sweet potato-based bread is our first foray into vegetable breads, and although it didn’t turn out quite perfect it still tasted totally delicious and we had to share it with you.

Here’s what you’ll need for a standard (about 800 g) loaf/boule:

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • A few sprigs rosemary
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • About 350 g strong white flour (enough to make it up to 500 g with the sweet potato) plus a bit more for kneading and making a crust
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 2 heaped tsp fast-acting yeast
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 300 ml tepid water
  • 1- 2 tsp dried chilli flakes

Start by taking the skin of the sweet potato, chopping it up into fairly small chunks and roasting it, along with the rosemary, seasoning (good pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper) and olive oil for about 45 minutes at around 180 °C. You want the sweet potato to be soft, not crispy – otherwise the next bit will be pretty much impossible!

Sweet potato for bread

Once the sweet potato has cooled down, roll your sleeves up, take a deep breath and force the roasted sweet potato through a metal sieve. Pushing it through with the back of a spoon seems to work pretty well, but it’s hard work! Take out any rosemary leaves and add them to the sieved potato, but discard the stalks. If anyone has any better ideas for how to smooth out the sweet potato, leave us a message in the comments.

That ordeal over and done with, add the sieved sweet potato to a measuring scales and add enough strong white flour to make up the total weight of the potato and the flour up to 500 g. Add to a mixing bowl with 1 heaped tsp yeast, the table salt, the honey and the extra virgin olive oil. You may want to use a food mixer with a dough hook to bring the mixture together, as it gets pretty sticky – we did, but it’ll work just fine with your hands. While you’re bringing it together, slowly add the tepid water, about 50 ml at a time.

Flour it up!
Flour it up!

Once the dough has all come together, by machine or hand, tip it onto a well floured surface and knead for about 15 minutes. You’ll have to flour the surface again and again as it will stay pretty sticky! Once it springs back place in a well-oiled bowl, cover with cling-film and leave to rise in a warm place. Once it has doubled in size (about 2 hours), knock back, shape (whatever you like – we did a boule but would like to try a loaf next time!) and leave to prove for another hour or so.

About 20 minutes before the bread is ready to go in the oven, preheat it to about 200 °C. Now for the chilli crust – this step is kind of optional, but we urge you to give it a go as the results are delicious! Mix together a couple of tablespoons of strong white flour, 1 tsp yeast, the dried chilli flakes, and just enough water to turn it into a spreadable paste.

SP bread with chilli

Just before the bread goes into the oven, put a few slashes in the top with a sharp knife and smear over the chilli and flour paste so that it forms a thin layer. Now put it in the oven for about 30-40 minutes, until the top is dark and golden.

We ate our bread with some roasted red pepper and butter bean soup with some flaked pecorino, but it’s delicious all on its own!

Sweet potato bread done