Today was coffee at my house. Its always fun having these coffee meets. Get to talk and learn so much from the diverse group of friends I have. We had a new girl join us. I remember, how, about 8 months back I was new to this group. And now the group feels like family- people I can count on when I need someone here. Its always fun to cook for them- they are all so generous with their compliments! Also, it gives me a platform to not only experiment by baking extravaganzas, but to introduce my friends to Indian food. They now all know about Samosas, kathi rolls, mint chutney and I feel happy to have made them taste that part of the world. Today, though, I did not go Indian. I kept it simple with buttered garlic on a home-made Spinach bread and carrots served with tzatziki dip. For the sweet tooth there was fruitcake and I also kept some olive-cheese-pineapple on a stick appetizers. Surprisingly the latter were quite a hit with the children!
The idea for Spinach bread had been haunting me for a while. I had a bunch of spinach in my fridge and thought it would be an interesting way to use it up. Found a recipe here. I wanted to add some feta cheese but did not have any in the fridge. And cheese had to go in the bread! So instead I added some parmesan cheese. I also added roasted garlic to the dough. The bread came out very flavorful. I served the bread baked with some garlic-herb smothered butter and everyone devoured them!
Next time I will replace some of the all-purpose with whole-wheat flour – you know, make it all healthy and all . Would also add some powdered flax seeds! Oohh, the sound of it makes me want to run to the store and grab a bunch or two of spinach. (What would you know, we finished both the loaves at the coffee today- yes! it was that good!)
I have tried this recipe with whole wheat flour substitution and while the taste isn’t as good as white flour bread the recipe works fine with it. Instead of substituting the entire amount of bread flour with whole wheat flour, I have started substituting only 1 cup with whole wheat flour and add about 2-3 tbsp flax seeds, 1-2 tbsp wheat germ and sometimes hemp seeds as well.
Adapted from here
- 1 bunch of spinach, blanched & chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, roasted (I wanted a subtle flavor but you could add more)
- 2 tsp instant yeast
- 3½ bread flour
- 1¼ cup water, slightly warm
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp sugar
- ⅓ cup powdered parmesan cheese
- Blanch the spinach. (See here on how-to) Chop finely. Let cool.
- Roast the garlic. Let cool. Fine chop.
- In a bowl, fitted with a paddle attachment, salt, sugar, flour, the spinach, parmesan cheese, yeast and the garlic. Mix on low.
- Slowly add the oil and the water and mix till everything combines.
- Switch to the dough hook and let knead for about 7 minutes. (Add more flour/water as required)
- Take the dough out and knead a little by hand and shape into a ball.
- Oil a large bowl. And put the dough in it. Cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm place to let rise double in volume.
- Once doubled, punch it down on work surface. Divide dough into two equal parts. Shape into desired form. Put on baking tray lined with parchment paper and dusted with flour/cornmeal.
- Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise again to double.
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Using a very sharp knife or a serrated bread knife, cut 5 diagonal slashes, each about ¼ to ½-inch deep, across the top of the loaf. (Alternatively, cut one long slash that extends for the length of the loaf.)
- Bake until golden brown and the temperature is around 200 degrees at the center, 30-40 minutes.
- Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack and cool for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving.