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Friday, 15 September 2017

Baking A Garden Herb Loaf Using A Sourdough Starter

It is always interesting to discover what other people keep in their pantries, and to then try to cook or bake with their ingredients. I find it even more fun when they keep vegetable and/or herb gardens. I am on an extended stay in Hondeklipbaai in Namaqualand at a friend's house while she is gallivanting overseas. As I am already in the habit of baking my own bread, I simply continued to do during my stay, having grown my own sourdough starter. You can read more about this in an earlier blog: Making a Sourdough Starter). In today's blog I show you how I incorporated the fresh garden herbs in my loaf.

In the garden, I found some fennel, spinach, oregano and mint that I could use.

I chopped all of the herbs very finely after removing the stalks.

I did the same to the spinach.

I then chopped an onion and fried it lightly in some heated oil.

I found two jalapenos and a clove of garlic.

These were also chopped finely.

I added the chilies and the garlic to the onions, frying them slightly.

All of the above went into a medium sized mixing bowl.

I then added 2 1/2 cups (625 ml) cake flour, 1 cup (250 ml) brown bread flour, 1 cup (250 ml) oats, 1 tablespoon (12,5 ml) sugar, 1 tablespoon (12,5 ml) salt, and 1 teaspoon (5 ml) mustard powder to the bowl.
Optional: To speed up the raising process, you can opt to add half a packet of Instant Dry Yeast to the dry ingredients.

Mix the herbs and the dry ingredients well.

Add a cup (250 ml) of sourdough starter, 2 eggs, 125 ml melted butter/margarine and a packet of tomato puree to the bowl.

Bring the dough together.

Prepare a baking dish with non-stick spray and lightly flour the bottom of the dish. Lightly flour your working surface for kneading as well.

Knead the dough into an elastic-like ball.

Place the dough in the baking tin and lightly press to fill the the whole dish.

Score the top to prevent the crust from cracking.

Cover with plastic and allow to rise in a warm dry place.

Once risen, preheat the oven to 200 °C.

Bake for an hour and 20 minutes (80 minutes).

Turn the bread out on a wire rack to cool.

The crust tends to be a little hard due to the long baking time. Cover with a damp cloth if you prefer a softer crust. The steam will soften the crust without making the bed soggy.

I had mine with butter and cheese. Delicious!

Marietjie Uys (Miekie) is a published author. You can buy my books here:
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