I am not going to go on today about the wonders of spelt flour and how much better it is for your digestive system, but instead I am going to let the above photo speak for itself, this has to be one of the most gorgeous, tasty and wholesome loaves of bread that I have ever made and before I get out of my lovely warm and cosy bed this morning I just knew I had to post it onto my blog before the mundane tasks of the day begin. I say mundane, the other reason I am writing this now is that I hope to get a delivery of fabric today, which means for the first time this year I will be able to get back into my sewing room 😉
So before I get distracted by all of the above I must tell you about this recipe. This recipe is probably easier in some ways than many, very little proving involved, no difficult techniques required, if you can do a three strand plait then you are only a few steps away from baking something rather impressive.
I think what makes this loaf stand out from the rest, apart from how pretty it looks is the taste. The recipe requires you to bake with some rosemary a whole garlic bulb, this you then squeeze all the yummy soft garlic flesh from, add to a couple of other ingredients and then add to the dough, not only is the smell while it bakes truly amazing but the taste is too. The garlic because it has been baked is not overpowering and is just a delicate hint in the background.
This bread can be served with so many dishes, I feel that its origins are slightly Mediterranean due to the olive oil, garlic and rosemary. I would bring this happily to the table with any meal, but it would look fantastic taking centre stage served with antipasti at the beginning of a meal or again as part of an antipasti dish served when having people over for drinks, its tear and share nature is just perfect for this. Bring this out after a meal served with gorgeous cheeses, sat on vine leaves and dressed with grapes it would give a lovely rustic and wholesome feel to any occasion.
The bread is surprisingly light, probably due to the use of spelt flour, it doesn’t sit heavily in your stomach, has a lovely nutty taste and you just know it is so nutritious, not just because of the spelt but because you baked it yourself. You know exactly what went into it and know that no nasty chemicals or preservatives were involved. Bread like this doesn’t stay around for long, especially warm from the oven, so no need for any nasties when it is gone in a flash.
1 head of garlic
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 tsp veg stock
450g spelt flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 sachet of quick action yeast 75 ml (1/3 cup) milk (I used oat milk)
3 tbsp olive oil or butter plus extra for brushing top
1 egg, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 210 C.
Remove the outer paper from the head of garlic but do not peel or separate the cloves. Cut off the top of head of garlic but leave the root end intact. Place cut side up on a baking sheet (or oven proof pan), brush/drizzle with a teaspoon of oil and sprinkle with the rosemary. Cover and roast for 30-35 minutes until soft. Leave to cool for 10 minutes then squeeze the cloves out of their cases into a small bowl with the veg stock and mash with a fork.
Whisk together the flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a large bowl. In a small saucepan gently heat the milk, water, 3 tbsp butter or olive oil until just warmed through. Add this to the dry ingredients and combine well with a wooden spoon.
Beat an egg into the mashed garlic until smooth and add that to the mix as well. Add a bit more flour if the dough is too wet but you want quite a sticky dough.
Tip it out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. I of course cheated and used the dough hook on my machine, but either way works just as well, if you fancy a workout knead by hand, if you want to get on with other jobs throw it into the food mixer! Cover and leave for 10 minutes.
Turn the dough out and divide into three equal balls. With your hands, roll these into approx 18 inch sausages/ropes. place the sausages on a baking sheet lined with baking paper that has been brushed with oil. (they will probably hang over one end at this point) and braid/plait them as evenly as possible. Pinch the ends to seal and tuck them under. Cover again and leave in a warm place to double in size, about 30-45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C and bake for 15 minutes. Mix some chopped rosemary and sea salt into a tablespoon of olive oil and brush this over the top of the bread. Put it back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes until golden brown.
You can also brush it with more olive oil when it has finished cooking to give it a nice shine. Leave to cool on a wire rack.