Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bread Baking Babes - Asparagus Bread. Little. Green. Different.

This month's Bread Baking Babe's bread was chosen for us by Lien. Lien chose a very flavorful bread for us - Asparagus Bread with Parmesan Cheese and Walnuts.

Here is the recipe, courtesy of Lien and Jan Hedh -

Asparagus Bread

125 g green asparagus (if you can't find them, use p.e. spring onions, ramps, ...)
25-30 g rocket
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 our of the rocket, chop it coarsely and but 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 poor 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. (I forgot about opening doors myself to be honest)

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

(adapted from: "Artisan Bread" -Jan Hedh)

Pretty straightforward, EXCEPT for the adding of the asparagus, walnuts, cheese and rocket (I used spinach).

It was messy and awkward and there was stuff flying everywhere. The extra stuff basically ripped the dough apart, much like the Sukerbolle we made last Fall.

I gave up after a point and tossed out the asparagus pieces that hadn't been incorporated, maybe about 1/3rd.

The bread, which I made with 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 white flour, smelled wonderful while baking. The taste is really interesting, there's a lot of flavors going on in there. The asparagus and cheese give it a strong, but not in an unpleasant way, flavor.

Thanks Lien for a lovely seasonal and unusual bread!

Interested in being a Bread Baking Buddy? Visit Lien for all the info.


Karen Baking Soda said...

Haha..had the same experience, over kneading made it sooo slippery! We all loved the flavour of this one!

NKP said...

It was a little difficult getting them in there, I found having a little extra flour on hand helped me out.
Your loaves look lovely!

Lien said...

Yes it seems that was the only problem, kneading them in, but more or less asparagus; your bread looks great!
Hope you ate the little buggers that didn't want to join in just like that, too good to waste!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Too funny Sara it really is true seeing these loaves again from all the babes makes me want to bake this again. I really love you beautiful brown loaf. Really gorgeous color.

Katerina said...

What a different and unusual way to use asparagus. Kneading objects in is always really frustrating, I haven't tried asparagus but nuts always give me trouble.

Ilva said...

The loaves look really professional Sara!

Sara said...

Thank you all!

Mags said...

Not a fan of asparagus, but wow this looks like good bread. You can send any leftovers to me! :P

Engineer Baker said...

Good to know that the kneading was a little tricky - I think I'll just try to fold them in. Your loaf turned out beautifully though!

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