Soft rye with mushrooms, goats feta and carraway
I am really bad with things that take time and require patience; knitting, golf and gardening spring to mind as things I’ve tried and given up on due to lack of immediate satisfaction. I love cooking (obviously) but I’ve never been much of a bread-maker, all that proving makes me feel tied down, trapped, like I’m not going to be able to leave the house. So needless to say it was going to take a certain kind of bread to inspire me to bake it. This one was right up my alley; instead of feeling like I was tending to a newborn baby* it was more like I was babysitting an adult – practically looking after itself.
The aroma of baking bread and the comfort of eating it straight out of the oven sealed the deal that bread making will now be a regular ritual.
We had some beautiful mushrooms left over from Urbis Design Day (grown in our office) so I teamed these with a sharp goats feta and heady caraway seeds and stuffed it into the bread as I was plaiting. It was so delicious on its own but also good spread with hummus and topped with pickles.
*For all you mothers out there – I really know that having a baby is harder than baking bread and truly do consider it to be the hardest job in the world.
Makes 2 large loaves--
1.5 cups warm water
2 tbsp + 1tsp olive oil
3.5 cups high grade flour
1 cup wholemeal flour
1 cup rye flour
2 tsp (or 1 sachet) instant yeast
A good grinding of salt
12 field mushrooms
Olive oil and salt & pepper for cooking
200g goats feta, cut into ½ cm slices
1 tbsp caraway seeds
1 egg white
1. In a large bowl mix the warm water and 2 tbsp olive oil with the wholemeal and rye flours and the yeast. Stir until smooth then leave to rest for 10 minutes.
2. Add the salt and the all purpose flour half a cup at a time and stir with a spoon until it becomes too difficult to mix at which stage turn the dough onto your cleaned then floured bench top. Knead the dough for 10 minutes (adding more flour if necessary). It’s not a really dry dough so needs a sprinkling of flour every so often to stop it from sticking to your hands.
3. Grease a large bowl with 1 tsp olive oil. Place your dough into the bowl, turning it over a couple of times so it is coated in the oil. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and rest for 1 hour (it doubles in size).
4. Preheat your oven to 180ºC on Bake. Place the mushrooms on a baking sheet, drizzle over olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for approximately 5-10 minutes. Leave to cool and then quarter.
5. After 1 hour of resting, turn the dough onto your lightly floured bench top and knead for 1-2 minutes. Divide into 2-4 portions (2 will make large loaves, 4 smaller loaves).
6. Roll out the first portion into a rectangle (½ to 1 cm thickness). Cut the dough into 3 long strips for plaiting (you can leave the strips joined at the top or cut all the way through, whichever is easiest for you).
7. Lay the 3 strips on a greased baking sheet.
You can either: a) plait the strips, then push bits cheese and mushroom into the plait or
b) as you plait intertwine pieces of mushroom and sliced goats cheese.
8. Repeat for the remaining 1-3 portions. If you divided the dough into 4, you should get two plaits onto one baking sheet. If you divided into 2, you should have one plait per sheet.
9. Brush the plaits with egg white and sprinkle with caraway seeds.
10. Place the plait into an oven preheated to 180ºC on Fan Bake and bake for 20 – 30 minutes. When you tap the dough it should sound hollow. Cool your loaves on a wire rack.