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!)
Adapted from here
- 1 bunch of spinach, blanched & chopped (for how to blanch spinach check here)
- 4 cloves of garlic, roasted (I wanted a subtle flavor but you could add more)
- 2 tsp instant yeast
- 3 1/2 bread flour
- 1 1/4 cup water, slightly warm
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/3 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.