270. spinach cheddar bread
I am on a sort of mission to get a loaf of bread pretty much perfect using a home oven. In between blogging, planning for a wedding and other chores, I do steal a bit of time searching for perfect breads. Considering I don’t own a bread machine and a dough kneader as yet, the end result of my spinach cheddar bread was amazing. The loaf was light and the crust slightly chewy just the way I wanted it and the texture was soft and springy. Spinach and cheddar bread goes well with soups, salads or even to make a sandwich. I loved the peppery taste and wish I had a strong cheddar cheese. Not that the bread did not taste of cheese. A subtle taste of spinach and cheese … yummy.
I realised that simple steps can make a load of difference to how the loaf turns out. As many suggested, I did not spray my oven with water, was too scared of damaging the electrical parts or the bulb. I simply brushed the loaf with water before putting it in the oven and the crust was chewy.
Most recipes use 180°C as the temperature to bake breads. However I had learnt at a bakery school in Bangalore that breads required a slightly hot temperature like 200°C. Someone suggested (forum discussions online) that the bread should be baked at 220°C for the first 10 minutes and then for the rest of the time required at 180°C. I did that and I think my oven is a bit too hot. The crust on one side was extra brown, but the rest was perfect. So perhaps next time I will bake at 220°C for 5 minutes only. Basically no one knows your oven the way you do. Its a trial and error process till you know exactly which temperature you need to use for your cakes and muffins, breads and pies. Try out this recipe and please put comments if you do.
I baked the bread this time adding the coarse spinach paste to the dough and leaving out the cheese. After the first rise, roll the dough into a rectangle, the length being the same as the length of the loaf tin. I sprinkle the cheese over the rectangle and rolled it up like a swiss roll. Tucked in the ends and let the shaped dough rise again. Then I brushed it with some milk and let it bake at 180°C till golden brown.
Confused?? Don’t be. If you want a crusty chewy bread, brush it with water and bake it at high temperature for 5 minutes and then lower the temp to 180°C. If you want a soft crust then brush it with milk and let it bake at 180°C.
I also used half wholewheat flour and half plain flour. Great results.
SPINACH CHEDDAR BREAD
2 small loaves or 1 big loaf
3 cups plain flour (bread flour, all purpose flour) or use 1½ cups wholewheat flour and 1½ cups plain flour
1 cup warm water
½ cup cooked and finely chopped spinach (or frozen spinach thawed)
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp coarse pepper powder
2½ tsp dry active instant yeast
1 tbsp vegetable oil
½ cup grated strong cheddar cheese
extra flour for kneading
extra oil for greasing
water for brushing
- If you are using frozen spinach, let the water required become hot. Add the hot water to the spinach and mix.
- Put the flour in a big bowl. Add salt and sugar and mix well.
- Add the yeast and mix.
- Add the spinach and water and form a dough.
- Knead the dough for 10 to 15 minutes till it is smooth and silky. If the dough sticks to your hand, keep on adding about a tablespoon of flour.
- Grease a bowl with oil.
- Using the 1 tbsp of oil, knead the dough. Make the dough into a big ball and place it in the bowl.
- Cover with a cling film and place it a warm place to ferment till its double the size. Mine took about 1½ hours.
- Grease your hands and gently press down the dough with your knuckles. Add the grated cheese. Knead and shape the dough. I made mine into a long oval loaf, but you can put the dough into a loaf tin. If the dough is too sticky, dust the work top with flour and then knead in the cheese.
- Place the shaped dough on a greased loaf tin or baking tray.
- Let it rise again till its nearly double the size. This takes about 45 to 50 minutes.
- Brush the top and side with water.
- Preheat the oven to 220°C.
- Place the shaped dough into the hot oven. Bake for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to 180°C and bake further for 30 to 35 minutes or till the crust is golden brown.
- Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack.
- You will be able to slice it after an hour or so.
- I blanched the spinach in hot water and then pureed it coarsely with little water. I used about a cupful of spinach. I added the coarse puree to the measuring cup and topped it with warm water to make up 1 cup.
- Can add about 1 tsp garlic paste if you like.
- Make buns instead of loaves.
- Remember to ferment the yeast before adding it to the flour if you are not using the instant variety.
You may want to check out the following :
|basil garlic bread|