"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things."

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spinach Parmesan Bread with Cracked Pepper

I am no longer scared of bread! This is a breakthrough for me. I have finally made bread enough that I feel comfortable experimenting with it. (Not that it always turns out well, but that is entirely beside the point.) And it only took me about a year and a half...

Since it happens to be St. Patrick's Day, I decided to try experimenting with some green bread made with spinach. I used my parmesan-peppercorn bread recipe with several changes. Here is the recipe:

3 cups hot water
4 teaspoons yeast
2 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
4 cups all purpose flour
4 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 Tablespoon dough enhancer
2 Tablespoons vital wheat gluten
2/3 cups finely minced spinach
(I chopped this in the food processor. 2/3 cup is the measurement after chopped. It took about 3-4 cups of spinach leaves)
2/3 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons fresh ground peppercorns

and because it wasn't quite green enough for St. Patty's:
1/2 teaspoon green food coloring

First, proof yeast in the hot water with the sugar. Let rest about 5 minutes.

Dump flour and then all other ingredients in the mixer bowl and mix with the paddle mixer until well incorporated. Switch to bread hook and pour in yeast mixture. (I put the coloring in with the water right before dumping it in) Mix on speed 2, stopping occasionally to stir down the dough. Mix until you have a nice solid dough ball.

If you are using a bread machine, dump all ingredients in, then the yeast mixture and let it do its thing on the dough setting. I've recently switched to making bread with my stand mixer because I have more control over the dough consistency.

Let it rise covered with a cloth for one hour. Divide dough in half and knead it by hand for a minute or two, then shape it into the pan. Make sure to grease the pans really well because the cheese tends to stick a little.

Cover and let rise for another hour, then bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

This makes two 2-pound loaves. (quite large) If your mixer or machine can't handle this much flour at once, just half the recipe.

It has a really rich spinach flavor with a delicate taste of parmesan. It would make a fantastic sandwich and would be really delicious with a tuscan tomato soup.

Mmmm. Wish I had some fresh pesto to go on it.


Debbie Murdock said...

You are the true cook...I'm so scared to deviate from my recipes unless I've made it a million times then I'm still hesitant.

The Wendt Wagon said...

Your cooking is so fancy schmancy. I tto have a hard time experimenting with new recipies and techniques. I usually get them all wrong. You are just amazing.