Spinach, Chillies and Parmesan Bread

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The last time I made this bread was a long, long, time ago – July 2014 and ever since I’ve always wanted to bake this bread again – with pureed spinach. And when I spotted some fresh spinach, I knew it was time to play with this recipe again. And in keeping with my insatiable appetite for experimenting, I tweaked the earlier recipe. Here it is:

Ingredients
1 tbsp / 15 ml sunflower oil
1 medium onion chopped
170 gms fresh spinach leaves (minus the stalks)
1 large clove of garlic minced
2 green chillies sliced fine
120 ml water
450 gms organic flour (90 gms Whole wheat atta and 360 gms APF)
9 gms sea salt
90 gms young levain
1 egg
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
50 gms grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp Nolen Gur (Date jaggery – substitute with liquid jaggery / molasses)
2 tsp crushed walnuts

Method:

Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the chopped onion. When the onions have softened, add the chopped garlic and the green chillies. Saute till the onions turn golden brown. Add the spinach to the sautéed onions mixture and stir well till the spinach leaves have wilted. Take off the fire, mix well and keep aside for it to cool. Blend this mixture (along with the left over oil – if any) , using some of the water, till you get a puree that’s smooth and thick in consistency.

Beat the egg and mix with the remaining water.

Mix together the flour, grated nutmeg, walnuts, Parmesan cheese, sea salt, Nolan Gur and levain. To this, add the blended spinach and the egg water mixture. Use a wooden spoon to mix them together till all of the flour is wet. Knead till the dough is well mixed. If you’re new to kneading – check some of my old blogs for video links on how to knead – else just head to YouTube and search for kneading.

Cover with loosely wrapped cling-film and let it rise to approximately twice the size. (2 1/2 to 3 hours).

Using a spatula, transfer the dough onto a floured surface. The process of transferring the risen dough onto a floured surface will gently de-gas the dough so you don’t have to punch down the dough. Shape the dough into a boule (round shape). Again, there are lots of videos on YouTube to help you get a handle on the shaping technique.

Line the baking sheet / tray with parchment paper and transfer the shaped dough, seam side down on the parchment paper. Cover with oiled cling film loosely and let it rise in a warm place for about 2 hours or till the dough passes the finger-dent test. About an hour before you’re ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 220℃ along with a baking tray it the bottom rack.

Just before you ease the dough into the oven, dust the surface of the dough lightly with flour (I sometimes use a 50-50 mixture of APF and WW flour and sometimes a 50-50 mixture of Rice flour and APF). Using a sharp knife / blade, score (slash) the top of the boule with any design that appeals to you. Slash quickly and let the blade do the cutting – you don’t have to put pressure on the blade. Transfer to the middle rack and immediately pour some boiling hot water onto the tray that was pre-heated with the oven. Shut the oven door and let the bread bake with the steam generated for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, remove the tray that had water, turn down the temperature to 200℃ and bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until golden and the bottom sounds hollow. Transfer onto a wire rack to cool and enjoy with some mildly flavored soup.

Here’s what it looked like after it cooled.

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Here’s another angle to it – some folks have told me it looks like the boule is having hearty laugh. 🙂

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Am glad I tried this recipe again. Not only did it turn out way better than my previous experiment – it looks better too. What do you think? Happy Baking!

Recipe inspired by Jennie Shapter. Modifications made.

3 thoughts on “Spinach, Chillies and Parmesan Bread

    1. Hi Sushmita,

      Try sieving the stone-ground Atta to remove the really coarse bran participles. When you use whole wheat, you will have to make changes in the fermentation time and in the hydration. Good luck.

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