It seems bread has shot to the top of the “what to bake during lockdown” list, with banana bread coming out as the overall favourite (we covered that in a previous blog – click here for that yummy recipe previous blog). So in the spirit of all things bready, we’re bringing you four fantastic bread recipes to try that are not only easy, but delicious too. Happy bread baking!
Rosemary garlic focaccia
Perfect with soup, dips or on its own, fresh and warm right out of the oven, focaccia, an Italian flat bread, is always a crowd-pleaser. Throw in the classic combination of rosemary and garlic, and you’re in for an aromatic treat that is both filling and tasty. The best part about focaccia is that it’s versatile as you can add a variety of different toppings, including olives, cheese, tomato and more.
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)
- 1/4 teaspoon honey
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
In a cold medium skillet, combine olive oil, minced garlic, thyme, rosemary, and the black pepper. Place the pan over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 to 10 minutes or until aromatic, but before the garlic browns. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the warm water, yeast, and honey. Stir a few times then leave it to sit for 5 minutes.
Add 1 cup of the flour and a 1/4 cup of the infused garlic-olive oil mixture to the bowl with the yeast and honey. Stir 3 to 4 times until the flour has moistened. Let that sit for another 5 minutes.
Stir in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour and the salt. When the dough comes together, transfer to a floured board and knead 10 to 15 times until smooth.
Transfer the dough to a large oiled bowl, cover with a warm, damp towel and let it rise for 1 hour. (it’s best to let the dough rise in a warmer area of your kitchen).
After 1 hour, heat the oven to 230 degrees Celsius.
Use two tablespoons of the remaining garlic-olive oil mixture to oil your baking sheet (roughly 20cm by 30cm).
Transfer the dough to the baking sheet then press it down into the pan. Use your fingers to dimple the dough then drizzle the top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of the garlic-olive oil mixture. Let the dough rise for 20 minutes until it puffs slightly.
Bake until golden brown, for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Cool baked focaccia bread on a wire rack.
TOP TIP: Refrigerate or freeze leftover focaccia. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, then in foil. Keep in the refrigerator up to 2 days and in the freezer for about a month.
Seed and grain loaf
If you’re after something a little more rustic and nourishing, look no further than this yummy seed and grain loaf. Best served hot out of the oven with lashings of butter or a nut butter of your choice, it’s the perfect pick-me-up at any time of the day. The best part is, it’s a healthier option than regular bread.
- 500g mixed grain flour
- 1 tbsp each sesame and poppy seeds, plus a little extra for topping
- 1 sachet fast-action yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 300ml hand-hot water
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp clear honey
Tip the flour, seeds, yeast and salt into a large bowl. Mix the water, oil and honey in a jug, then pour into the dry mix, stirring all the time to make a soft dough. If it feels sticky, sprinkle in a little more flour.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 mins, until the dough no longer feels sticky, sprinkling with a little more flour as you need it.
Oil a 1.2-litre loaf tin and put the dough in the tin, pressing it in evenly. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for 1 hr, until it springs back when you press it with your finger. Heat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
Make eight slashes across the top of the loaf, brush with water and sprinkle alternately with poppy and sesame seeds. Bake for 30-35 mins until the loaf is risen and brown. Tip it out onto a cooling rack and leave to cool.
Source: Good Food magazine
Mielie (sweet corn) bread
Savoury, light and moreish, this mielie bread recipe is definitely one you’ll come back to again and again. It’s the perfect addition to an afternoon tea or an excellent accompaniment to soup – however you choose to enjoy it, guaranteed you’ll want more than one slice.
- 410g creamed sweet corn
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 5ml salt
- 60g butter, melted and divided into two bowls of 30g each
- 60ml warm milk
- 1 cup grated cheese
- 350g self raising flour
- 2ml paprika
Place sweet dorn, eggs, salt, milk and 30g of butter into a bowl and stir.
Mix in the flour and paprika to form a dough.
Brush a bread tin with melted butter and dust with flour before adding in the dough.
Bake at 170 degrees Celsius for approximately 45 minutes or until well risen and lightly brown. Finally, brush with the rest of the melted butter to keep the top soft.
Spring onion and cheese soda bread
This is another rustic and savoury option featuring the delectable flavour combination of cheese and onion. Again, it’s perfect for dunking in soups and stews, or enjoying straight out of the oven with loads of butter – yum.
- 400g plain flour, plus extra to dust
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 bunch of spring onions, chopped
- 125g cheese, crumbled or coarsely grated (we recommend cheddar or gouda)
- 300ml buttermilk (instead of buttermilk, you can use 200g natural yogurt mixed with 100ml milk)
- 1 tbsp milk, to glaze
Preheat the oven to 200°C and dust a baking tray with flour.
Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a mixing bowl, and add a couple of grindings of black pepper. Stir in most of the spring onions and cheese, keeping a little back for the top of the loaf.
Make a well in the centre and add enough buttermilk to bring together into a clean ball. Add a little extra milk if needed.
Shape into an 18cm round and put on the prepared tray. Mark the loaf into quarters, cutting almost all the way through. Brush with a little milk, then scatter the remaining spring onions and cheese on top.
Bake for 35-40 minutes until the loaf is crisp and sounds hollow. Cool for at least 30 minutes on a wire rack before eating.