This isn’t really a seasonal recipe, but I felt the urge to post and this is something I made in the Summer that I am very proud of.
I had a recipe card for something similar a long time ago, which I always planned on using, but after looking everywhere for it I supposed it must have got lost in transition somewhere along the way.
So I set to researching the best way to recreate my (probably skewed) idea of what this recipe card gave instructions to make.
You will need 4 x 11cm or 8 x 6cm terracotta plant pots. Makes 4 small loaves or 8 smaller loaves respectively: not to insult your intelligence.
I used 4 x 11cm pots and found each loaf sufficient to serve 2 people, but the love ate a whole one so it really depends.
Before starting to cook, note that some cooking equipment (such as terracotta pots) need ‘seasoning’ before they are used for the first time, so they don’t crack. To do this, heat your oven to 180°c. Wash the pots thoroughly in warm, soapy water. Dry, then use oil or butter to coat them inside and out. Place in the oven for 20-30 minutes. To be extra cautious, this can be repeated 2 or 3 times. I fit this in when I am waiting for my dough to rise for the first time.
- 500g strong white bread flour
- 10g salt
- 10g fast-action yeast
- 20g butter, softened
- approx. 325ml cool water
- 80g fresh cherries, quartered and tossed in flour
- 30g poppy seeds
- Place the flour in a large bowl. Add salt on one side of the flour and yeast on the other. Salt can kill yeast if it is placed directly on top of it. Add the butter and ¾ of the water. Mix with your fingers, adding water steadily until all of the flour is incorporated and everything is mixed. You may need a little more or less flour; just bear in mind that your dough should be soft but not soggy.
- When you can clean the bowl with your dough, tip it onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes. 10 will be a safer bet as it is very hard to over-knead dough by hand, but the bread may collapse, sag or crack on the top if the dough is under-kneaded. Obviously, you won’t have to knead it for as long if you are using an electric mixer, but I don’t feel comfortable giving instructions for this as I have never used one.
- When your dough is smooth and fairly elastic, place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover. Leave for at least an hour, or up to 3 hours until at least doubled in size.
- Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly to knock the air out of it, then add most of the cherries and poppy seeds. Knead to incorporate them into the dough completely.
- Place back in the bowl and cover for 30 minutes more to allow the dough to prove. Meanwhile heat the oven to 220°c and line your pots with baking parchment.
- When the dough has proved, shape it into even sized balls and place one in each pot. Glaze with a little milk and sprinkle the rest of the poppy seeds and cherries over the top. Bake for 10-30 minutes depending on the size of your pots, until golden-brown.
- Turn out of the pots and leave to cool. When cooled they can be returned to the pots to look pretty, if you like.
- They are now ready to eat! I had mine with honey and crumbled goat’s cheese, and I would highly recommend this!