Saturday, 8 January 2011

Caraway Seed Bread

Ever since I read Trina Hahnemann's Scandinavian Cookbook, I've become quite fascinated with caraway seeds. My mum used to make little scone-type cakes studded with the tiny dark seeds and I used to be quite hooked on them. Since then, I have discovered caraway seeds are great scattered over cool, soft smoked salmon in a crisp iceberg and cucumber salad, as I mentioned in this post here.

So I started using them to make Caraway Bread, using a standard bread recipe and kneading in a couple of teaspoons of caraway seeds. Their delicate, aniseed-like perfume adds a completely new dimension to a sandwich - slice this bread and use it to make a ham, lettuce and tomato sandwich, smearing with creamy dijon mustard as you go and topping with sliced gherkins. This has to be one of my favourite sandwiches ever, the sharpness of the gherkins and the soft, scented caraway bread work so well together. Substitute the white flour for wholemeal if you prefer it.

Caraway Seed Bread
makes 2 small loaves, approximately 500g each

750g strong white bread flour
1 x 7g sachet fast action dried yeast
425ml warm water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
2-3 teaspoons caraway seeds, depending on how strong you like the flavour

1. In a large bowl, mix the flour and the yeast together and then pour over the warm water. Bring the mixture together using your hands, until it forms a white, craggy dough.
2. Tip out onto a lightly floured work surface, pour over the olive oil and knead for 8 minutes. The dough should be soft, smooth and springy.
3. Sprinkle over the salt and the carway seeds and continue to knead for another 2 minutes.
4. Place back in the bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for one hour. I tuck it in between towels in the airing cupboard, but anywhere warm will work.
5. Take out the dough, whch should be light and have doubled in size, and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Split the dough in half and divide between two loaf tins (I use bendy silicone ones). Cover with cling film or a damp clean tea towel to stop it drying out, and leave for 20 minutes while you preheat the oven to 220C.
6. When the 20 minutes are up, put the loaves in the oven and bake for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, turn down the oven to 170C (don't open the door) and bake for a further 35 minutes. When they are cooked they will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Leave to cool and then slice and eat!

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1 comment:

  1. I love caraway in bread- I found a recipe for caraway sodabread in a Welsh cookbook and have made it many times- magical! We often serve it with soup.