Tuesday, June 23, 2009

BBB Asparagus Spring Onion Bread

This month the fabulous Bread Baking Babes baked an usual savory offering: Asparagus Bread. At first I was a bit dubious, but then I read further and the bread started to sound better and better. With the adoption of two recommended variations to the recipe I was in business.

n.o.e.’s notes:

- Lien of Notitie von Lien was this month's host Babe. You can find the recipe on the her post, or here on Natashya’s post.

- I made a half recipe.

- As soon as I saw that the recipe could be made with part white whole wheat I knew I’d make the loaves that way. I ended up using 150 g bread flour + 100g white whole wheat.

- I had all of the ingredients on hand except for asparagus. The recipe mentions “p. e. spring onions” as an acceptable substitute. I’m not sure about the “p. e.” part, but my refrigerator was harboring some lovely “AL” spring onions, so I decided they would qualify.

- I used the green parts of the spring onions, and sautéed them in a bit of olive oil until lightly browned. Then I simmered them in a splash of white wine until softened.

- This bread was a great place to use black walnuts!

- I tried to drain and dry the arugula as much as possible, and used shredded Parmesan.

- I took a chance on my fresh yeast, and it was still strong after 4+ weeks!

- I mixed and kneaded the dough entirely by hand. It was a bit stiff, so I kneaded on olive oil surface, and wet my hands with water to moisten dough just a bit. After about 10 minutes I had a lovely pliable, elastic dough.

- The recipe makes petite loaves; my single loaf fit my little oval banneton perfectly. I’ve never used the banneton before, and I was excited to see how it would work! I made sure to flour it heavily. After forming the loaf, I placed it seam side up in the basket. I probably should have sealed the seam and tucked the ends a little bit better, as the loaf kept popping open during the second rise! I kept pinching the dough closed.

- The recipe had some interesting baking instructions. As directed, I used a steam pan at the bottom of my oven, and started with the oven at 480 degrees for 5 minutes, then turned the oven down to 390 degrees. I opened the oven to let air in every 10 minutes. My bread tested done at around 35 minutes.

- My bread popped right out of the banneton. Isn't it beautiful?

The verdict:

This was a wonderful country bread filled with savory flavors. It smelled and tasted unusual and delicious. The crumb is sturdy yet moist. I enjoyed the bread warmed with dinner and toasted with an egg for breakfast. My husband took a small piece to be nice but didn’t really care for it. Here’s his direct quote, “I think bread should be bread and vegetables should be vegetables.” Oh, well, more for me!!

I'm sending this bread to Yeastspotting, a wonderful weekly compendium of yeasty goodness.


Kayte said...

It looks really good to me, but don't think I should eat a whole loaf and the guys are not into veggies in bread. I will just have to look and imagine it all. Yours looks beautifully done. The inside looks intriguing to me...no, no, I just can't eat a whole loaf by myself! LOL.

Anonymous said...

YOur loaf looks fantastic. I love that last pic of the slices. I'm going to have to get an oval banneton.

Megan said...

I love the shape you were able to make with the banneton.

Spring onions in bread sounds fabulous - what a neat idea!

Audrey said...

It's just beautiful! An artisinal bakery here in Brookline used to sell a brioche-y flatbread (if that's not a contradiction?!) topped with pieces of roasted asparagus, but only at the farmers' market, which I never get to because of work. So I might have to make this with asparagus...but both versions sound fabulous. And now I want a banneton. All the cool kids have them! :)

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Beautiful loaf Nancy! It's a surprising good bread. Men, what do they know. My husband wants all his stuff separate - don't mix. Nut case if you ask me.

I really enjoyed it in the banneton too!

Di said...

I want a banneton. =) Your bread looks wonderful, Nancy.

Cathy said...

That is a gorgeous loaf of bread! I'm wishing that I got a smaller banneton now! I really think I'd like vegetables in my bread. I'll need to add this one to the list!

susies1955 said...

Beautiful is right. NICE, NICE, NICE!
Great baking along with you,

Engineer Baker said...

Gorgeous! I love the flour lines from bannetons. I'm also thinking the green onions would have been easier to knead in - my asparagus kept popping out last night!

Natashya said...

It looks great! Nice work with the banneton. Well, more for you if hubby doesn't like it!
I found it was really nice toasted with a poached egg on top.
I am not sure what p.e. stood for either, I am sure some things get lost in translation.

Lien said...

Is it beautiful? Girl, it's a stunning loaf. I love that banneton shape. Beautiful! Thanks for giving this bread a go and baking with us.
and men... ah well... they're men...what can I say :-)
(I'll send the badge as soon as I can... the "PC-man" comes tomorrow, so fingers crossed)

Susan/Wild Yeast said...

Spring onions and black walnuts, now there's a combination I could love. Totally stunning loaf.

Madam Chow said...

It looks fantastic, and you've sent me out to find a banetton like that!

Stefanie said...

The loaf looks gorgeous. Walnuts and spring onion sounds delicious, I think it would be great for a barbecue.