Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Parsnip, Gruyere and Thyme Bread

I've been trying my hand at baking more and more recently. A long Bank Holiday weekend offers lots of time, so I set about another type of loaf. My baking started when I was given a sour dough starter before Christmas and I had a go at a few loaves of sour dough to varying degrees of success. Unfortunately the starter is no more, I neglected it a bit too long, I tried to revive it but to no avail. I feel terrible. Like I killed a pet or something... I'm trying to put it behind me...


Since then I have been making homemade flat breads regularly, they are very simple, when you don’t set fire to them, which I managed last week... I even tried them on the bbq, they puffed up beautifully, full of hot air and toasted on the outside, I was so proud! They melted in your mouth... Bread feels like a real achievement to me, I still have huge amounts of confusion and questions about what I'm doing, but just giving it a go is a good starting point I think... I tried a Traditional Soda Bread this weekend, I might have to work on that one a bit more, it looked beautiful but was quite heavy...

My most successful loaf to date has been this Parsnip, Gruyère and Thyme Bread however, adapted from one of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's recipes, he has a lot of simpler recipes for amateur bakers like myself... I had a couple of old sprouting parsnips that were a bit past it and this seemed a good way to put them to use....




To start, heat 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil in a frying pan and slowly cook 1 sliced onion until soft and golden. While it is cooking mix together in a big bowl 175g of grated parsnips, about 2 medium sized ones, 175g of self raising flour, ½ teaspoon of sea salt, 2 teaspoons of thyme leaves, 50g grated gruyere and some ground black pepper. Add the onion to the floury parsnip mix when it is done, along with 1 beaten egg and 2 tablespoons of whole milk. Bring the whole lot together with your hands, it's easier to get to grips with whether it needs a little more milk or not when using your hands. Don't overwork it, just a little gentle kneading...

Then shape it into a ball, flatten slightly and place on an oiled baking sheet. Bake in the oven at 180°C for 45-50 minutes, until the loaf is golden and makes a hollow sound when you tap the bottom. My bread always seems to take longer than recipes direct so I think my oven is perhaps a bit lower than it tells me.


Leave the bread to cool for ten minutes on a wire rack before slicing. The warm soft parsnip with melted cheese and almost smoky thyme leaves flecked through the bread is delicious. I didn’t get any further than just having slices of it with cold butter, but it would be lovely with an earthy warming soup, perhaps cauliflower or carrot... It is also amazingly good as toast... again with more butter! I love butter... a lot... this new found love of bread baking is doing nothing to reduce my butter intake at all... it's a slippery buttery slope to a butter induced overdose I feel...


2 comments:

  1. I would never have thought of putting root vegetables in bread, but this looks delicious! especially with cheese! lovely photos too.

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  2. Wow, what an interesting combination! I use vegetables like this in savory pancakes, but I've never tried baking them into bread. Thanks for the great idea!

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