Sorry, I know it’s been a very long while since I last posted. Things were frenetic in the lab and I’m taking the time these days to do a bit of catching up.
Now, on to the bread: it’s packed with dense, spinach flavour and makes a great, hearty tomato and mayo sandwich, or pairs nicely with carrot soup.
Reading the original post makes me laugh:
But, this isn’t a bread for a person new to making yeast breads. The lavish amount of spinach made for an odd dough. It was stiff, moist, but not sticky–and never really came together in an elastic ball like regular bread dough. I kneaded it in my Mixmaster for almost 10 minutes.
The only yeasted item I made before this was naan (a type of Indian flatbread). I guess I was foolhardy back then, ignoring the “this isn’t a bread for a person new to making yeast breads” haha. I even had to Google what a Mixmaster was! Anyway, it still turned out well so don’t be afraid even if you haven’t made many yeast breads before tackling this recipe.
Hearty Spinach and Feta Cheese Bread
Adapted from What Did You Eat?
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 6 oz crumbled feta cheese
– 2-1/4 tsp active dry yeast
– 1/4 tsp sugar
– 2 x 10 oz packages of frozen spinach, thawed (this can be done in a microwave), squeezed dry, but liquid reserved
– 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
– 3-3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
– 2 tsp salt
Warm 1/4 cup of the reserved spinach liquid to just above 100F (105 to 115, ideally).
Stir the yeast and sugar into the warm spinach liquid, let stand until foamy, 10 minutes.
Add remaining 1/2 cup spinach liquid, feta cheese, oil, spinach, and nutmeg and stir thoroughly.
Mix the flour and salt and stir into the spinach mixture.
Knead on a floured surface or in a Mixmaster until dough is well marbled, 8 to 10 minutes. Add more flour, if the dough is sticky, but it is okay if it is slightly moist. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours.
The dough may be even wetter after rising because of the spinach. Pour the dough onto a well-floured work surface and flour the top of the dough if necessary. Shape into a loaf and place on a lightly oiled bread pan. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425F. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 400F and bake the loaf 30 to 35 minutes.
Cool completely on a rack.
This post is dedicated to the memory of Sherry Cermak, the creator of What Did You Eat?, who passed away suddenly on July 20, 2008. I can’t say that I knew her well, but it was her spinach and feta cheese bread (with nutmeg) recipe that produced my very first loaf of homemade yeast bread and in many ways helped nurture my love for baking.
Sherry will be missed not only by her family and friends, but by fellow food enthusiasts who were inspired by her as well.