Sunday, 28 August 2011

Fresh From The Oven 8 - August 2011 - Vegetable Bread.

Sweet potato bread.

Courgette bread.

This month I have made two types of bread.  One, a courgette bread from the recipe given to us by Sally from My Custard Pie who challenged us to create breads with vegetables in them; and the second, a sweet potato loaf.  She gave us the recipe for courgette cluster rolls as she found it to be a great way of using up a glut of home grown courgettes.  The recipe is adapted from a recipe by Roz Denny printed in House and Garden magazine.  

My courgette rolls all just amalgamated into one big loaf so we just tore off chunks to have with our soup.  Another sneaky way of getting vegetables into the children - my boys are bread mad so this worked like a treat!

Courgette Cluster Bread 
Makes 8 rolls or clusters

Ingredients - 

450g courgettes, grated coarsely
Salt (for degorging and for the dough)
675g strong white bread flour
2 sachets of easy-blend/fast-action yeast or 14g instant dried yeast
3 tablespoons parmesan, grated
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
Tepid water - about 200ml
Milk, to glaze
Sesame seeds, to sprinkle

Method - 

1. Place the courgettes in a colander, sprinkle lightly with salt. Allow the juices to drain for about half-an-hour, then rinse well in cold water and pat dry.
2. If using instant yeast whisk it into 90 ml of the tepid water until frothy and dissolved. Mix the flour, yeast, parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and some black pepper together in a bowl, then stir in the olive oil and courgettes. Add some more water until the mixture comes together as a firm, soft dough. 
3. If kneading by hand, turn the dough onto a lightly floured board or work surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Or use a stand mixer with a dough hook. 
4. Lightly oil a bowl and put the dough into rise, covered with cling film or a cloth, for about one hour or until doubled in size.
5. Knock back the dough in the bowl (punch the air out of it) and then turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead again briefly until smooth.
6. Divide the dough into eight equal pieces and roll to shape into even balls. Lightly grease and line the base of a 23 cm cake tin with baking parchment. Place one ball of dough in the middle and all the others around it.
7. Brush the tops of rolls with milk and sprinkle over some sesame seeds. Cover again with oiled cling film or a cloth and leave to prove until doubled in size and the balls touch each other - about 30 minutes.
8. Put into a preheated oven at 200 C for about 25 minutes until golden brown and cooked. Cool on a wire rack. Tear each roll off to eat as a bun.

I then decided I would like to try making a loaf with sweet potato.  I felt the sweet potato would be quite soft (like the courgettes in the fluffy bread above) and, for this one, I wanted a bit of texture so I decided to try and adapt my favourite recipe for a seeded loaf.  The recipe is Seeded Honey Loaf from Gordon Ramsay's Healthy Appetite.

The basic recipe makes a really lovely every day seeded loaf and here is a photo of one I have made recently.

I will continue to make the basic one but I will also add the sweet potato version to my repertoire.  It is quite different - obviously quite sweet and a bit more chewy.  A lovely taste and will go very well with soup.  In fact, I would say that this is one of the tastiest breads I have had and I am very pleased with it indeed.  The fact it will sneak more vegetables into the kids is the cherry on the top.

Here, I will put the basic recipe and my changes in red.

Recipe -
Makes two 500g loaves. 

Ingredients - 
15g fresh yeast or 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
275ml tepid water (I halved this when making the sweet potato loaf as there is a lot of moisture in the sweet potatoes then just added a few drops at a time until I got to the right consistency)
225g wholemeal flour
225g strong white flour
1.5 tsp fine sea salt
50g mixed seeds - poppy, sesame, pumpkin, linseed and sunflower (I used pumpkin, sunflower and sesame and added probably about 80-90g)
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp milk, to glaze
(1 large-ish sweet potato (about 280g), grated)

Method - 
1. If using fresh yeast, put 3-4 tbsp of the water into a warm bowl, crumble in the yeast and stir to dissolve.  Leave to sponge for a few minutes.
2. Put the flours and salt into a large mixing bowl, add the seeds and stir to mix. (If you're using fast-action dried yeast, stir this into the flour mixture.) Make a well in the centre and add the olive oil, honey, yeast mixture and remaining water (all of it if using dried yeast).  Stir with a wooden spoon to combine, adding more flour if the dough seems too wet.  It should be soft, but not sticky. (I kept the seeds and the sweet potato out until I had kneaded the dough for a while then I added them in to finish the kneading.)
3. Press the dough into a ball, then knead on a lightly floured surface for about 5-10 mins until smooth.  Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with lightly oiled cling film and leave the dough to rise in a warm part of the kitchen for an hour or so until doubled in size.
4. Punch the dough down onto a lightly floured surface and knead it lightly.  Divide into two pieces and shape each one into a round loaf.  Place each on a lightly oiled large baking sheet and cover with lightly oiled cling film.  Leave to prove in a warm spot until almost doubled in size.
5. Heat the oven to 200C/GM 6.  Remove the cling film and brush a thin layer of milk over the loaves.  Bake for about 20-25 mins until light golden in colour.  The loaves should sound hollow when tapped underside.  Leave to cool on a wire rack.  Best served slightly warm.

Thanks for a fun and healthy challenge, Sally. 


  1. Love the idea of sweet potato in bread - one to try soon. I bet it's fab with soup...and yes, even with teens the odd vegetable cloaking device goes down well in getting 5 a day into them.

  2. Sally - I think the sweet potato is very tasty. And, yes, the vegetable cloaking is quite good for my husband too! Thanks for commenting - loved the challenge.

  3. Oh I love the sound of them both.

  4. Ah, I like your sweet potato adaption. In the past, all the sweet potato baked goods I have seen contain cooked, pureed sweet potato - but that adds a lot of extra work to the process. I think your idea of just grating the sweet potato would suit me more! Thanks; great idea.

  5. your bread looks so moist and soft.. lovely!

  6. Love the idea of a sweet potato bread and making a yeasted bread with vegetables added will I think be my next test.

  7. Wow these both look and sound amazing. I've never seen courgette bread before and it looks so light and tender. Love how the shreds of sweet potato are still visable too. I'm so impressed

  8. Oh how I love fresh from the oven homemade bread. Both are gorgeous looking and I can almost feel the delicious smell...mmmm... love the additions of vegetables.

  9. Both of these breads look delicious! Makes me glad I looked at this right before lunch!

  10. Shaheen - yes, great way to make bread more nutricious. I can imagine you would have done an amazing combination if you had been doing this challenge.

    Sarah - I don't generally do faff. It needs to be quick and simple.

    J - yes, especially the courgette one - really soft and fluffy.

    Louise - the sweet potato bread is excellent - I recommend it. In fact, my 3 year old has eaten tonnes of it today - he can't get enough.

    Katie - thanks - both great breads.

    Renata - thank you - it is also so satisfying to make your own bread - makes me feel like a domestic goddess!

    Valerie - Thanks. :-)

  11. Those courgette rolls look amazing!

  12. Your cluster bread is so pretty - one of my favourite bread shapes.

  13. 2 loaves for 1 challenge I'm very impressed! That sweet potato loaf looks delicious. Good convert vegetable work.

  14. Alex - help - I am finding it impossible to access your blog - not sure what is going wrong - any ideas?

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