Tuesday, 7 August 2012

thyme honey loaf with fresh thyme and poppy seeds



... honey is always glorious baked into bread... not just for that delicious sweetness that is sealed in but also for that mouth-watering aroma that fills the house when it's baking... it's that almost-burnt sugar scent that permeates every corner of the kitchen that makes it worth it...

... i'm using the thyme honey I used with the welsh lamb that was sent to me by the New Zealand Honey Co as, whilst I want the sweetness, I still want the final loaf to be a savoury item and so the thyme infused into the honey adds a lovely herby kick... the added fresh thyme enhances those flavours beautifully into a very delightful loaf... this bread was incredible toasted as it really intensified the thyme honey and was very good with a nice strong cheddar cheese...


thyme honey loaf with fresh thyme and poppy seeds
I try and make 2 loaves every Friday if I can, simply doubling the recipe and then splitting the dough after its first rise... its at this point that I add any extra ingredients, usually keeping one plain and simple and experimenting with the other... the recipe below is for two medium loaves and shows this adding of the extra ingredients... the warm weather we've been having recently has been superb for making bread as I haven't had to place the dough in the airing cupboard, a warm corner of the kitchen seems to work just fine.

800g strong white bread flour
2 teaspoons of active dried yeast
2 large teaspoons of sea salt
600ml warm water
olive oil for kneading

2 tablespoons honey
a handful of fresh thyme
a sprinkling of poppy seeds
extra honey for glazing

- place all the bread ingredients in a very large bowl and bring together with a rubber spatula until it becomes a sticky shaggy dough, cover with a tea towel and leave for 10 minutes

- pour some oil onto your work surface and scoop the dough onto the oil, quickly oil the inside of the bowl

- knead the dough for 8 turns only - thats 'stretch and knead and turn, stretch and knead and turn' place back in the bowl and cover with the tea towel for 10 minutes - the dough should already be softer than you would imagine and you'll be able to see big air pockets forming

- repeat the process 3 more times then cover and leave to double in size for at least and hour

- you should have a nicely risen soft dough at this stage which you need to cut into two pieces

- oil your work surface again and place one of the pieces onto the oil and pat into an oval shape, starting at one end roll the dough up tightly, tuck the ends in and place into an oiled loaf tin - set aside to rise for at least 45 mins

- with the second bit of dough you can either gently knead the ingredients in and then form into a loaf or, as I did with the remaining ingredients, pat out into the oval shape, drizzle liberally with honey, sprinkle with fresh thyme and then roll up into a loaf

- bake on 190C for 30-40 mins or until golden and gorgeous

- once cooled, paint with a little honey and sprinkle with poppy seeds


i'm entering this loaf into the Herbs on a Saturday challenge hosted by Karen from Lavender and Lovage which is a great challenge, encouraging us all to use our herbs more creatively... and I thought i'd take this chance to show you my little 'herb garden' which is essentially 7 pots sitting outside my back door so that, should the weather be chucking it down, I can literally lean out and grab a handfull... I have all the classics including rosemary, thyme, lemon thyme, marjoram, chives and mint as well as a large strawberry plant and a curry plant... it does me very well and I love the incredible aroma it gives off as I brush past it in the mornings...


eat and of course, enjoy!

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