So, it's November already (how ridiculous is that???) - my dog just turned 12 (yes, he's growing old - boohoo) and I recently turned ... well, I'm not telling how old I am although some days, I feel as if I'm 102 (especially everytime my knees crack when I squat to get something from a low shelf!).
Needless to say, I've been feeling a little dreary. I was in dire need of something to pick my spirits up.
A stiff drink would've worked but I needed something stronger.
I needed to make bread.
It's been ages since I last made anything other than a five minute (ok, maybe 15 minute) salad. So when Jane of The Wayward Oven brought a super tasty spider bread (a garlic and cheese bread shaped into a giant spider - we were doing a Halloween food shoot in the office), I was motivated to get back to bread baking.
I liked Jane's bread which she made from a buttermilk and egg-enriched dough. I decided to use her recipe (and her idea of making a stuffed S-shaped loaf) and make my own stuffed bread.
Jane used two fillings: salted fish pickle (paste) and garlic and oven-dried tomatoes. Doesn't that sound super? I didn't try thinking of a vegetarian alternative to salted fish - there really is no equivalent, I think.
I decided on onions for my first filling and mushrooms for my second.
I blanched some red onions, chopped them up roughly and pureed them before mixing the paste with some rosemary.
For the second filling, I minced some mushrooms and sauteed them with some garlic and then added some sliced brussel sprouts. The sprouts are optional, really; mushrooms and garlic alone would be great too.
The onion paste was a little wet and I was worried that the moisture from the paste may affect the outcome. I started to panic a little, especially when shaping the stuffed dough into an S-shape on the baking tray: the paste oozed out in places, making the dough a little stodgy.
"Oh my god," I yelled inwardly. "I'd messed it up!"
So, with the remaining dough (there was enough dough to make two medium-sized loafs) I decided to play safe and make a stuffed round dome - like a boule.
Well, as it turned out, the onion paste didn't ruin the bread at all. If anything, it added moisture to the crumb and what I ended up with was a moist, tender bread that was deliciously onion-y.
Onion and Mushroom Stuffed Bread
For the bread (adapted from the wayward oven)
350g bread flour
11/2 tsp active yeast
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp oil
For the onion paste
3 medium red onions
2 sprigs of rosemary
For the mushroom (and brussel sprout) filling
3 cloves garlic, minced
10 button mushrooms
6 brussel sprouts
salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
Whisk together the flour, salt and sugar. Add the yeast and mix it in. Heat the buttermilk until it starts to simmer. Take it off the heat and lightly beat in the egg and oil. When the temperature has cooled slightly (enough for you to stick a finger in for 10 seconds), pour the liquid into the flour mixture gradually and bring together to form a dough. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes until it becomes nice and smooth. Cover and leave for 10 mins. After 10 minutes, knead again about 8-10 times and cover for another 10 minutes. Repeat twice and then cover with a tea towel and leave the dough to rise for about 60 mins.
Drop the peeled onions into a pot of boiling water and blanch it for about 5-7 mins. Drain, roughly chop and puree to a paste. Add the rosemary, stir and let it sit - covered.
Heat a pan of water. When the water boils, add the brussel sprouts and let it cook for about 5 mins. Drain and slice thinly. Mince the mushrooms roughly. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and add the minced garlic. Add the minced mushroom and cook under a low fire until the moisture evaporates. Add the sprouts and mix. Season and take off the heat.
Once the dough has risen, gently punch it down to deflate. Divide the dough in two (or you can make one large loaf).
For the S-loaf, gently roll the dough out into a rectangle with the longer side facing you. Spread the onion onto half the rectangle. Fold the other half (the half without the filling) over the onion paste. Now, spread the mushroom filling on top of it.
Pre-heat the oven to 190C.
Turn the dough around so that the longer side of the rectangle is facing you.
Roll the dough up (from the side nearest you) into a log (as you would a swiss roll). Roll it as tight as you can. Seal the seam as well as you can. Now, shape the log into an 'S'. Let the S-shape dough rest for about 15 minutes.
Bake for 30-35 mins or until the bread browns on top and is cooked through.
For the stuffed boule, simply roll the dough into a round. Spread the paste in the middle of the dough and then spoon in the mushroom filling Fold the edges of the circle around the fillings and seal the dough into a nice round parcel. Smoothen the dough into a nice ball and let it rest, seam side down, for about 15 minutes.
Bake for also around 30 mins.