Spinach and Feta cheese bread is my contribution to "Bread Baking day #16" which is being hosted by Temperance of "High on the Hog" blog, with a theme of Bread with cheese. Thanks for hosting the first bread event for 2009, Temperance and my thanks to Zorra for starting this event. I am sure you all will enjoy this event as much as I did baking this bread! :))
When my kitchen was being remodeled last December, I couldn't cook at all for 5 weeks and that is the first time I just sat idle not being able to cook at all in 22 yrs after I got married! Did I enjoy the freedom? Not at all!! I just missed the cooking, baking and the aromas so much. When the construction was done, first thing I wanted to do is to bake a good bread in my brand new convection oven. I went on searching for a good bread recipe and I found this spinach-Feta bread recipe in a website which reminded me of Greek Spanakopita. Spinach, Rye and Feta sounded perfect for me and here it is, my first bread baked in my brand new kitchen and oven! What a perfect bread baking with cheese event to show it off too! :)
I tried this wonderful bread recipe from this beautiful cooking bread classes site. Check this out for step by step pictures. I have typed the bread recipe for my future reference here. My sincere thanks to this wonderful site for educating us all with such a clear cut instructions and for this super Spinach healthy and wonderful tasty, slightly tangy Feta bread.
Spinach-Feta cheese bread:
I followed the recipe mostly as it is except few changes and I also used the frozen Spinach instead of fresh Spinach. I didn't have the fresh greens at hand at the time but I don't think it took away much in the taste. Do use fresh Spinach if you can.
You need to do this the night before baking; Mix all these, cover and let it ferment overnight:
3/4 cup bread flour,
1/2 cup lukewarm water,
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast.
Next morning, gather all these in one place before you start the dough:
2 cups chopped fresh spinach or frozen, thawed and squeezed dry spinach,
1 tsp or butter to saute the Spinach,
Pinch of salt.
1 1/4 cup lukewarm water,
1/2 cup dark rye,
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour,
1/2 tsp instant yeast,
1 tsp salt,
1/2 tsp crushed pepper or dry chilli flakes,
2 cups bread flour,1 cup crumbled feta cheese.
Heat 1 tsp oil or butter in a pan, add salt, Spinach and saute until wilted and there is no liquid left. I microwaved the thawed spinach until the water evaporated, checking it often taking care not to burn the greens. Take it out, separate the clumps if any and let it cool.
1. Take a big bowl (or if you are using the KitchenAid to knead like I did, use that bowl),add "night before" fermented mix and lukewarm water, mix gently.
2. Add salt, pepper or chilli flakes, yeast, and both Rye and whole wheat flour, mix again. Leave it for 5-10 mins to rise a bit.
3. Add the bread flour, 1/2 cup at a time until you use all the flour until you get a very slightly sticky dough. You might need more or less bread flour than 2 cups, use your judgment. Knead well by hand or in the machine until you get a good smooth dough. Cover and let it rest for 5 mins.
4. Now, add spinach and Feta cheese on the dough, fold and knead gently until evenly mixed with the dough. In the machine, add spinach first, let it mix gently on low speed. Once well mixed, add Feta and mix on the lowest speed just until mixed.
5. Brush some oil on the dough, cover and let it rise and double in a warm place or warm oven for about 2hrs. Divide into two and make round dough. Place on the baking sheet, brush some flour on the top. Cover with a towel and let them rise again for an hour.
Preheat the oven at 400F (Yes, I used 25F less than what the recipe says).
Once the oven is heated, uncover the dough and place the sheet inside. Since mine is a brand new Convection oven, I didn't use the water as it says at the cooking bread site but do follow that method if you like. Bake these bread loaves for 30-40mins or until they sound hollow when tapped at the bottom of the bread.
Again, use your judgment according to your own oven, times and temperature may vary. Do not overbake. I also used a double layered insulated cookie sheet to bake these bread, which doesn't give you a very dark bottom. You could use Pizza stone to bake the loaves and you could place a pan with water on the bottom rack for steam while baking. It's up to you.
I gave the second loaf to my neighbor who is a breast cancer survivor. She was so happy to receive such a healthy and tasty bread. However, as soon as she saw the bread, she was excited thinking that I brought her a Indian style bread but was equally happy to know that it had Greek ingredients instead! :D
So, that's it for today. Hope you have a wonderful weekend. We are looking forward to see the movie "Gran Torino"tomorrow! :))