This is my first recipe in a little while as I am approaching the end of my degree and as a result my baking has been horribly neglected. Yesterday marked another day when I was able to rid myself of a few more essays and this has meant I was able to reward myself with the free time to make some delicious bread.

At Christmas I was given the Dan Lepard’s ‘Short and Sweet: The best of home baking‘. For anyone looking for a new baking book, this one comes with my highest recommendation! The recipe for Black Bread has been on my to-do-list for quite a while and I hope my take on it will inspire you to give it a go. Dan Lepard’s original recipe was designed as a loaf without any chilli; this Black Chipotle Bread is plaited and covered with dried chilli seeds and cooked around a terracotta dish. Inside I have pickled some jalapeño chillies and lightly battered them and rolled them in spicy seasoning. I have also made a chilli oil and filled my terracotta dish with Serrano ham and Manchego cheese. To decorate, I laid fresh coriander and parsley around my dish along with a few red fresh chillies. What I am going to show you is how to make the bread and the chilli oil, you can fill your dish with anything you like; I am sure many of you will be more creative than me!

 

For your bread you will need:

325ml of cold water

150g Rye (if not use a good whole meal flour, this works just as well)

2 teaspoons of fast action yeast

1 teaspoon of muscovado sugar

2 tablespoons of cocoa powder

2 tablespoons of instant coffee granules

75g black treacle

425g of strong white flour

3 teaspoons of fennel seeds

50g unsalted butter

150g grated carrot

2 teaspoons fine sea salt

1 dried chipotle chilli Ii found mine from www.loveyourlarder.com)

dried chilli flakes

1 terracotta dish (mine measures 11cm in width)

 

For your chilli oil you will need:

4 Whole fresh red birdseye chillies

1 bunch of fresh parsley

1 bunch of fresh coriander

2 cloves of garlic

250ml olive oil

3 cherry tomatoes

3 star anise 

1 smaller decorative dish

bread

 

1. Whisk 225ml of the cold water with 50g of rye in a saucepan and bring to the boil and then spoon into a bowl until lukewarm. Then stir in your yeast and sugar and leave covered at room temperature for 45 minutes.

2. Heat the remaining 100ml of cold water with the cocoa, coffee, treacle, fennel seeds, finely chopped chipotle and butter until melted then leave until lukewarm. Stir with the grated carrot and mix everything into your yeast mixture.

3. Add to this the remaining rye, white flour and salt and stir until the mixture forms a soft sticky mass. Rub 1 tablespoon of oil onto the work surface and your hands and knead the dough, repeat this twice at 10 minute intervals.

4. Now divide your mixture into four long sausage shapes until they are all 1.5 times the circumference of your terracotta bowl, each in length. Place your terracotta bowl in the centre of an oiled baking tray, plait your four pieces of dough together and place the one long plait around the outside of your terracotta bowl. Brush the top of the dough with water and sprinkle on your dried chilli flakes and slip the baking tray inside a carrier bag and leave it until it is increased in size by half.

5. Now remove the plastic bag and place your baking tray into a preheated oven of 200° for 20 minutes. To get a good crust I always place a baking tray of cold water on the bottom shelf of my oven. The steam created when the water is heated always creates a good crust for your bread. After 20 minutes reduce the temperature to 180° for a further 15 minutes. Now leave your bread to cool and you can begin making your chilli oil.

6. To make your chilli oil chop all of your fresh ingredients finely and with the oil and star anise place into a saucepan on a medium heat for 5 minutes. By heating the ingredients it allows a greater flavour for your oil. Once taken off the heat, place in a small decorative bowl to put in the centre of your terracotta dish.

7. The fun bit is deciding what you would like to put into your dish and how you would like to decorate it. Because the bread is dark and smoky in taste, I opted for Spanish and Mexican ingredients but I encourage you to be really creative with your dishes as this can look really beautiful and makes a great sharing dish for family and friends.

 

Charlotte Hoare

This recipe is taken from Charlotte’s blog where she documents her latest delicious creations. To see more recipes go to http://charlottescakesandbakes.blogspot.co.uk/

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