Bread-making isn’t exactly my forte. I don’t have the patience to let things develop and rise on their own time and I lack the all-important trait of strength in my biceps to do the required amount of kneading. Also, I’m pretty lazy. But I do love the smell of freshly baked bread enough to make the effort once in a while. Making your own bread, the very act evokes something so ‘grown up’ and wholesome. Quite a few months ago I was flicking through one of the best cookbooks, Margot Henderson’s You’re all invited and came across this recipe. Not only did it have grapes inside and on top of the bread, the recipe calls for one of my favourite ingredients: the all mighty verjuice. I love it’s sweet tang and unique flavour.
25g fresh yeast
225ml warm water
500g plain flour
a pinch sea salt
110g caster sugar
35ml olive oil
750g black seedless grapes
1 teaspoon verjuice
1 sprig rosemary
1. Crumble the yeast into a bowl and whisk in the warm water. Leave in a warm place for 20 minutes, until it appears frothy.
2. Mix the flour, salt and sugar in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the yeast mixture and bring together well. Turn on to a floured surface and knead for 15 minutes until the dough feels elastic and bounces back when prodded. Leave the dough in an oiled bowl, covered with cling film in a warm place until it has doubled in size.
3. Halve the grapes and place them in a bowl. Give them a rough squeeze.
4. Once the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 180°C. Divide the dough in half and roll out one of the pieces until it is a 1cm thick disc. Place it on a large oiled baking tray.
5. Add the rest of the sugar and the verjuice to the grapes and stir in a tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle about half of the grape mixture over the dough, then roll out the remaining dough and place on top. Cover with the rest of the grape mixture and drizzle with the rest of the oil. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until golden.
6. While the bread is baking, put the honey into a pan with the rosemary. Heat for 5 minutes, then set aside. Once the bread is cooked, leave to rest for 10 minutes and then drizzle with the rosemary-scented honey.
(Recipe from You’re all invited: Margot’s recipes for entertaining, Fig Tree 2012)