Nettle and Thyme BreadPosted 28 May 2013 by Debbie
Stinging nettles abound at this time of year and are the bane of many gardeners (they shouldn’t be — they make a lovely liquid fertiliser). Nettles also make up part of the wonderful resource of free foods available in our gardens, or the hedgerows. They are best when they are young, and the leaves are not yet coarse, so early spring is the ideal time to harvest them, but nettles are so prolific, and seed themselves so readily, that you should be able to find some tender leaves to put in some soup, nettle tea, or this nettle and thyme bread. Nettles have a subtle, earthy flavour, and are perfectly matched by fresh thyme in this half white/half wholemeal loaf.
Now, there is an obvious hazard when using nettles. You can avoid getting stung by wearing gloves to pick them, and then remove the sting by scalding them before use. Only use the younger leaves, and avoid any that already have flowers (tiny green bobbly things).
Ingredients (makes 1 loaf)
- 225 g strong white bread flour
- 225 g strong wholemeal bread flour
- 2 tbsp honey
- 15 g active dried yeast
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- generous handful of nettle leaves (about 25 g)
- 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 140 ml hot water
- 140 ml warm water
- 1 tsp salt
Scald the nettle leaves in boiling water, drain and chop.
Spoon the honey into the hot water and stir until it dissolves. Add this to the warm water and mix in the yeast. Leave this for at least 10 minutes to allow it to get frothy.
Mix the flours with the salt, olive oil, nettles and thyme leaves.
Add the yeast, and stir together to make a dough. Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes, until it becomes smooth and elastic.
Leave the dough in a warm place, covered with a wet tea-towel, or cling film, to rise. It needs to double in size. Knock back the dough and shape it into a loaf, or place it into an oiled loaf tin. Leave to rise again until doubled in size.
Bake your nettle and thyme loaf at 200° C (390°F) for 30-35 minutes, until it’s golden and sounds hollow when knocked. I find it helps to wrap some foil around the loaf about half way through cooking, so that the top doesn’t burn while cooking.