Baking bread is one of my favorite chapter of cooking and I’m addict to collect wild herbs and flowers for my experiments in the kitchen.
It’s April and finally the wild garlic is here and ready to be used. There a many of possibilities to use it and this year I really wanted to prepare something new with it.
My choice was a star bread; this kind of bread is often prepared with sweet fillings (for example chocolate cream) but with savory recipes this works at least as well and it’s decorative. The preparation of this bread is not difficult and doesn’t require special skills; to help you I took several photos of the steps. As usual to roll out the dough and transfer the dough to the tray and keep the form and size I use my silicon mat. This is the easiest way for me! The bread came out BEAUTIFUL and so aromatic! Best eat it fresh or still warm from the oven!
In my previous post I posted a pesto sauce with wild garlic and avocado, but in this recipe I will prepare a simple (without avocado) pesto sauce.
I plan to go to the forest again, pick more wild garlic and prepare more wild garlic pesto for the next breads. I combine olive oil, wild garlic, salt and pepper. For preservation the best and safest way is to freeze it, but adding more salt and covering the surface with olive oil, it can be stored in the closed jar in a dark and chilly place for a short time (http://www.eatweeds.co.uk/wild-garlic-in-oil).
Wild garlic (Allium ursinum, Bear’s garlic) is a wonderful chive cousin and is a very popular European species of garlic. Wild garlic pesto can be used as alternative to basil pesto as addition to pasta, tomato sauces and much more. Pick up the leaves before it had bloomed as apparently the leaves get really bitter after that point. Wild garlic can be confused with Lily of the Valley, autumn crocus and arum which are poisonous. If you have any doubt about your plant, do not eat it. The easiest way to tell if you have wild garlic or not is just to pick a small bit of leaf and rub it between your fingers. In the USA, ramp (Allium tricoccum), a wild plant with more onion-like flavor, is used for similar purposes.
If you don’t have wild garlic, use garlic chives or green garlic leaves, I would add few basil leaves as well; it’s not the same but a variation!
Wild Garlic Bread Star
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon instant dried yeast
- 1/2 cup water, lukewarm
- 1/4 cup milk, lukewarm
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 40 wild garlic leaves, cut with scissors into 1-2 cm pieces
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- Pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup almonds roughly chopped
- 8 whole almonds
- 1 tablespoon almonds roughly chopped
- If you are using instant dry yeast combine all the ingredients for the dough and work them (best with kneading machine or food processor) until smooth. If you are not sure about your yeast, combine the water, 2 tablespoons of flour, add yeast and mix well; after 10-20 minutes it should be foamy and you can add the rest of the ingredients.
- Cover and place in a warm place while you prepare the pesto.
- Pour olive oil in your food processor and add wild garlic leaves in portions until you get a paste, this does not need to be like puree. Add salt and pepper, mix shortly.
Assembling and forming:
- Divide the dough into to portions and form two balls.
- Roll out the firs dough (using my mat I don’t need flour, but if you work directly on the table you will need flour to roll out) to the size of about 35-40 cm of diameter. Place the round on a baking tray.
- Spread the pesto over the dough leaving about 2 cm of the border free. Top with almonds.
- Roll out the second round and place it over the first one with pesto. Press border with your fingers.
- Place a small glass or coffee cup to mark the center.
- Cutting from the marked circle (small glass) divide the cake into quarters, divide every quarter into two (now you have 8 parts) and once more again. At the end you should have 16 equal parts.
- Take two parts of the cake in both hands and delicately twist twice them in opposite directions. Stick the two ends together. Repeat with all pairs to form eight-armed star.
- Place the almonds (roughly chopped) for the topping in the center and if you like decorate with some whole ones as well.
- Place the tray into the cold oven and place a bowls with warm water into the oven to keep warm and for the humidity. If you have the possibility switch on the light of your oven. This will improve rising.
- After 1-2 hours the star should have doubled the size. Take out of the oven and preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F-
- Bake for about 20 minutes at 180°C/350°F or until the bread is golden.
- Let cool down on a wire rack or enjoy it still warm!