A simple but delightful sandwich bread, made with white flour, commercial yeast, and a bit of sour cream to provide a mildly tangy note, and a moist and tender crumb.   If you are baking under challenging conditions (that is, in a small oven), watch out for quite  an impressive oven spring: the bread might touch the heating element on top and… you don’t want that to happen.  Protect it with aluminum foil if needed.     The recipe comes from the one and only Dan Lepard, you can find it here.

(from Dan Lepard, published at The Guardian)

General method:
Sour cream is mixed with water, a little salt and sugar, and yeast.  Bread flour is added to form a sticky dough.

Dan uses minimal kneading, just 10 seconds every 10 minutes over half an hour, then the dough rises for 1 hour.

After shaping as a loaf, place in a pan and allow it to rise for 60 to 90 minutes.  The bread is baked in a 390F oven for about 45 minutes.

(for the detailed recipe, and printable version, click here)

Comments:  This is a great  recipe for those times in which you want a simple loaf for day-to-day sandwiches.  A slice, slightly toasted, with cottage cheese, salt and pepper, is a perfect way to start the day, next to a steaming cup of green tea.  Or, if you prefer to play on my husband’s team, make it a thin spread of blackberry preserves,.  Either way, Dan Lepard came up with yet another winner!

I am submitting this post to Susan’s Yeastspotting

ONE YEAR AGO: Pasta with Zucchini Strands and Shrimp


Another recipe designed by Dan Lepard, courtesy of the Guardian website. In terms of time and overall process, it is very similar to the semolina barbecue buns I blogged about last week, but it results in a bread with  a much more assertive flavor – thanks to the tomato and rosemary – and gorgeous crumb color. Even if you are new to bread baking, this recipe will not cause you any grievance – I promise… 😉


(Dan Lepard)
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100 g yogurt  (3.5 ounces)
25 g tomato paste (1 ounce)
25 ml olive oil (1 + 1/2 Tbs)
125 ml warm water (3.7 oz)
150 g sundried tomatoes in oil, roughly chopped (5 oz)
1 sprig rosemary, leaves picked
400 g bread flour (14 oz)
1½ tsp salt
1 tsp instant dry yeast
Polenta or coarse cornmeal, for shaping

Mix together the yogurt, tomato paste and oil, add the warm water and stir in the tomatoes and rosemary. Put the flour, salt and yeast in a mixing bowl, pour in the tomato mixture and work to a soft dough. Leave resting for 10 minutes, lightly knead on an oiled surface for 10 seconds, and return to the bowl. Repeat this minimal, quick kneading cycle twice more at 10-minute intervals, then leave the dough covered at room temperature for one hour.

Pat the dough into an oval, roll it tightly like a scroll, then roll it back and forth on the worktop, pressing down the ends so they taper slightly. Brush with water and roll in polenta or coarse cornmeal. Place seam-side down on a tray lined with nonstick paper, cover with a cloth and leave for an hour. Slash down the center and bake at 425 F (220 C) for 45 minutes. Allow it to completely cool before slicing.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: My favorite type of bread is a sourdough, made with a mixture of white and rye flours, sometimes a little whole wheat flour added in the formula.  Open crumb, hearty crust, a great match for any type of meal.  Having said that, I agree with Dan Lepard: this loaf has its place in the world, bread snobs should not be twisting their noses at it.  It smells terrific while it’s baking, almost as if you are making pizza.   Enjoy it with smoked ham or prosciutto, and for a more mellow alternative try a ricotta-based spread (ricotta, lemon zest, salt and pepper: simple, understated, but delicious).

I am submitting this red-tinted loaf to Susan’s Yeastspotting

ONE YEAR AGO: Light Whole Wheat Bread

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Before we left on our journey to L.A., I had this bread in my “to bake soon” list.  Life got impossibly busy, but I didn’t worry too much, because I knew it would be a perfect bread for the nano-kitchen: minimal kneading, and doable in our toaster oven.  Several of my virtual friends made this bread and raved about it, but that’s a no-brainer: Dan Lepard is the man behind the formula.  😉

(from Dan Lepard – The Guardian website)

75g semolina or cornmeal, plus more to finish (I used fine cornmeal)
150 ml boiling water + 200 ml warm water
25g unsalted butter
1 tsp honey (I used agave nectar)
1 Tbs yogurt
1 + 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp instant yeast
450 g bread flour
(olive oil for kneading)

Spoon the semolina into a mixing bowl, pour 150ml of boiling water over it, stir well and leave for 10 minutes. Use a fork to mash the butter, honey, yogurt and salt into the mixture, then slowly work in 200ml of warm water, breaking up any lumps with your fingers. Stir in the yeast and flour, work to a smooth, soft dough and leave for 10 minutes.

Give the dough three 10-second kneads on an oiled surface over 30 minutes, then leave, covered, for an hour. Roll the dough to about 25cm x 35cm on a floured surface, lay on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and leave covered for 20 minutes. Cut the dough into eight flat rectangular “rolls”  but do not separate them, just make a deep incision all the way down the baking sheet. Leave, covered, until risen by half (I cut into six rectangles, and allowed them to rise for 25 minutes).

Heat the oven to 465F.  Brush the tops of the buns with water, sprinkle with semolina and score a deep crisscross on top with a knife. Bake for about 20 minutes, until brown on top.  Let it cool for at least one hour on a rack before amazing yourself at how delicious the rolls taste.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This bread is so simple to prepare that I am still a bit shocked by how good it turned out.  If you haven’t yet been sold to the idea that minimal kneading makes excellent bread, this recipe will convince you.  I didn’t roll the dough, just stretched it lightly to preserve as much as possible the airy texture acquired in the hour long rise.

Dan made this recipe with pulled pork sandwiches in mind, and the combination would deserve to go into the Sandwich Hall of Fame.  Unfortunately, we don’t have any pulled pork at the moment, but the rolls still tasted awesome with ham, cheese and a slice of juicy tomato.

I am submitting this post to Susan’s Yeastspotting… the second bread from our Bewitching-Nano-Kitchen.

ONE YEAR AGO: Lavash Crackers

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