recipe – spinach bread

by Martha on February 10, 2012

I’ve been trying to eat my greens, more so than usual, which has made posting in this space a touch difficult. There’s nothing I love more than bringing delectable sweets to you all, week after week, but here’s the ugly truth:

When my health fell off the deep end a year ago I turned to the kitchen to cure what ailed me. Doctors told me I could no longer exercise and advised that I should even avoid everyday tasks like carrying a basket of laundry up the stairs. I became dependent upon everyone, most of all Zach, for even the most simple of tasks.

And I’m not good at that. I am what you might call a go-getter. Fiercely independent and a do-it-herself kind of gal. So when I could do so little, I did even more of the two things I love the most – cooked and ate. They were the only things that were still mine. The things I didn’t have to hand over to someone else.

I spent over a year cooking and baking whatever I felt like and eating as much of it as I pleased. It made me feel better when so little did.

But now, blessed once again with good health and the benefit of hindsight, my favorite pair of jeans and I can both see that I overdid it. So I’ve cut back and have been spending more time logging miles on my neighborhood running paths than measuring out sugar and flour in the kitchen.

This is not to say I won’t get back to doing that again, in fact, I can’t imagine a life without it. But loving food and loving yourself requires balance. And for far too long, there was none of that.

So for now, until I can find that balance again, I’m focusing on getting back to my healthy self again. And because this blog is, and always has been, a reflection of where I am at a particular moment in time, things might look a little different around here.

But that’s okay, especially when you’ve got some delicious spinach bread to soften the blow. And especially when that spinach bread is sliced, toasted, and schmeared with a little light butter and a sprinkling of truffle salt.

Spinach Bread

Summary: Adapted from The Italian Baker by Carol Field

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 3/4 reserved spinach liquid/water
  • 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 2 packages (10 oz, each) frozen spinach, thawed + squeezed dry, liquid reserved
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. In a small pan, saute the garlic in the oil until lightly golden. Set aside to cool.
  2. In the microwave, warm 1/4 cup of the reserved spinach liquid to about 110 degrees. Combine the warm liquid, yeast and sugar in the bowl of a mixer. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the remaining 1/2 cup spinach liquid, garlic + oil, thawed spinach, and nutmeg and mix with the paddle. Add the flour and salt and mix until flour is absorbed.
  4. Change to the dough hook and knead until the dough is soft and velvety, 2-3 minutes.
  5. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, about 1-1.5 hours.
  6. Pour the dough onto a floured countertop. It will be very wet and sticky, but you will work more flour into the dough as you shape. Shape into a round loaf and place on a baking sheet dusted with cornmeal. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Using a razor or sharp knife, slash the top of the loaf in a “V”. Bake on the middle rack for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven to 400 degrees and back for 30-35 minutes more. Cool completely on a rack before slicing.

Preparation time: 3 hours

Cooking time: 40 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8

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