- 100 g (3 oz) nettle leaves
- 2 tsp unsalted butter
- 2 heaped tsp finely chopped fresh chives
- 500 g (1 lb 2 oz / 3 cups) strong white bread flour
- 10 g (2 tsp) fine sea salt
- 10 g (2 tsp) fresh yeast or 7 g (1 tsp) dried or fast-action yeast
- 270 ml (9 fl oz / 1 cup plus 1 tbsp) water
- sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
Nettles are a great source of iron, and combined with chives makes a wonderful fragrant and tasty loaf ...and it is also a fantastic colour too! A great talking point at the table as people try and guess the mystery ingredients of the green bread!
Makes 2 small 400 g or 1 lb loaves
- First wash the nettles thoroughly, wearing rubber gloves. Bring a pot of boiling salted water to the boil, add the nettles and blanch for two to three minutes. Leave to cool, then roughly chop the leaves, season with salt and freshly grated nutmeg, and set aside until later.
- Melt the butter in another pan, then toss in the chives and stir. The aim is not to cook the chives, just to warm them – this really brings out the flavour. Put the chives aside.
- Combine the flour, salt, chives and prepared nettles in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Crumble the yeast into the water and stir to dissolve. Add the water to the well and bring together into a dough with your hands or with a spatula. Turn the dough out on to a clean kitchen surface and knead for 10 minutes
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave to prove for 60—90 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Turn the proved dough out on to a clean surface and knock it back. Shape it into loaves and place in two lightly oiled 400 g or 1 lb loaf tins. Cover and allow to prove again for 60—80 minutes. The loaves should come to just below the rims of the tins or have increased by two-thirds.
- Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F/Gas 7) and put a roasting tray in the bottom. When ready to bake, place the loaves in the oven and steam by adding ice cubes or cold water to the tray. After 25 minutes remove the loaves from the tins, then return them to the oven and cook for a further eight minutes, until golden-topped and the base of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped