Rustic Spinach Feta Bread

spinach feta bread

I have a problem. I really want to become an artisan bread baker (or as close as you can get doing it as a hobby) but I just haven’t been putting in the time to get better. And like all things, unless you practice you don’t make perfect.

The challenge with bread baking, in my opinion, is planning ahead. Yeast bread needs time to rise, then even more time to rise after shaping the dough. My problem is I’m not a very good planner.

I can whip up a home made chocolate Oreo Cake or Guiness Cupcakes with relative ease and limited planning on a Sunday morning during Baby Boy’s nap time. But bread? In my dreams. Well, most of the time.

Today is reveal day for The Secret Recipe Club, an online group where food bloggers are assigned each others blogs in secret, cook something from it, then share with the world on reveal day.

This month we were assigned the blog Cooking Rookie, a food blog with delicious food photography and recipes. Rachel and I saw this bread recipe and decided to “plan” to bake it – it just looked too delicious to pass up. Feta cheese bread? Yes please.

When you bite into this bread you get that nice crunchy exterior followed by a moist, soft interior. The feta adds a nice subtle saltiness, while the spinach isn’t overpowering and compliments in its own way.

spinach feta bread

 

So how does this bread recipe hold up for a time challenged Father of a 13 1/2 month old? Not bad at all. The flavor is outstanding, but more importantly, it’s quite simple to put together. You literally throw all the ingredients in a bowl, mix to combine, then let it sit for 2 hours. We ran errands during that time.

Now, because I’m trying to improve my bread baking techniques, I did get a little fancy. I tried baking it two different ways, both included in the directions below.

The first way was on a pizza stone with steam. That method wasn’t bad but I didn’t get the nice caramelized crust I was looking for. I blame my technique, not the recipe.

The second method produced better looking results, as featured in the photos. I placed by dough ball in a preheated dutch oven, covered with the lid, and baked it. This increased the baking time but resulted in a more satisfying appearance.

Both approaches yielded equally delicious results, so you can’t go wrong either way.

spinach feta bread

 

Rustic Spinach Feta Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 box (10 oz) chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1/2 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour

Instructions

  1. Mix the yeast, salt, spinach, cheese and sugar with the water in a large bowl or a stand mixer. Mix in the flour either using a spoon if by hand or the stand mixer with dough attachment. Cover and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses, approximately 2 hours.
  2. At this point you can either use the dough, or store in the fridge for later use (up to 7 days).
  3. When ready to use, divide the dough in half and transfer to a liberally floured surface. Shape each half of dough into a ball by tucking each side under itself. Allow to rest and rise on the floured surface for 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 450 degrees with a dutch oven pot, lid on, inside. When the oven is ready and dough has rested the hour, carefully remove the hot dutch oven pot. Transfer one dough ball to dutch oven pot, cover, and place in oven. Bake 50 minutes, or until crust is beginning to brown.
  5. Alternate baking method:
  6. Instead of a dutch oven pot, you can cook this bread on a pizza stone. Preheat oven to 450 degrees with a baking stone placed on the middle rack. Place an empty boiler tray on any other shelf that won’t interfere with the rising bread.
  7. Sprinkle the loaf liberally with flour and slash a cross or tic-tac-toe pattern into the top, using a serrated bread knife. Leave the flour in place for baking; tap some of it off before eating.
  8. Slide the loaf directly onto the hot stone. Pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler tray, and quickly close the oven door. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until deeply browned and firm. Smaller or larger loaves will require adjustments in baking time.
http://thekeenancookbook.com/appetizer/rustic-spinach-feta-bread

Recipe adapted from: Cooking Rookie

spinach feta bread


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