Sage And Onion Bread
The cracked wheat topping gives an appetising crunch to this deliciously flavoured, close-textured loaf.
This is a mouth-watering savoury bread that fills the kitchen with an aroma of herbs as it bakes. Serve it warm with soup, or well buttered with cheese or pate and salad, for a simple lunch. Using dried sage will still give good results.
MAKES 2 SMALL LOAVES
15 g (1/2 oz) fresh yeast or 7.5 ml (1 1/2 tsp) dried
300 ml (1/2 pint) warm fresh milk
1 large onion, skinned and finely chopped
25 g (1 oz) butter
225 g (8 oz) strong white flour
225 g (8 oz) strong wholemeal flour
5 ml (1 tsp) salt
30 ml (2 tbsp) chopped fresh sage or 5 ml (1 tsp) dried
cracked wheat for sprinkling
1. Blend the fresh yeast with the milk. If using dried yeast, sprinkle it into the milk and leave in a warm place for 15 minutes, until frothy.
2. Meanwhile, put the onion and the butter in a small saucepan, cover and cook gently for about 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and transparent but not browned.
3. Put the flours, salt, pepper and sage in a large bowl and mix together. Make a well in the centre, then pour in the softened onion and the butter and the yeast liquid. Beat well together until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl clean.
4. Turn on to a lightly floured surface and knead well for about 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Place in a clean bowl. Cover with a clean tea-towel and leave in a warm place for about 1 hour, until doubled in size.
5. Turn the dough on to a floured surface and knead lightly. Divide into two, shape into rounds and place on a large greased baking sheet.
6. Brush with a little milk and sprinkle with cracked wheat. Cover and leave in a warm place for about 30 minutes, until doubled in size. Bake at 230°C (450°F) mark 8 for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 200°C (400°F) mark 6 and bake for a further 15 minutes. When cooked the loaves will be well risen and golden brown, and sound hollow if tapped on the bottom. Cool slightly and serve warm, or turn on to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.