There are few things more pleasurable than the aroma and taste of freshly cooked home-made bread. These flower pot loaves are flavored with fresh chives, sage, parsley and garlic. You can use any selection of your favorite herbs. These are the most visually stunning breads and the are perfect for entertaining.
Garlic Bread with Fresh Herbs Baked in Flower Pots
- 1 cup (115g) wholemeal (whole-wheat) bread flour
- 3 cups (350g) unbleached white bread flour
- 1 ½ tsp (7.5ml) salt
- ½ oz (15g) fresh yeast (or 1 Tbsp. dry yeast)
- ⅔ cup (150ml) lukewarm milk
- ½ cup (120ml) lukewarm water
- 4 Tbsp. (50g) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tsp chopped fresh sage
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- Beaten egg, for glazing
- Fennel seeds, for sprinkling (optional)
Lightly grease three clay flower pots. Sift the flowers and salt together into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Blend the yeast with a little of the milk until smooth, then stir in the remaining milk. Pour the yeast liquid into the centre of the flower and sprinkle over a little of the flour from around the edge. Cover the bowl and leave in a warm place for 15 minutes.
Add the water, melted butter, herbs and garlic to the flour mixture and blend together to form a dough. Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. (I used electric mixer with a dough hook.)
Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with lightly oiled clear film (plastic wrap) and leave in a warm place, for 1¼-1½ hours, or until doubled in bulk.
Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and knock back (punch down). Divide in three. Shape and fit into the prepared flower pots. They should about half fill the pots. Cover with oiled clear film and leave to rise for 30-45 minutes, in a warm place, or until the dough is 1in (2.5cm) from the top of the pots.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400F/200C. Brush the tops with beaten egg and sprinkle with fennel seeds, if using. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden. Turn out on to a wire rack to cool.
Makes 3 loaves. To prepare and seal new clay flower pots, clean them thoroughly, oil them inside and outside and bake them three or four times. Preheat the oven to about 400F/200C and bake for 30-40 minutes. Try to do this while you are baking other foods. You need three flower pots 4 1/2 inch in diameter and 5 1/2 inch in high.