Holy swirly bread! We are going through a baking phase and when the oven is on, it's all about bread making. The swirls in this herbed bread look incredible and might make you think... too difficult. But wait! Before you run away, I promise this is a lot easier done than it looks. I will tell you all about it, step by step. And the beauty of it? You can replace the herbed bread filling with whatever your heart desires.
How did it all start? I had a jar of harissa in the fridge and realised it will go off in a couple of days. I don't like throwing away food unless strictly necessary, so I utilise every little bit of it. 'even if sometimes means coming up with a crazy twisted (get the joke?!) new recipe. Meet our new vegan herbed recipe.
So, harissa in the fridge. It sat Saturday night. Since we live in Germany, we are yet to get used to the idea that no shop is open on Sunday. And honestly, sometimes this means we need to bake our bread in the morning to have freshly baked bread for brunch. It's a fun exercise at least, so sometimes we just kinda forget to buy bread on purpose...just to have fun in the kitchen. But what to do with the harissa. My husband suggested that we make rolls and we use it as a spread and make burgers with millet patties. Good idea, but I wasn't convinced. I wanted to incorporate the harissa into my bread.
Then it got to me, what if we make vegan soft bread with oat milk and sort of mix the harissa with tomato paste to make it milder and create swirls. The idea was good. I liked it. But as I started playing with the dough, I started thinking less of the swirls and more of twisted breads. But not just one nice twist, but several to create that nice intricate pattern when you cut into your bread. Ok, I was getting excited.
Just one thing. My husband doesn't love a looot of spice. He can deal with a bit of chilli but he knows I love my food extra spicy. To tune it down a bit, I decided to add a lot of herb to the bread. The herbed bread will definitely appeal to him and the spicy kick will make it into this perfectly balanced loaf. I was right. It worked really well. We used the herbed bread with hummus and with our new favourite sundried tomato dip.
Alright herbed bread, let us give you a try. This doesn't always happen, but sometimes you just create this perfect recipe right from the start. It's like the universe is aligned just for you. I absolutely love it when it happens. But then, the alchemy of cooking is a fun art and science to play with. So, baking the perfect herbed bread. What's the secret? Honestly? The oat milk. It gave it this perfect texture, sort of cakey and with the spread and the herbs it just tasted divine. Because of the way the swirls are, some of the spread is also on top of the bread so it crusts up really nicely. I love that crispiness when you take the first bite. Ok, I'm officially addicted to baking bread.
How to make herbed bread?
Making the herbed bread is very similar to the technique of making any vegan dough. To get a softer consistency, add oat milk to the recipe. So instead of water, use oat milk.
To make the herbed bread collect all your ingredients. You can use the harissa and the tomato paste to create the filling. Add the herbs. I added a generous amount of thyme, parsley and oregano. You can add more herbs to the recipe, it's not a problem.
The most important part is to warm up the oat milk and add the sugar to it. Mix it well until it's fully dissolved then sprinkle the yeast on top of the sugary oat milk. Let it sit for 10 minutes or so until the top becomes visible frothy. That's your yeast activated thanks to the sugars in the oat milk.
Now, the flour (note I'm using all-purpose flour so the result is cakey and not very bready and strong) should be mixed with the salt and the vegan butter. If you don't have vegan butter you can use vegetable margarine. It works just fine. Mix well with your fingers. Basically you should have a clumpy flour. Now add the yeast mixture and with your hands start kneading the dough. When it binds a little better you can add it to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 8 minutes. The result should be a silky smooth dough.
Make it into a ball, transfer it to a lightly floured bowl and let it sit for 40 minutes or until doubled in size. When ready, transfer it to a lightly floured surface and knead it a little to knock out the air from the dough. Roll it with a rolling pin into a 40 x 30 cm rectangle. This is when the fun really begins.
How to make the perfect swirls?
Right, so here's how to make the perfect swirly herbed bread. Spread the herby paste onto your rectangle then with a knife, cut it in half, lengthways.
Roll each half tightly into a log. Now using a knife, cut both rolled logs in half, lengthways. You should now have four long logs with the filling exposed. Working two logs at the time, pinch their ends together, then twist each log over the other to create a twist. Repeat with the other two logs.
The result should be two twisted logs. Now pinch the ends of the logs together, and twist one over the other. So you have basically created a double twist, making it look really fun and intricate. And that's it. Cover it and let it proof for another 30 minutes until doubled in size. When ready, brush with a little milk and bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Ready to try the herbed bread? Let me know what you think in the comments section below.
This recipe has been developed entirely by Yuzu Bakes. Any resemblance with other recipes is purely coincidental.