blackberry basil bread

there is a smart saying that goes something like this: pick your battles wisely. every day means you experience things that go against what feels right to you. you could, of course, attack every negative little point and try to turn it into something positive. but, alas, you’ll soon find your energy isn’t sufficient. normally, i’m pretty good ad rationalizing my energy levels. i try to only invest negative emotions when there is absolutely no way around it. sometimes, though, to stand up for yourself, to pick a battle, to speak your mind and to be ‘uncomfortable’ for others, i.e. by telling the uncomfortable truth, is healing. it heals you from the inside out to be true to yourself. i’d encourage you (and myself, as well, on future occasions when i don’t feel as brave as i do today) to be bold, to speak your mind and to not give a damn. sometimes, you need to fight to achieve a little peace and quiet. and i suggest you go about the peace with a margaritha or something equally slurptastic. 
blackberry basil bread
inspired by my fellow blogger the vanilla bean blog and the recipe is adapted from nigel slater


450g white flour
20 g fresh yeast
1 bunch basil, finely chopped
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp sugar
350ml warm water
250g blackberries (i used half frozen and half fresh ones)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp coarse sugar
put the flour in a large bowl, add the sea salt. dissolve the yeast in a part of the warm water, add the sugar to the yeast water. let sit for a while until “foam” develops, meaning the yeast starts to work. make a well in the flour, then pour the yeast into it. let sit again for about 10 minutes. now begin to mix with a wooden spoon, then turn the dough out on to a generously floured work surface. knead the dough lightly for five minutes or so. you need not be too enthusiastic; a gentle pummelling will suffice.
once the dough feels elastic and ‘alive’, put it into a floured bowl, cover with a clean cloth or clingfilm, then put it somewhere warm to rise (or, if overnight, in the fridge). it will take approximately an hour to double in size. once it has, then punch it down again, knocking some of the air out. now add the finely chopped basil leaves to the dough. add half the blackberries and gently knead in as well. roll it out or flatten it with your fingers (worked for me), place on a baking sheet. scatter the rest of the blackberries on top and press firm a bit. let rise again for 10 minutes. in the meantime, preheat the oven to 220c / 430 f.  drizzle over the olive oil, scatter with the remaining coarse sugar and bake for 35-40 minutes till well-risen, golden brown and crisp on top. It should feel springy when pressed. note: i tend to overbake bread and am then always disappointed… so i’m always going with a shorter baking time than indicated. though it depends on the size and height of your bread of course. cut into thick wedges and eat while it is still warm. 
oh, i suggest you take it out to a picnic with you and someone you really, really love. maybe there is margaritha, too. i’ll have a watermelon one, please. thank you.
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