A Simple Summer and a Very Savoury Bread

I’m avoiding my neighbour at the moment.  As the owner of a small business, he doesn’t get many holidays in the year and is, understandably, very envious of my seven weeks of summery freedom.  He has listened jealously to my travel plans every July since I moved in and has almost seemed to live vicariously through my continual jet setting.  Sweden, Finland, Greece, France, Portugal, Denmark: and that’s just the past few years. 

For a long time now, time off for me has meant time travelling in other countries.

This summer, though, things are different.  Not only have I gone no further than the west coast of Scotland during this whole month, I even haven’t missed being in foreign lands.  All I wanted to do this summer was to get a dog and to make that dog as happy and as settled as a creature could be.  I think I’ve done that now and do you know what?  I’ve had the greatest time doing it.

So why the neighbour avoidance?  Well, he thinks I’m wasting my summer and that I should be out there “living it up”.  I don’t know how to explain to him that that’s exactly what I am doing, especially when one of the things that has got me really excited in the past few weeks is learning to bake bread.

Suspect that many of you guys will understand though and so I share with  you my most favouritest ever bread recipe.  Adapted from a recipe in The Greens Cookbook, this deeply savoury loaf has a moist and almost cakey texture.  It makes lovely thick cut sandwiches and superb cheese on toast but D and I can stop eating it with a generous smearing of very garlicky butter. Sublime.

 Cottage Cheese and Oregano Bread

7g fast acting dry yeast

200ml warm water

1 tblspn honey

500g strong white flour

2 tblspns olive oil

1 small onion, very finely chopped

1 medium egg, beaten lightly

75g cottage cheese

1 tblspn dried oregano

1 tblspn salt

Egg wash (beaten egg plus a little milk)

  • Whisk together the yeast, honey and water in a large bowl.
  • Add 150g of the flour and mix hard with a spoon until a smooth batter is formed.  Cover and leave for 45 minutes in a warm place until the batter has doubled in size and is bubbly.
  • While the batter is expanding, fry the onion gently in a little olive oil until just soft.  Leave to cool slightly.
  • Add the onion, cottage cheese, oregano, salt, egg and olive oil to the batter.  Mix gently.
  • Gradually add the sifted flour to the batter, folding steadily, until a thick, stiff-ish dough is formed.  You may not need the entire amount of flour.
  • Turn the dough onto a floured surface and, with well floured hands, begin to knead the bread.  Continue for approx. 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and shiny (it will still be a bit sticky).
  • Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover.  Leave for 45 minutes until dough has doubled in size then punch the dough down (fun).  Repeat process.
  • Punch the dough down a third and final time and place into an oiled loaf tin.  Leave for 20 mins to rise again.
  • Brush the risen dough with egg wash and place in a 180oC fan oven for 50 minutes or a non-fan for 60 mins. Being quite  a dense loaf (hee hee), the bread will not sound hollow when tapped. 
  • Turn onto a wire rack and cool before slicing.

22 thoughts on “A Simple Summer and a Very Savoury Bread

  1. This sounds like a perfect way to spend your summer. Glad you are relishing your parental responsibilities so much!

    I must look out the Greens cookbook as all of the recipes I have heard about from it sound fabulous. I love breads/muffins with cottage cheese in them – they just stay so moist.

    p.s I learnt on the radio this morning that the trendy term is “having a staycation”!

  2. Well, if bringing up a new (furry) baby and making him feel safe and loved isn’t a holiday well spent, I don’t know what is…you’re doing a bloody marvellous job!

    And there is that bread. Yum.

    Will give it a go and report back.

  3. Sophie – Greens is a treasure. There’s not a recipe in it that I don’t want to try.

    Pam – Thank you! :)

    Vancouver – It’s delicious. Do try it out!

    Lucy – Thank you. I’m loving every minute. :) Look forward to that report!

    Arudathi – Done! :)

  4. SNAP!!! I baked bread yesterday – and although I’ve done it before (but not for a long time) I’ve never found it easy before. The result yesterday was a triumph!!! Your recipe sounds delicious – I’ll have to try it!

    A lovely cuddly new dog and freshly baked bread – sounds like you’re having a very relaxing time. It’s probably doing you a power of good!!!

    Celia

  5. i’ve just started to make my own bread. Will bookmark this recipe.

    In terms of holidaying abroad – we always used to go to some foreign lands or another. However, our baby daughter arrived last year which put a halt on this. We did manage a week in France in June, but Im really enjoying just spending the summer at home (despite the weather), exploring parts of Cornwall I have never explored before (despite living here all of my life!)

  6. this bread looks excellent – great texture and lovely shiny crust – I want a piece please!

    why would you want to go travelling when you can be at home with your own bread and your own dog. It would be sad to dislike your home so much that the only way you could enjoy holidays would be to go elsewhere. Your neighbour obviously was looking forward to his summer armchair travel!

  7. Ok the ingredients for this bread are going on next weeks shopping list. And I don’t blame you I would give up a summer abroad for a cute little dog like your Marco. He sure does look happy.

  8. You’re at least living my dream holiday, Wendy – dogs, bread, and – I hope – a bit of sleeping late laziness. I really, really crave a slice of that bread now…

  9. Oh, and I thought I had tried every recipe in the Greens Cookbook! I’m not straying very far this summer, either, and it’s a restful feeling.

  10. Celia – It’s not easy, is it? Feel like I’ve mastered this bread. Need to move on to another type next!

    Beth – You do live in a lovely part of England. There must be a lot to see!

    Johanna – “It would be sad to dislike your home so much that the only way you could enjoy holidays would be to go elsewhere. ” Once again you say something so brilliantly simple and very true. :)

    Pat – Doesn’t seem like a sacrifice at all. :)

    Patricia – At least we can be weirdos together!

    Annemarie – Two out of three, at least. I’m not a late sleeper at all. Just as well – Marco wouldn’t let me! There have been plenty of dog cuddling snoozes on the sofa though…

    Rosa – It’s made with dill rather than oregano in the Greens book. I tried it out with dill and with chives but the oregano version was by far my favourite.

  11. Bread looks fantastic.
    I’ve never done too well with bread baking but am determined to crack it one day – I should probably take it on as a project like you did the wedding cake. I have to confess to being mighty envious of the seven week holiday but I totally agree that sometimes just being at home can sometimes be the very best holiday in the world! Is there actually anything more relaxing?

  12. Antonia – Thank you! I was always crap at it too but this loaf has boosted my confidence and I’m going to take on the bread world now.
    And no, I don’t think there is anything more relaxing. :)

  13. Cookingpanda – Let me know how it goes! :)

    Mallika – Quite possibly. We love it here.

    Lucy – Excellent. It’s done wonders for my baking confidence too. Made cornbread yesterday (which admittedly was very easy) and was sure from the beginning it was going to work out. :)

  14. Well, aren’t some people, some neighbours just… weird, why not concentrate on living their own life, making the most of it, instead of remarking on others and making others’ choices somehow their business… Some people, sigh…

    I think one of the best parts of travelling is that even if it’s great to do it’s also great to feel happy and content when returning home and being able to very much enjoying staying at home too – that “having a staycation” thing that #1 wrote was a great way of putting it! – and staying at home with a new pup or a new cat/litter is a lovely way of spending a holiday!

    Bread looks great too:)

  15. Pia – I loved “staycation” too. And it really has been the best summer. My neighbour is really quite nice though. HE isn’t snide in his remarks: he just has a different view of life. :)

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