Spinach raisin spiral bread

Spinach spiral bread

Wouldn’t it be nice to stuff everything you love in a spiral of rich pastry, so you can peel apart the layers and discover it as you go along?

Let’s see…there are several advantages to baking things in spiral rolls/bread/cookies. 1) they’re superlatively fun to eat. 2) the flavors are nicely distributed in lovely layers 3) You generally have a nice contrast of mild taste and texture with more intense fillings, which is really what it’s all about!

This bread pits a rich sort of herbed dough against a tasty filling of spinach, garlic, mozzarella and goat cheese with just a touch of sweetness from the raisins. And everybody’s a winner!

I dreamed this up whilst standing on a slope of snow. My little ones were red-cheeked, hot, and happy, flying down, climbing back up, flying down again. My toes were so cold I thought they’d never move again. Baking this warmed me right up!

Here’s Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s Two Little Fishes and Five Loaves of Bread. I didn’t actually make 5 loaves, of course, and I’ll certainly never eat 2 little fishes, being a vegetarian, but it’s a killer song!
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Flavored flat breads

flavored flat breads

Once upon a time, I was scared to experiment with yeasted dough. I believed that if you didn’t follow the recipe exactly (resting time, kneading time, temperatures, rising time, oh my!) The whole project would fall flat. Well, it turns out that’s not exactly true. And now I have a lot of fun trying out different sorts of breads and yeasted crusts. It doesn’t always work, of course – it’s all part of the learning process.

One revelation for me, was that you don’t have to use the whole small packet of yeast in every recipe! It’s true! I like yeast to do its magical job in raising my dough, but I don’t want to taste the yeast. So I use less. Which also means that you don’t have to use pounds and pounds of flour.

These flatbreads are crispy on the outside and light and layered on the inside. You can flavor them with anything you like. I did one with herbed butter and green peppercorns. And for the other I used smoked gouda and sage. But you can use any combination of herbs and spices that you like. You could use finely chopped nuts. You could use most cheeses. You could add olives or capers. You don’t want anything too bulky, because you’re going to incorporate the flavoring element between layers, and try to roll it out as thin as you can. (Hence making the flatbread flat!). We had these with a bowl of soup, but they’d be good with pasta, or any sort of stew. Or cut into slices as an appetizer. Like all yeasted things, they took quite a few hours, but they don’t need too much attention.

Here’s Blind Willie McTell with This is Not the Stove to Brown Your Bread. I love this song!
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