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WGR Breadf test 2 30.05.2016 WEB IMAGE

I adore ripe, rich and strong tasting cheeses and not a day goes by without bread being combined with cheese. This loaf takes the passion for both one step closer. It is quick, apart from the 12 hour pre-ferment, mixes in a stand mixer and bakes a few hours later. This formula will make 4 loaves, each about 280g.


20g white 100% hydration starter
90g white flour (Shipton Mill Canadian Organic Strong Bread flour #112)
90g water at about 21 C (Sainsbury’s Basic’s Sparkling Table Water – Greenmoor Spring)

Finial Dough

200g pre-ferment
440g white flour (Shipton Mill Untreated Organic White Flour – No. 4)
10g buckwheat flour (Shipton Mill Organic Buckwheat Flour – Type 416)
280g water at about 21 C (Sainsbury’s Basic’s Sparkling Table Water – Greenmoor Spring)
1.7g instant yeast (Dove’s Farm Instant Yeast)
10g Sicilian sea salt (Trapani Sale di Gucciardo Vincenzo)
100g gorgonzola cheese
100g chopped walnuts
16 individual fresh raspberries.


Twelve hours before you intend to mix the final dough combine the starter, flour and water in a container that can be sealed, fully incorporate, cover and let rest.

Use part of the water to loosen the pre-ferment and transfer to a stand mixing bowl, add the remaining water and stir to break up the pre-ferment. In a separate bowl mix the flours, salt, instant yeast before adding to the pre-ferment and water.

Mix at speed 1 (low speed) for 5 minutes and then at speed 2 (high speed) for 8 minutes.  Turn the mixer back to speed 1 for an additional 2 minutes adding the chopped walnuts at this stage to incorporate.

Place all the dough on a floured work surface and shape into a ball. Cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

WGR DOUGH BALL web image

Divide the dough into 4 pieces each approximately 280g and pat down into a rectangle before rolling into a small log. Leave to rest for 15 minutes.

Slice the gorgonzola into thin slices and divide each raspberry into half.

One at a time flatten the logs and place cheese slices on the top of the flattened roll and then place the halved raspberries on top of the cheese before folding one third of the dough towards the centre and pressing along the seam with your fingertips. Rotate the roll 108 degree. Fold one half on top of the other and seal the edges together. Finally shape into an 18 – 20 cm pointed roll.

Place all the shaped loves unto a well-floured linen baker’s cloth, seams on top. Cover with the rest of the cloth and then gently wrap in cling film and leave to proof for 1 hour. Use a flipping board to transfer to a well-floured baker’s peel, seam side now down, score with a lame and bake.

Bake in an ordinary over at 250 C, adding moisture via a method you prefer, for 15 to 18 minutes.

If using a Miele Moisture Plus oven bake at 230 C for 15 to 18 minutes with two bursts of steam at start and again after 10 minutes.

Be prepared for the cheese to melt and ooze out of the crust. Especially if you add five raspberries per bread rather than just four. When they have fully cooled try a slice but be careful this is so yummy a few more will quickly follow. I love putting some turkey ham between two slices.

wgr two by side 30.05.2016 WEB


Dog Kennel Hill Wild Meadow

White dead-nettle in Dog Kennel Hill meadow 11.05.2014

White dead-nettle in Dog Kennel Hill meadow 11.05.2014

Great walk led by wildlife conservationist Daniel Greenwood yesterday (10.05.2014) starting in Dog Kennel Hill Wood and then onto wild Greendale.  On the way back we took a look at the Dog Kennel Hill Meadow and Daniel named a few plants for me.  Turns out those nettles that do not sting are called dead-nettles.  He pointed out White dead-nettle which we have in abundance in the woodland borders and the meadow.  I immediately recalled a similar oddity with bright yellow rather than white or red flowers.  Daniel informs that that would be Yellow archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon).

All of these are Mints.  Yes, I was surprised when later in the day I looked this all up in the book my mother had given me on wild flowers (Field Guide to The Wild Flowers of Britain, Reader’s Digest 1981).

Nettles, those childhood stingers, are part of the English name for a plant with stinging hairs, particularly those of the genus Urtica.  There are quite a few so named and even Cnidoscolus texanus, the Texas bull nettle.  Not sure what that would sting like. However, the name is also used for dead nettle, blind-nettle or dumb nettle.  They don’t sting thus the names are clear in intent.  The Common nettle (Urtica dioica) causes stings when touched with the top of each hair on the stem breaking off and releasing an acid which causes a painful rash.

Bane and friend this plant has been both an instrument of torture and used for cloth, food and medicine.  Fabric made from nettle stems dates back to the Bronze age and seems to have been used for both table cloths and bed-linen, even until quite recently.

I am looking forward to when we can get some Yellow archangel established as dead or dumb-nettles are a common feature of waste and cultivated land and yellow archangel a much rarer plant of woodlands and hedgerows.

September 29th is the day traditionally dedicated to the Archangel Michael and all of these related plants are still in flower at this time.  White dead-nettle (Lamium album) and Red dead-nettle (Lamium purpureum) for this reason are also known as Red and White archangel.  There is a magic in any close examination of the flower and great wings of an archangel can be imagined with ease.

White dead-nettle

White archangel

Bees love dead-nettle as they find a copious supply of nectar at the bottom of the flower tube.  Indeed, this plant is a most important food plant of bees, particularly early in the year, before most other nectar-producing plants flower.

Early on red and white dead-nettle are very similar in appearance but when the flowers appear there is no mistaking which is which.  Both were used boiled and eaten as pot-herb and had a range of medicinal uses. Two other dead-nettles are to be found in England.  Henbit dead-nettle (Lamius amplexicaule) and Spotted dead-nettle (Lamium maculatum).

Mints have fun names – Gipsywort, Water mint, Corn mint, Marjoram, Wild thyme, Basil thyme, Will basil, Wild clary, Selfheal, Black horehound, Hedge woundwort, Hemp-nettle, Skullcap, Wood sage, Bugle and Ground-ivy.  This last like the true ivy remains green all the year and until the introduction of hops in the 16th century was a vital ingredient in brewing ale.  In Yorkshire and the West Country this use is recalled in the name “alehoof”.  Gill-ale and gill-tea was sold in London by street vendors as a cold and cough cure. In my gifted book pages 210 and 211 show Common nettle and Hop (Humulus lupulus) side by side.

Another noted discovery was of large amounts of Green alkanet.  For years this has always been identified to me as Borage.  Thanks to my new boon companion of a book it was clear this common mistake needed correction.

Green alkanet [11.05.2014] DKH woodland

Borage (Borago officinalis) flowers have narrow pointed petals and conspicuous black stamens.  Green alkanet (Pentaglotiss sempervirens) has five blue rounded petals and the whole flower is funnel-shaped with a center of five white scales.