jilli’s 30-year savoury herb bread 1976

Recipe sharing is my main reasons for writing this baking blog and why I’m enjoying it so much. Thank you for reading and cooking along with me. I’m certain many of you share the same view in the great Recipe Swap Meet of life. A zealous need to type up special recipes, laminate them, carefully file them in recipe holders and then pass on to other foodie friends and family as requested.  

My friend Jilli often shares amazing recipes with me. She creates and presents just baked loaves, cakes and sweet batches of muffins with great flair, whether it be at home with friends or at her Deck Cafe. Jilli’s been making this grain loaf for over 30 years. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. I also hope you have the good fortune of mentors in your life. People who really inspire you in your chosen field.  Someone you can turn to who's always as warm and reliable as a freshly baked loaf on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

Ingredients 2 tablespoons honey ❤ 2 cups lukewarm water, extra if needed ❤ 3 teaspoons (10 grams) dry yeast ❤ 1 kg wholemeal flour (see note below) or 1 kg (ie. approx 1½ packets) of Laucke German Grain Bread Mix available from most supermarkets ❤ 1 medium onion, diced finely ❤ 2 tablespoons of fresh or dried herbs (fresh are really lovely - especially thyme, rosemary & oregano) ❤ 1 teaspoon sea salt & a little freshly cracked pepper ❤ 1 cup cheese, grated + ¼ cup extra, reserved for sprinkling on top of loaves ❤ 1 tablespoon of poppy seeds (or sesame seeds if preferred) to sprinkle on tops

This recipe makes 2 bar sized loaves

Method & Tips - Preheat oven to very, very slow 100°C (230°F). Line two large loaf tins with baking paper or oil well.

Place honey in a medium sized bowl with two cups of warm water and stir to dissolve.  Sprinkle yeast over the top and set aside, covered over in a warm spot to froth up nicely.

Chop and dice onion finely. Chop fresh herbs.  Mix onion, herbs, grated cheese and salt and pepper to the flour in a large bowl. Toss lightly to combine.

Place this flour mixture in your mixer bowl with the dough hook attached.  If you don’t have a mixer, then mixing by hand is perfectly fine too. Mix in the frothed yeast and keep adding a little warm water (perhaps ¼ to ½ cup), just until bread dough comes together and is damp to touch.

Turn out onto a floured surface and smooth over with your hands.  Slice dough in half and shape into two. Rub a little oil over the loaf tops.  Put them into your prepared tins and sprinkle tops with reserved grated cheese. Sprinkle evenly with poppy seeds on top.

Bake in very very slow oven for 20 minutes or until risen and without disturbing the loaves. Then turn your oven up to 180°C (350°F) and cook for a further 70-75 minutes.

Flour Mix - 1kg flour can be all wholemeal or a mix including your favourite grain combination. However I often buy Laucke Bread Mixes for convenience and quality. If you wish to combine your own flours, try using 1 cup of well soaked and rinsed burghul with 2 ½ cups plain white flour, ½ cup wholemeal plain flour and one tablespoon each of linseed and sesame seeds. This is enough four mix for one large grain loaf.

Tip: it’s important to choose a warm (not hot) spot for the yeast to rise. If it’s too hot you’ll kill the yeast. 

A great accompaniment to a bowl of soup.  This bread is fantastic spread with a sweet savoury jam like Tomato & Pineapple or a Maggie Beer Paste like Quince or Spiced Pear. Freezes well and toasts up a treat.