With the little bit of heat we have greatly received over the last couple of days, all sorts of wild green plants have sprung to life, including stinging nettles. What was lying dormant as small shoots, have all at once shot up 30 cm in just a few days. I find springtime incredible, and if you are lucky enough to have a garden to view every day, you can really notice the fast pace at which the vegetation grows. Instead of mowing down your nettle patch, try using them in your cooking! Here I have created a recipe using a few handfuls of nettles added to bread dough. Its delicious, and nutritious!
Makes 6 large sandwich rolls
1 tsp easy bake yeast
500g organic shipton mill strong white flour
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
a big handful of scolded and chopped nettles
350ml luke warm water
6 extra big nettle leaves for the top
Start by harvesting your stinging nettles, with gloves on. Once home, pour a kettle of boiling water over the nettle leaves to remove the sting, then drain. Select 6 big leaves for the top and set aside, then chop the remaining nettles, discarding the stems.
In a large bowl mix together the flour, salt and yeast. Then add the water, honey and oil. Add the chopped nettles, mix well to form a soft dough. Turn out on a floured surface and knead for 10 min by hand until the dough is smooth and elastic. Drizzle a little olive oil into a bowl, pop the dough in, cover and leave to rise in a warm spot for 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
When risen, divide the dough into 6 balls and place on a greased baking tray. Cover with a tea-towel and leave to rise for an additional 45 min. Once risen brush with the beaten egg, place a nettle leaf on top of each roll, and brush with the egg again.
In a preheated oven at 220 °c / fan 200°c / gas 6, bake for 35 min, until golden. The rolls are ready when they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.