by eat in my kitchen
Here’s the saffron bread I promised!
Let’s start with the texture, it’s juicy but light, a quality I love of all of my bread recipes, be it my Zucchini Bread, the Olive Loaf or my Potato Bread, but this one has a special aroma. It’s made with one of the most precious and expensive spices, dried saffron threads. Only a very small part of the saffron crocus’ flower is used for the production of this red spice, the three crimson stigmas growing at the end of the carpel. Lots of flowers, 150 – 200, are necessary to produce 1 gram of this treasure! Luckily, its aroma is so intense that a tiny amount is enough to refine other ingredients with its flavour.
For my bread made of a bit more than a pound of flour I used a pinch of saffron threads (around 1/5 teaspoon) to spread their unique taste. At first I was a bit worried that it wouldn’t be strong enough for yesterday’s sandwich, the Greek feta dip mixed with harissa and cayenne pepper had quite an impact of different flavours. To my surprise, the hot spiciness and the saffron complemented each other perfectly! It was a Greek reunion as antique mythology tells that the Greek God Zeus used to sleep on a bed covered in saffron.
For 1 big loaf of bread you need
plain flour 550g / 19 ounces
yeast 1 package for 500g / 1 pound of flour
salt 1 1/2 teaspoons
water, lukewarm, 230ml / 8 ounces
olive oil 4 tablespoons
a pinch of saffron threads (around 1/5 teaspoon)
Mix the saffron with 3 teaspoons of the water.
In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients, add the olive oil, saffron liquid and the rest of the water and mix with your dough hooks for 5 minutes until well combined. Continue kneading with your hands for around 5 minutes until you have an elastic dough ball. Put the dough back into the bowl and cover with a tea towel. Let the dough rise in a 35°C / 95°F warm ( top / bottom heat, no fan!) oven for 60 minutes.
Take the dough out, punch it down and knead for 1 minute. Form 1 long loaf and put on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with a tea towel and let it rise for 25 minutes in a warm place.
Set the oven to 225°C / 440°F.
Cut 4 diagonal slashes into the bread and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through. If you’re not sure if it’s done turn the bread around and knock on its underside, it should sound hollow. Let it cool for a couple minutes on a wire rack covered with a tea towel to soften the crust a bit.