Enjoy this quick bread with a fish meal and a crisp green salad, or a hearty winter soup.
Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and pepper into a large mixing bowl. Add softened butter, thyme and rosemary. Using your fingertips, rub butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Make a large well in the centre, then slowly add milk. Using your hands, gently combine the ingredients. Take care not to over-mix.
Once dough is almost combined, with some wet and floury patches still showing, add sweet potato, beetroot, feta cheese and Caramelised Garlic. Gently fold into mixture to form a dough mass. Take care not to over-mix otherwise the bread will be tough.
Tip dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide into two equal parts and very lightly shape each piece into an oblong shape with the smoother side facing upwards.
Place each dough piece onto a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Using the palm of your hand, gently flatten each piece until it is approximately 3cm thick. Lightly dust with flour and press cherry tomato halves and rosemary sprigs into the dough surface.
Using a large knife or metal scraper, cut a trellis pattern into each dough piece, taking care not to cut it all the way through. Leave to rest in a cool place for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 220°C.
Place dough pieces on their baking tray in the preheated oven and bake for 25–30 minutes. Do not over-bake as this will result in a dry loaf. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
In a saucepan of boiling water, blanch garlic for 2 minutes. Refresh in cold water, peel and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a heavy frying pan over a medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add garlic and saute for 1 minute, taking care not to let cloves burn.
Add water and balsamic vinegar and as the mixture bubbles, add sugar, salt, pepper and rosemary.
Reduce the heat to its lowest setting and simmer for 3–4 minutes until a syrup is formed and garlic is soft.
Transfer to a bowl and cool until needed. This will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Reproduced with permission from Baked by Dean Brettschneider. Published by Penguin Group NZ. RRP $45.00. Copyright © 2013 Marshall Cavendish International (Asia) Pty Ltd.
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