Spinach and Persian Feta Loaf

They say “Necessity is the mother of invention.” (author unknown, but often linked to Plato) and this recipe was certainly born out of a lack of ingredients and the need for a delicious morsel to accompany my soup (along with the need to use up the last few silverbeet leaves before they went bad).

I had given up on bread. I had tried my hand more times than I could count at making gluten free bread, and had failed miserably every time.
So, I hit the internet and went searching for gluten free bread recipes that might make some fluffy and delicious savoury bread loaves. That was when I came across Lisa’s Soft Gluten Free Sandwich Bread recipe on the ‘A Day in the Kitchen‘ website.
So, I made plans to get the ingredients and whip up a batch of this amazing looking bread to accompany our soup for dinners during the week.

Well, as life is want to do, things really didn’t go as planned… My back went into spasm and the fatigue element of my SLE (lupus) went into overdrive, leaving me house bound and ingredient limited.
Necessity quickly became the mother of invention, at least my invention, as I searched the pantry and fridge for ingredients.
“Tapioca flour, check…. brown rice flour, check…. sorghum, nope…. flax seed, nope…. sunflower seeds, nope….” things were not looking good.

So, what do you do when things don’t seem to go your way…. you adapt… and so I did.
I could see a container of pre-cut silverbeet, alongside half a container of Persian feta, both waiting patiently in the bottom of the fridge and I thought, ‘why not.’

I quickly threw some onion, garlic and the silverbeet in a fry pan with some oil and sautéd until wilted. Mixed in some feta and dill infused oil, and voila, the seed mix and topping was quickly replaced with a new savoury element.
I subbed out the flours I didn’t have, adding extras of those I did and omitted some ingredients altogether.
I threw everything together in the bread tin, then left it to rise (giving me the much needed opportunity to nap!).
Then it was simply bake and wait… And I can tell you, it was certainly worth the wait!

Now, I’m not going to pretend this has the consistency of ‘real’ bread, as that would be a complete lie. But, I will say, this was delicious dunked in soup, eaten freshly baked (after cooled for 45 minutes or so) and also toasted in the sandwich press the next day and smothered in butter.
I do hope you try it and love it as much as I do!

SPINACH AND PERSIAN FETA LOAF
Ingredients
Batter:

220g tapioca flour
175g brown rice flour
1 tbsp xanthan gum
1 tbsp dried yeast
1 1/4 cups milk, luke warm
3 eggs
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp honey

Topping/Swirl:
1 shallot, sliced
8 silverbeet leaves, deveined and shredded
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp dill infused oil
75g Persian feta
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Method:
1. In a fry pan add olive oil, sliced shallot and garlic. Sauté until onions start to soften and become translucent. Add shredded silverbeet leaves and continue to sauté
until they begin to soften and break down.
2. Take off the heat and add dill infused oil, Persian feta, salt and pepper and mix until well combined. Set aside and leave to cool.
3. In a large bowl combine tapioca flour, rice flour, xanthan gum and dry yeast. Mix until evenly distributed.
4. In a separate bowl add luke warm milk, olive oil, honey and eggs and whisk until well combined.
5. Add the liquids to the bowl of dry ingredients and mix until well combined. This mixture will not be a traditional bread mixture, it will be more like a thick cake batter.
6. Line a bread tin with baking paper and spoon in dollops of batter until you have created a loaf like shape in the bread pan.
7. Using your fingers, make gaps in the batter/dough and pour portions of the cooled silverbeet mixture in, pressing the mixture into the dough as evenly as possible.
8. Cover the bread tin with cling wrap and leave in a warm, draft free place for 1 hour to rise (the time and rise will be dependent on the yeast you use and the temperature of the room – just keep an eye on it).
9. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
10.After it has had time to rise, take the cling wrap off the bread tin and place tin foil over the bread (allowing room for the loaf to rise) and place the bread in the oven.
11. Bake with the foil covering the bread for 45 minutes, then remove the foil and continue to bake for a further 20 minutes.
12. Remove the bread from the oven and leave to cool in the bread tin for at least 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, move the bread out of the tin and leave to cool completely on a cooling rack.

**The dough will rise more while cooking, but will drop a little when taken out of the oven. I have also found that if I go longer than one hour for the rise time, the dough over proves and shrinks back a little more when taken out of the oven.

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