If you are a follower of Sun temple, you will know that I was part of a family re-union in Trinidad recently. The first 2 nights were just the girl cousins, so Mark met me after that and we flew to Tobago for 5 glorious days at the holiday home of Colleen’s family. Look at that view!!! It looks directly over Bucco reef which you can see in the distance and is a home built on love and where the generations of my cousins continue to spend languid, happy holidays. In the first photo above, you can just make out a swimming pool. Remember I said in an earlier post that my niece Thalia was going to teach me to swim for the next Tri?? This means I don’t know how to swim properly. I know how not to sink. Anyway, as we arrive, Ron my cousin Roslyn’s husband, tells me that there is a benchmark of 100 laps set. I’ll own up right now….I am very competitive. If a challenge is issued and there is a chance I can do it, I will try. Suffice it to say, I rose to the challenge and surpassed it achieving the current record of best time. Ron however holds the title of most laps. The most important thing is I learned I quite like it, and its great exercise, so bring it on Tally.
The reason this bread was made is because the local bakery makes a melt in your mouth, soft and squishy carrot bread, which was unavailable for some reason the day we went. You know I wouldn’t be making a pagan thing, so this version is beautifully pull apart delicious but has a nutty flavour from the spelt and is really good for your temple. The GI is somewhere in the middle so perfect for mixing in as your main carb element of a meal. I can hear some of you dismissing making this bread straight out of hand. Don’t! Bread is really easy, if a bit time consuming, and oh so forgiving. What I mean is you don’t have to handle it gently. In fact quite the opposite. Those gluten fibres love a bit of roughing up and in fact need it to develop properly. It is also hugely tactile and reminiscent of play dough or plasticine (depending on your age). I actually thought of including a photo of me kneading this dough, but I was in a swimsuit having just swam my laps and frankly it was a bit TMI.
Makes 12 rolls / Tobago Bread Recipe
1 large or 2 medium carrots grated
454 g (1 lb or roughly 3 cups) wholegrain spelt (mine was also organic) plus some more for dusting
300 ml (10 oz or 1 USA cup) water
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp brown sugar (or honey)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 heaped tsp active dried yeast
a small handful of raw almonds roughly chopped
1 egg beaten with a little water for glaze
Plonk all the ingredients into a roomy bowl and get stuck in. At this stage all you need to do is bring the ingredients together into a lump. Once you’ve done that and be aware that it is quite sticky, tip out onto a clean surface which you have liberally dusted with more flour. My best advice would be to look at a YouTube video of “kneading bread dough” if you have never done it before. There’s no real right or wrong way. Its simply about agitating the dough until it becomes smooth and beautiful as in the photo below. This will take about 15 to 20 minutes.
Place the well loved dough back into the same bowl you mixed it in. No need to wash it out. Then with some olive oil on your hands, gently caress its surface to stop it drying out during the next phase. Cover with cling film making sure there is a lot of room for growth and place in a warm, draft free place until it is double (yes double) in size.
The photo below is of my aunt Rose Marie who I learned this trip designed this beautiful house. She could definitely have been an architect given the right circumstances. She is my mother’s identical twin sister. They are very alike. Their progression of the hair on their heads turning grey even followed the same pattern.
Aunty Rose was my sous chef on this project. Once your dough has doubled in size, you “punch it down”….. literally. I know this seems counter intuitive, but you must do this to achieve glory. Punch out all the air bubbles and bring your dough back to starting position. Cut it into 12 portions. Roll each one into a snake as per the photo above, and “tie” each one into a little knot. We didn’t have a pastry brush in Tobago, so I used my fingers, but brush each roll with a little of the egg glaze. Sprinkle on the chopped almonds.
Place (with a bit of room between each one) on a greased baking tray and set aside a second time to double in size. This time is quicker, probably only about an hour, because the yeast you put in has got all friendly and excited and has a lot to say. Don’t think that letting your dough grow bigger than double is a good thing. Its not, as the end result will not have good structure. Less is more people.
Heat the oven to 180ºC (350°F) and cook until nicely bronzed (about 20 mins depending on your oven). Look at that beauty below.
We ate ours with lunch as an accompaniment to accra (Salt fish cakes. Recipe coming soon) and supported by a lovely green salad.