Cakes & Bakes: Nettle loaf

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home-made nettle loaf

Foraging season is upon us again. A fortnight ago I made a batch of wild garlic butter. This week, the stinging nettles are just right for picking. We had a patch in a corner of our allotment that was looking lush and healthy. It’s now had a little pruning session – and is the star ingredient in a nettle loaf.

basic bread dough

Don’t forget, if you’re going to try this recipe, take a pair of gloves and only pick the tips and first two leaves – much like tea-picking, I reckon!

nettle leaves lining a banneton

The nettles make for a rustic, flavoursome and attractive loaf.

bread dough proving and nettle leaves lining a banneton

I’ve used a basic white loaf recipe; but a half & half mixture of white and wholemeal will enhance the earthy, nutty flavour of the nettles. And nettles are SO good for you

kneading nettle leaves into dough wearing kitchen gloves

Click here to pin this recipe for later!

Nettle loaf
Yields 1
Cook Time
35 min
Cook Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 5g/⅙oz active dried yeast
  2. 300ml/10.5 fl oz warm water
  3. 500g/18oz plain flour
  4. 10g/⅓oz salt
  5. handful of nettle leavesNettle loaf ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Add the yeast to the water and stir to remove any lumps. Add a teaspoon of sugar (optional) to help it along if the yeast is a bit old. Set aside for 15 minutes until it forms a foam
  2. In a colander, rinse & drain the nettle leaves removing any thick stalks. Set aside 4 or 5 of the leaves before roughly ripping the remainder
  3. Add the flour to a large mixing bowl and make a well in the middle
  4. Pour the yeast liquid into the well in the flour
  5. Bring the flour into the centre and combine
  6. Add the salt to the dough and knead to form a ball
  7. On a lightly floured work surface, knead the dough for 10-15 minutes
  8. Put the dough back into the bowl, cover with clingfilm and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about an hour)
  9. Lay the reserved nettle leaves, smooth side down, into a well-floured banneton if you have one. If not, lay them into a well-greased loaf tin
  10. Once proved, empty the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface and knead in the nettles (this is best done wearing a pair of clean rubber gloves)
  11. Form the dough into a ball and place into the banneton (or oblong if using a loaf tin)
  12. Put the banneton/loaf tin into the large mixing bowl and cover with clingfilm and leave to prove, again until doubled in size, in a warm place
  13. Preheat the oven to 240ºC/465ºF/Gas mark 9, put an empty roasting dish on the bottom shelf of the oven and fill a cup with cold water and set aside
  14. Once the loaf has risen, if using a banneton, grease a baking sheet and gently decant the loaf on to it, trying not to knock any air out of it
  15. Quickly & carefully pour the cup of water into the roasting dish before putting the loaf into the oven
  16. After 10 minutes, turn the oven down to 200ºC/ 400ºF/Gas mark 6
  17. Bake for a further 20-25 minutes before taking it out of the oven
  18. Leave to cool on a wire rack for at least half an hour before use
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