01 January 2011

Happy New Year & Crusty Flat Bread

One Tree Hill, Auckland NZ

And here we are at the dawning of another new year, and what a glorious morning it was.  What a year 2010 was.  Highlights for me...so many, it really was a great year...reconnecting with old friends, making new friends, Rarotonga, Supper Club, Underground Supper Clubs and Secret Underground Tea Parties, lots of fun and interesting cooking classes, Mission Estate Concert, many lovely weekend road trips, an idyllic yoga retreat at Mana, a fabulous few weeks with Mum and Dad when they came to NZ, a wonderful weekend in the coolest little capital in the world with eating at Martin Bosley's, Logan Brown and my favourite Floriditas, a fun filled Christmas in Te Puke, Hogmanay Cardwell style, getting an ice cream maker and of course entering the blogosphere with Toast and becoming even more food obsessed and the pleasure of meeting other food obsessed individuals.  Thanks to you all for visiting Toast and I look forward to sharing more culinary exploits in 2011.

It being the New Year I have decided to aim for a somewhat healthy January, off the vino, in search of lots of fresh, healthy and tasty salad inspiration and a some serious exercise to burn off all the excess of the last few weeks.  That is the plan any way!  So if you're looking for healthy, but most importantly tasty food watch this space as January is going to be salad month.

But before January, being Scottish had to celebrate Hogmanay!

Being a lover of all sorts of bread for a while now I have been wanting to try my hand at bread making.  However yeast, and the proving, fingers crossed it all rises and the kneading have all seemed terribly daunting.  With the 20011 fast approaching time to conquer my fears.  I had seen Annabel Langbein make this one on the Free Range Cook and lucky me was given the cook book as a gift, thanks Mum and Dad.  With Hogmanay celebrations to bring in 2011 some homemade crusty flat bread would be the perfect accompaniment for the ham and coleslaw so time to venture forth in to bread making.

And it worked a treat! Light and tasty with the fragrant rosemary and crunchy sea salt.

Crusty Flat Bread, courtesy of Annabel Langbein - The Free Range Cook


Makes 2 large loaves

Crusty flat bread dough

1 1/2 cups warm, not hot, water
1 1/2 tsp dry yeast granules
1 packed cup cooked mashed potato
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 1/2 cups high grade flour, plus extra for kneading
2 tsp salt


1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 tsp sea salt


Place the warm water in a large mixing bowl.  Sprinkle yeast over the water and allow to stand for 2 minutes.  Mix in the mashed potato and the olive oil. Stir in the flour and salt and mix until the dough just starts to come away from the sides of the bowl.  Note it is a quite a wet dough so don't be tempted to add more flour.

Turn the dough on to a lightly floured board and using lightly oiled hands knead about 30 times.  Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl.  Cover with muslin or a tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 3-4 hours or until it has doubled in bulk.  You can also leave it in the fridge, covered to rise slowly over night.

When you are ready to cook your bread, Annabel uses a baking stone that is put in to a on oven pre heated to 220C.  I don't have one so I just placed on a baking tray lined with the baking papers, and it all worked out fine.  Turn the risen dough on to a lightly floured board, divide in half and shape each half into a ball.  Roughly flatten one ball on to a tray lined with baking paper, pressing the dough out an oval shape about 20 x 25 cm.  Use your fingertips to press dimples in to the top of the loaf, then drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the rosemary and sea salt.

Slide the baking paper with the dough on it off the tray and on to the pre heated baking stone, if you have one.  If not just pop the baking tray straight in to the oven.  Bake for about 25 minutes until golden.  When cooked the bread will sound hollow when you tap it.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes and then transfer to a rack to cool. 

Repeat with the other ball of dough.  If you want to save the second ball of dough to use later, place it in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean cloth and place in the fridge for up to 48 hours.  It also freezes well.  Just thaw fully before pressing out and baking.

It truly is a great recipe and turned out just as it should.  Went down a treat with everyone that tried it.  The rosemary and the salt mean it is full of flavour.

It also makes for a fabulous sandwich for lunch.  I spread it with a little smoked paprika mayo.  Simply mayo with some smoked paprika stirred in, as much or as little as you like.  Personally I love the stuff.  Add a few crisp cos or romaine leaves, some strips of roasted pepper, a little slow cooked and caramelised onion and a few strips of grill medium rare rump steak.  Crunch of the lettuce, juicy steak, sweet peppers and onion all brought together with the smoked paprika mayo, which is what really makes this sandwich.

If the beautiful morning we had here in Auckland is anything to go by it is most definitely going to be a good one...bring it on!


  1. Happy New Year! The bread looks fab, well done and what great pics, here is to a good 2011:) xx

  2. Happy 2011 PK! Here's to lots of culinary exploits for 2011! xx


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