‘Beautiful full heads of blue, mauve, indigo and yes even pink’. Lavender is indeed one of the most elegant and delectable flavours you can use in cooking. I’ve been looking for an excuse to open my jar of my home grown lavender and last week I found it when I stumbled across Vanessa Kimbell’s from Prepped.
Vanessa had an invitation for foodies to get involved and test recipes for the cookbook she is currently writing. I was more than happy to oblige my time and taste buds as a tester. So I wrote to her excited to be part of the development of her book and offered my humble services. I was even excited when it happened to be a recipe using lavender, and then a little nervous when it was a bread recipe. You see, I am not accustomed to giving my upper arms a work out, but it was so worth kneading and stretching. Homemade bread is the best, especially when it comes out looking like this.
The bread wasn't sweet at all, but delicately scented from the infused lavender. I will be making the bread again, so please come back in a weeks time when I’ll be able to share the recipe with you, it just needs a little bit of tweaking.
Updated 5 December 2010. I haven't heard back from Vanessa regarding re-testing the recipe. When I originally tested the recipe, she did say it was okay to post the recipe on my blog as other testers had, so for those of you who have been wanting to give it a go, here it is as it was given to me. I think I know where I may have gone a little wrong with my making of the Lavender Bread recipe, the salt I used was sea salt which dominated the flavour over the lavender.
2 tablespoons of culinary grade dried lavender
30 ml of hot milk
750g strong plain white flour
2 tsp salt
75g butter, cut into small pieces
7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
1 tbsp caster sugar
330 ml milk
100 ml hot water - but not boiling
1. Pop the lavender in a cup and heat about 30ml of milk soak the Lavender in the milk for about 15 minutes. In the meantime tip the flour, yeast and salt into a large bowl and mix together with the butter turning it into fine breadcrumbs.
2. Pour the milk into a large measuring jug and stir in the hot water ad the lavender and milk solution. The liquid should be just about hand temperature, as this warmth will help the bread to rise.
3 Mix this until it forms a soft dough that leaves the sides of the bowl clean. Dust your surface with flour, then tip the dough onto it. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes by hand or alternately use a dough hook on your mixer to do the same job. The dough should be stretch y and elastic. Put this into a lightly greased liter tin and over with a clean damp tea towel to rise for about 35 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 220°C/fan 200°C/gas 7. Once the dough is risen Bake for 30 minutes, until risen and golden brown. Leave in the tin to cool.
5 Tip it out onto a cooling rack and tap the base of the bread to check it is cooked. It should sound hollow.