14 April 2011
Dandelion Bread for a Dandy Spring Weekend!
Holy sunshine, it's springtime in Scotland.
Last weekend was amazing. The sun, which seems to have been hiding from us for the last 8 months-or-so, made an appearance three days in a row, with nary a cloud to speak of. This is unprecedented stuff. My friends and I made the most of it, with daily picnics: one at a castle, one in the hills, and one at the park. I dug my toes into the grass and blissed-the-hell-out. It was magic. I even got a little sunburn (which now just looks like freckles). The final week of my 20's is definitely shaping up to be something special.
I woke up early on Sunday, hopped on my bike and went foraging for dandelions. I got some strange looks from passers-by on their morning jog. Whatever. I came home and made this bread for my friends. What could be better for a day in the park than a bread made of flowers? Did I mention the lemony glaze?? There's a lemony glaze!
Ok, for those of you who've never had dandelion bread before, which included me up until now, it's really tasty! After pouring the batter in the tin, I feared it might be too bitter, but the baking of it made that bitterness disappear. It turned out really nice, and I'm quite proud of this.
I was only able to find one (one!) recipe for a dandelion quick bread on the interwebs, made by a handful of bloggers all using the same recipe. I adapted it, and now there are two! I used a mixture of wholemeal flour and AP flour to start, and my friends seemed to think it was a perfect move, as it added a bit of heartiness and an earthy quality to the loaf. I also replaced the honey with golden syrup -- but if you live in America, it is probably difficult to find this ingredient, so honey would be a perfect re-substitution. Also I think buttermilk is amazing for almost everything, so I added some just because I could. Aaaand I added the glaze. You should, too.
Pick your dandelions in the morning before the flowers have opened; this makes removing the petals easier. Grab the petals with the fingers of one hand, hold the base of the flower with the other hand, and twist to remove petals. If the flowers aren't closed, it's no big deal - just tug out the petals, and be careful to watch for little bugs between the petals. Make sure to use petals only and pick out all the greenery.
25g dandelion petals, about 1 cup's worth (from about 40 flowers)
120g (1 cup) AP flour
120g (1 cup) wholemeal flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
60ml (1/4 cup) sunflower oil
60ml (1/4 cup) golden syrup
230 ml (just under 1 cup) milk
120 ml (1/2 cup) buttermilk
juice of 1 lemon
150g icing sugar (confectioner's sugar)
Preheat oven to 200C/400F. Line a normal-sized loaf tin with baking paper, and grease or butter exposed sides (the short ends).
Combine dandelion petals, flours, salt and baking powder in a small bowl.
In separate larger bowl, whisk together sunflower oil, golden syrup, egg, milk & buttermilk. Add dry ingredients using a spoon (a mixer won't be helpful here because of the petals) until just incorporated. Pour into loaf tin and bake until a toothpick comes out clean - it may take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes or onward, depending on your oven.
Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin, then remove from tin to cool completely.
Whisk together lemon juice and icing sugar until smooth. Brush liberally onto top of loaf - and get the sides, too, for maximum prettiness. I had extra glaze left over, which my picnic-in-the-park friends found perfect for dipping bits of their sliced loaf into.