Bread making can often cause the most confident of cooks to tremble at the knees.
All that yeast activating, kneading, resting (and waiting!) is enough to send anyone straight to the supermarket shelf to grab a loaf of the white stuff… and who can blame 'em? Luckily not all breads are created equally - and some involve even less effort than choosing a ready-made batch from your local bakery.
This crusty no-knead carrot and courgette version is one such recipe that requires nothing more than throwing everything together in a bowl and having enough patience to let it bake for the mere 30 minutes it will take to turn miraculously into one of the easiest breads you could possibly muster. Makes a 500g loaf
200g plain white flour, plus extra for dusting
100g wholewheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of sugar
1 teaspoon dried thyme, plus extra for sprinkling
1 carrot, grated
1 courgette, grated
175ml plant milk, such as soya, almond or oat
50g walnuts, roughly chopped
2 tbsp mixed seeds, plus extra for sprinkling
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
Hummus, to serve (optional)
Preheat the oven to 200˚C/gas mark 6. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl with 1/2 teaspoon salt and set aside. Squeeze the grated carrot and courgette to remove any excess liquid and season with a little pepper. Add the carrot and courgette mix to the dry ingredients and stir well. Make a well in the centre and pour in the plant milk, and then gently fold using a spatula, ensuring not to overwork the mixture. Stir through the walnuts and seeds.
Dust a little flour over a work surface and a baking tray. Turn the mixture out onto the surface and shape into a rough oval, about 30cm in diameter. Transfer the dough to the baking tray, score the top with a sharp, floured knife and sprinkle over a little more salt, thyme and extra seeds. Lightly dust the loaf with flour and bake for 30 minutes or until it sounds hollow when you tap the bottom.
Let it cool on a wire rack for a few minutes before slicing or tearing. Serve warm and generously spread with hummus.
This recipe appears in Aine's new book Keep it Vegan, which is available in all good book shops this week