Hi all! I am Teann Ingram and I am so excited to be a contributor on MadeByGirl! Its winter here in British Columbia, and it seems Mother Nature can't decide whether she wants it cold or warm - right now its about -12˚C (10˚F) which is a little colder than I would like! Whenever its chilly out, I find I crave something warm and savory.
This Mediterranean bread is just the ticket on cold days like this! Besides the fact that it looks gorgeous, the combination of the feta, spinach and chopped walnuts are simply delicious. I will warn you now; you will have more than one slice :)
After kneading, the dough should have an elastic feel to it. Push a finger into the dough and if it springs right back quickly you know your dough is perfect! The dough should be smooth but still moist and not dry.
I could eat just the filling all by itself :)
This dough is extremely easy to roll out. If it seems a little resistant, let it rest a few moments before starting to roll again.
Here is the tricky part. When cutting the bread lengthwise start the cut about 2 inches from the top. It’s easier to braid the dough when the top is still attached. An extra pair of hands help when braiding the dough but if you are by yourself it will just be a little messier. No worries
If some of the filling falls out, just scoop it back up and place it back on the dough.
1 tbsp traditional yeast
1 cup warm water (105˚F) 1/2 tsp honey 3 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled 1 egg 2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup cooked spinach, drain excess water - If using frozen, no need to cook.
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tbsp butter 1/4 cup leek or 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1. Combine warm water with honey and mix until dissolved. Add yeast and mix well. Set aside to proof for 10 minutes. While the yeast is proofing, combine flour, salt, and feta cheese. When the yeast is done proofing, add to the flour mixture and stir. Combine the egg and olive oil and then add to the flour mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until mixture comes together. You can use your hands as well. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, and knead for approx. 10 min, or until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Put the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl and cover it with a cloth. Let it rise in a warm, draft-free area until double, 1 hour.
2. While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. Combine the feta cheese, spinach, and walnuts in a bowl. In a small pan, add the butter and leeks or garlic, sautéing until soft. Add to the filling mixture, stirring until well combined.
3. When the dough has doubled in size, place on a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 15x12 rectangle. Leaving a 1 inch border, spread the filling onto the dough. Carefully, roll-up the dough lengthwise. Before cutting, transfer the dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Using a sharp knife, position the knife 2 inches below the top and cut the dough lengthwise. Carefully, braid the dough, picking up any filling that might have fallen out and place back onto the dough. Place the tray in a warm, draft-free area, covered with a cloth and let rise for 1 hr.
4. After the dough has risen 30 min, turn the oven on to 400˚F and let it warm up while the dough continues to rise. Once the loaf has risen and doubled, bake for 35 - 40 min, until the crust is brown
5. Cool on a rack before cutting. Enjoy!
-post & photos by Teann Ingram