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Rachel’s recipes: Peanut and chilli bread

Bread, cheese, peanuts and chilli, our favorite foods! So when a birthday drew near this recipe was a must! In fact I have been meaning to try this Dan Lepard inspired recipe for a long time and needed this excuse.  I upped the chillis for my  version and went easy on the cumin seeds. The bread was surprisingly soft and fluffy and toasts brilliantly for esoteric crostini. Next time I think I will add some coarse ground black pepper too.

This bread with its peanuts really gives you some protein in your bread ie added to that already in the flour. The peanuts of course are rich in vitamin E and the chillis boost your immune system. I suspect that without the chilli and with the inclusion of some sultanas this might be a hit with kids…maybe with a few banana slices on toasted peanut bread and a drizzle of honey….

Like most breads its easy to make but be gentle with your yeast and find the bread somewhere  warm to rise. Have fun!

Ingredients for two quite nice loaves

150g crunchy peanut butter or smooth peanut butter if you cannot find the crunchy kind
1 tbsp cumin seeds (I normally love cumin…but I reckon its quite a strong taste and not for everybody)
1 tsp fine salt
2 long red chillies, not too fiery, charred over a flame (Chilli – holics feel free to add more!)
75g roasted peanuts
250g wholemeal flour
250g white flour
1 sachet of dried yeast or 25g fresh yeast
Sesame seeds

Spoon the tahini, peanut butter, cumin and salt into a bowl, and add 100ml hot water. De-seed the chillies, chop roughly and add to the bowl (leave the charred bits on). Stir in 200ml cold water and the peanuts; add the flour and yeast, mix to a soft, sticky dough and leave for 30 minutes. Give the dough a 10-second knead on an oiled worktop, return it to the bowl and leave for an hour.

Divide into three, shape into balls, leave for 15 minutes, then shape into sticks. Pat each stick into an oval (use flour), folding it in upon itself a few times, then roll to 30cm in length. Brush with water, roll in sesame seeds and leave to rise on a baking tray for 45 minutes. Slash down the length with a sharp knife, and bake at 220C (200C fan-assisted)/425F/gas mark 7 for 30 minutes.

How to

Put the peanut butter, cumin and salt into a bowl, and add 550ml warm water (the temperature of a baby’s bath so test by sticking your finger in the water. Both babies and yeast react badly to scalding hot water). Add to this goo the yeast and mix in well. The yeast may start frothing – that’s good.

Char your chillies on an open flame. Chop up roughly and add to the bowl. Add the peanuts.

Add the flour and mix to a soft, sticky dough. Now give it a really good kneading (use the dough hook of your food mixer if you have one..I have to admit I rely totally on the Kenwood!) until the gluten is developed and it has an elastic like consistency.

Cover with a damp towel and leave somewhere warm until it has doubled in volume.

Divide into two and shape into batons or rounds. Brush with egg wash and cover with sesame seeds. I had run out of sesame seeds this week so I used some zaatar – good improv! Let the bread rise again until it has doubled in volume.

If you feel like making a statement make fairly deep slashes in it. Bake at 250C for 20 minutes or until it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Eat with strong salami like chorizo (as Dan originally advised) or mature cheese. I think this would be the bread to handle a Thai green curry chicken filling. Yum!

By Rachel Sargent, Guest Writer

Rachel Sargent is owner of The London Street Atelier, which organizes cookery classes, private dinners and offers catering. More about it here. 

(photo by Rachel Sargent)