Italian Spinach Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Scant 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup reserved spinach liquid
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast (not RapidRise)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 (10 ounce) packages frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed dry, liquid reserved
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt

Instructions

  1. Lightly sauté the garlic in oil, then let cool to room temperature.
  2. Warm 1/4 cup spinach for yeast to activate (105 to 115 degrees F).
  3. Stir yeast, sugar into warm spinach water in large mixing bowl; let stand till foamy, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add remaining 1/2 cup room-temperature spinach liquid, garlic with oil, the spinach and nutmeg and stir thoroughly.
  5. Mix the flour and salt into the spinach mixture.
  6. Knead on floured surface, sprinkling w/additional flour to absorb moisture from the spinach, until dough is well marbled, soft and velvety, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  7. Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
  8. Shaping and second rise - Dough will be wetter after first rise. Put dough onto a floured surface and flour the top of dough - don't punch down or knead. Shape into round loaf and put on lightly oiled baking sheet (or parchment on the baking sheet).
  9. Cover with a towel and let rise for about 45 minutes.
  10. Heat oven to 425 degrees F.
  11. Slash a big V on top of loaf with sharp knife.
  12. Bake for 10 minutes.
  13. Reduce heat to 400 degrees F and bake an additional 30-35 minutes.

Makes 1 round loaf