In which I attempt to bake something

October 12, 2009

If you've never thumbed through a Donna Hay cookbook, get thee to a bookstore posthaste! I have a couple of her books (thanks Barbara!) and really love them. Her recipes are delightfully simple, but she puts ingredients together in such an interesting way. Maybe it's because she's Australian. (I wonder if she knows Crocodile Dundee?) Sometimes you might look at one of her recipes and think, "Hmm, that sounds insane." But most of the time it works! My lovely mother-in-law got me a subscription to her magazine one year. I loved it, but their seasons are opposite of ours. Here I am, freezing in February, and Donna Hay is tempting me with barbequed chicken and watermelon from halfway around the world. Crazy Australia and their backways flushing toilets.

Anyway, so this recipe was featured in Donna Hay Magazine Issue 32, and as I have a general fear of baking bread, I followed the recipe exactly. It came out great, and would make a fun bread to have alongside a big salad for dinner, or to pass at the table for Thanksgiving.

Butternut Feta Bread
Makes 1 loaf

1 small butternut squash
1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons olive oil (divided)
2 tablespoons yeast (2 packages)
1/2 cup warm water
1 onion
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
3 cups flour
7 oz. feta cheese, cubed or crumbled

Peel and seed the squash. Cut into 1/2 inch cubes, toss with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil, and roast in a 350 degree oven until tender, about 15-20 minutes.

Combine the yeast and water in a bowl, and let stand in a warm place for 10 minutes. If the yeast doesn't foam, it is probably dead and you need to start over with new yeast.

Put the onion, remaining 1/2 cup olive oil, milk, eggs, rosemary, salt and sugar in a food processor, and run until smooth.

Combine the yeast mixture, onion mixture, and flour in a large bowl and stir well. Cover the bowl and allow it to rest in a warm place for about an hour, or until the dough doubles in size.

Preheat oven to 320 degrees. Grease a loaf pan.

Stir the feta and squash into the dough. (Yes, this is somewhat weird, as the dough is all sticky.) Put the dough into the loaf pan. Bake for an hour, or until a skewer comes out clean. (My bread took an extra ten minutes.)