I have been meaning to make this bread for a long time. I was prompted to do it this week after researching cracker recipes for my live online demo for my membership. One of the cracker recipes contained a healthy amount of freshly ground black pepper and they tasted great. They reminded me that I wanted to try freshly ground black pepper in a loaf.
The result is zingy and hot. You experience lots of little explosions in your mouth as you bite into the tiny lumps of fiery-hot peppercorns. It’s a great bread for those that love a spicy kick to their food. We enjoyed it with a pasta bean bake and again with marmalade for this morning’s breakfast.
You can add the peppercorns to any bread recipe that happens to be your favourite – white, wholemeal, focaccia etc. I used 10g for 500g of flour and this gives the loaf a good dose of heat. I also ground them in a pestle and mortar to get an uneven grind. That way the very finely ground pepper mixes well with the flour and you have the occasional bite of a larger piece, like the one in the photo below.
500g wholemeal flour
5g easy bake/ instant/ fast action yeast or 15g fresh yeast
5-10g fine sea salt
5-10g freshly ground black pepper
between 380-420g water
Place the flour, yeast, pepper and salt in a bowl and mix through. Pour in 340g water and start to mix. You will need more water. As the dough starts to come together splash in small amounts of water and mix until the dough has a soft, slightly sticky consistency and there are no dry bits. Keep on squeezing the dough for another minute or so to make sure the flour is fully hydrated.
Cover with a proving cloth or shower cap and leave to rest for at least 10 minutes, up to an hour. Uncover and do the first round of stretch and fold. Leave to rest again for at least ten minutes. Do a second round of stretch and fold.
Cover and leave to ferment for at least an hour to get light and filled with air. You could put it in the fridge overnight at this stage.
When airy and light, shape and leave to ferment again. You could place it in the fridge for several hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 220C, 425F, gas mark 7. When the loaf is fully proofed (see video) bake for 30-40 minutes depending on your oven. Check that it is fully baked by placing an internal thermometer in the centre of the loaf. It should read at least 88C for the loaf to be fully baked. The loaf should be golden all over and feel light.
Leave to cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before slicing.
The video below shows you how to make a wholemeal loaf.
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