Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Red onion & parsnip tear and share

This is a seasonal recipe adapted from, of all things, BBC Good Food's pizza base recipe.  The quantities provide a really great and very forgiving white bread base which is quite adaptable and can be flavoured with just about anything.  I've even done a banana and chocolate bread which was pretty damn good - but I need to test that recipe a few more times before I share it (how will I cope!)

The recipe was basically dreamed up, like most of my recipes, when I discovered a solitary leftover ingredient in my fridge that I didn't know what to do with - in this case a parsnip. I was going through an obsessive bread making phase - I tend to go through obsessive phases with all my hobbies - and decided I would try to find a way to get delicious parsnip and delicious bread to become besties.  I wanted that crispy parsnip flavour, rather than the woody undercooked flavour parsnip can sometimes have, and soft, fluffy bread.

The recipe may seem a little bit fiddly if you haven't made a lot of bread before, and if so, it's probably best to try it on a quiet afternoon, if you ever have one, so you can take your time.  If you are an experienced bread maker this one should be a piece of cake. Except it'll be made of bread.

Makes a 16 doughball tear and share


300g strong white bread flour

1 teaspoon table salt

1 teaspoon instant/easy-bake yeast

200ml warm water

1/2 small red onion, chopped finely

1 small parsnip, grated (large gauge)

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon uncooked semolina or pasta flour

Put the flour into a bowl, and stir in the salt and dry yeast. In a pan, fry the chopped onion in 1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil until the pieces are soft and going transparent, then add in the grated parsnip.  Stir continuously until the parsnip is soft and starting to brown. Set aside.

Put a handful of flour on your work surface and spread it out a little.

Add all the water (don't be shy) and half a tablespoon of the olive oil to the bowl of flour, yeast and salt. Stir as much as you can with a spoon, and then gather the mixture together with your hands.

Once it is all stuck together, pick it up and put it on the floured worktop. The mixture may be a little sticky, but try to resist the urge to add flour until it is well mixed.

After 3 - 5 minutes of kneading, (during which you can add flour to make it more workable) your dough should be feeling smooth and it should all have the same consistency. It should start to feel a little silky as the glutens are released, rather than sticky.

Flatten out the dough a little on the worktop. Scoop the onion and parsnip from the pan and put it onto one half of the dough. Fold the dough over the veg, seal the edges together roughly and knead again until it’s well distributed (1-2 mins).  You may need to add a little flour as the dough will be a little sticky/oily at this stage.

Sprinkle the bottom of a dish (about 12-15cm square will do, or you can use a large solid bottom cake tin) lightly with semolina. Divide the dough into 4, then each quarter into quarters. Using your hands, roll the dough into balls.  Place in the balls of dough on top of the semolina – they should be just touching.  Drizzle with the last of the olive oil.

Pour about 2 mugs of boiling water into the bowl you mixed the dough in, and rest the tin or dish on top. If the bowl is the wrong shape, use the pan instead.  Cover both with a dry teatowel.  After 20 - 25 minutes or so, they should be nearly doubled in size and all puffed together (and your bowl or pan will be a lot easier to wash up!) Preheat the oven to 200C. 

Grind salt over the top of the bread, and pop it in the oven and bake for about 15 -20 minutes. You may need to turn the dish after 10 minutes to ensure it cooks evenly. It is done when the doughballs are well risen and the tops are all browned.

Really nice served warm with a little butter.  Yes, butter.  Go on - just a little bit.

H xxx


  1. Welcome to the blog world Hazel, hope you love it as much as I do.

  2. And a big welcome from me too, Hazel, I'm looking forward to seeing what you get up to and in the meantime wish you all the best! I came over from Emma! Joy x

  3. Wonderful! Thank you so much - what a warm welcome! how lovely to have you on board. Can't wait to check out your blogs too xxx

  4. Hi Hazel! Emma sent me. I'm a new follower of your blog. Your recipe looks delicious. :)

  5. Welcome to the world of blogging Hazel. I've come over from Emma's blog to say hi and I'm looking forward to getting to know you better. I would love for you to visit me too. Have a lovely day.

  6. Hi all! So great to see you all here - I am so grateful for the warm welcome you have all given me. I finally have 5 mins to myself and can't wait to tuck into all your blogs! Glad you like the look of the recipe :)