Dill and poppy seed bread is great when paired with Irish smoked salmon
As I’m sure you know, we are very lucky to have some of the best quality smoked salmon available to us in Ireland, therefore, I think it is best to compliment the flavour of the salmon rather than compete with it. This dill and poppy seed bread is perfect with salmon; the dill being a classic herb for fish and the nutty flavour and texture of the poppy seed makes a perfect marriage! Feel free to make this bread the day before and serve on a platter with the salmon, watercress salad, some cream cheese, lemon wedges and pickled cucumber (see below for recipe).
Dill & Poppy Seed Bread
400ml of buttermilk
350g of plain flour
140g of wholemeal flour
50g of chilled butter
1 teaspoon of caster sugar
2 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda
a handful of fresh dill leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons of poppy seeds
* Heat the oven to 200ºc and put a flat baking sheet in the oven to heat. Tip the flours into a large bowl and rub in the butter with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the remaining dry ingredients and the dill, then make a well in the centre and pour in 350ml of the buttermilk. With a wooden spoon, draw the dry ingredients into the wet to make a very soft, sticky dough. Add the rest of the liquid if you think the dough is too dry. Be careful not to overwork the dough as this will make your loaf tough.
* Lightly flour the work surface and tip the dough onto it. With floured hands, roughly shape into a round. Sprinkle a little flour over the hot baking sheet, then lift the dough onto it. Lightly press the dough down, making a flattened, round loaf about an inch deep. Using a butter knife, make a cross deeply into the top of the dough.
* Bake for 25-30 mins until well-risen and deep golden. To test the bread is cooked, give the loaf a tap on the bottom - it should sound hollow. Cool for a few minutes and transfer to a wire rack to fully cool. To serve, cut into quarters along the lines of the cross and slice.
* Mix 300g of very thinly sliced cucumber (I use a mandolin for transparently thin slices) and one very thinly sliced small onion in a large bowl. Add 125g of sugar with a generous pinch of salt and 75ml of white wine vinegar and mix well. Leave for at least one hour to allow the flavours to develop.
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