For many centuries humans took advantage of the nature at their doorstep. Before the modern convenience stores and highly priced supplements, wild plants were a common parts of the diet, being the ultimate natural vitamins. Plants, we label as weeds often have therapeutic value, and many of our “new” medicines contain wild herbs. They are power packed with nutrients, hundreds of times the vitamin and mineral density of store-bought greens. Due to thousands of years of agriculture vegetables have become known but mild, compared to their wild relatives. They are free; great value nutrition.
200 g strong white flour, plus extra for kneading
200 g kamut flour
8 g salt
7 g yeast
250-260 ml cold liquid whey
A handful of wild herbs (mint, majoram, fennel, nettle) finely chopped
35 ml olive oil, plus extra for kneading
1 tbsp lard
Place the dry ingredients in a bowl, taking care not to have the salt and yeast touching. Add the oil, lard and half of water. Using hands, mix the ingredients together. Gradually add the remaining water (may not all be needed), until all the flour leaves the side of the bowl and there is a soft, rough dough. Pour a little oil onto a clean work surface. Sit the dough on the oil and begin to knead. Do this for 5-10 minutes, or until the dough becomes smooth and silky. Once the correct consistency is achieved, place the dough into a clean, oiled bowl. Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place until tripled in size.
Once risen, place the dough onto a floured surface. Knock the dough back by folding it in on itself repeatedly. Do this until all the air is knocked out and the dough is smooth. To shape into the muffins, divide the dough into 13 equal pieces. Once formed cover and leave to prove for 1-2 hours at room temperature, or until doubled in size.
Lightly spray with water and dust with a little flour. Make four diagonal slashes using a sharp knife across the top. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C and place a baking tray filled with water on the bottom shelf of the oven – this will create steam when the loaf is baking. Place the loaf on the middle shelf and bake for 25 minutes. After this time lower the heat to 200 degrees C and bake for a further 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.
A brown version can be done by replacing 200 kamut flour with 100 g of each rye flour and wholemeal flour.