Nettle bread


  • 25g young wild nettles leaves
  • 400g strong bread flour (I like Marriage’s or Tesco own)
  • 7g fresh-action dried yeast
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil, plus extra to oil and grease
  • sea salt and black pepper

In a large bowl, blanch the nettle leaves, covering the bowl with a lid or clingfilm, for 15 mins. Rinse and roughly dry with kitchen paper.

In a separate large bowl, place the flour and add the nettles. Make a mound in the centre of the flour and sprinkle in the yeast, olive oil, salt and pepper and 200ml room temperature water. Stir in a figure of eight motion with a fork until it comes together into a ball of dough. Knead by pressing the dough in half and kneading it into itself, repetitively, for 15 mins, adding a little more flour, or a more water if it is sticky. Place in a clean glass bowl and cover with oiled clingfilm and a damp tea towel. My kitchen is quite cool – great for making pastry, but not so good for proving bread – so I preheat the oven to 100°C then turn it off and place the bowl in there with the door open to get some heat going. You could also place it near a radiator or just a place you know is warm in your kitchen or house. Leave to prove and double in size for 1 hour.

Remove the towel and clingfilm and punch the air out of the dough. Knead for 5 mins, then shape into a sausage shape that fits into a 500g loaf tin. Grease and line the tin with baking paper and then place the dough in it, making sure it fills it to both ends. Cover loosely with oiled clingfilm and leave somewhere warm for 1/2 hour. Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas 7.

After the loaf has risen, slash the top a couple or so times with a sharp knife or using kitchen scissors, then bake for 12-15 mins, until golden and completely risen. If you doubt whether it has cooked through, lift from the tin to check the base is firm. If not, cook for a further 5 mins and check again. Allow to cool completely before slicing and serving.