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Recipes

Strandveld honey askoek and spring herb butter

“The humble askoek is one of my favourite heirlooms of our braai heritage,” says Kobus van der Merwe, chef at Oep ve Koep in Paternoster and co-author of new cookbook Strandveldfood. “There’s something so satisfyingly primeval about cooking bread directly in the coals. The thin layer of ash that remains once the coals have been dusted off lends a delicious smokiness to this rustic bread.”

Ingredients

1kg white bread flour
a pinch of snoek salt
10g instant dried yeast
700ml lukewarm water
100g Strandveld fynbos honey

Method

Gather a handful of wild and garden herbs in season, such as lemon buchu (agathosma glabrata), wild garlic, mint, oregano, fennel, savoury, nasturtium, wild garlic, lemon thyme and basil. Mix them in with some softened butter and put aside.

Sift the white bread flour into a large enamel basin. Add the salt and instant yeast and stir through. Make a well in the centre. Mix the warm water and honey and add it to the flour, mixing briskly with your hands. Continue mixing until everything comes together in a rough ball.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead for about 5 minutes in a rocking motion, using both hands, until smooth. Cover with a dishcloth and leave to rise until double in volume, approximately 40 minutes. Knock down the dough and form into a rough, flattened oval shape and place directly on hot coals. Cover with more coals and leave to cook for approximately 20 minutes, or until it sounds hollow when knocked with your knuckle. Use a pastry brush and thoroughly brush off any coals and ash that cling to the bread.

This recipe is extracted from Strandveldfood: A West Coast Odyssey by Kobus van der Merwe and Jac de Villiers, published by Jonathan Ball and available in bookstores for R350.

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