Random Recipe: Olive, Coriander and Onion Bread

Paul Hollywood Olive, Coriander and Onion bread recipe
Olive, Coriander and Onion loaf

After a very long hiatus, I decided it was time to enter Belleau Kitchen‘s Random Recipes challenge again. And this time, the recipe I picked turned out to be a real challenge and forced me to face one of my culinary fears.

You may already know the rules of this challenge but for those that don’t, basically Dom from Belleau Kitchen sets a challenge each month to pick a recipe at random from your collection of cookbooks. You then have to cook, photograph and blog about the resulting dish. Some months there are unusual ways to pick a recipe, but this month was a straightforward case of pick a book at random and pick a page at random from that book.

Random Recipe challenge from Belleau Kitchen

I used a random number generator to pick a number from my 100+ cookbooks, and then counted through until my finger finally landed on Paul Hollywood’s How to Bake.

That made me feel a little nervous because while I’m a pretty confident cook, I’m less sure of myself when it comes to baking. But hey ho, that was the book that I had picked, so I had to use it. I opened the book at random, opened my eyes (yes, I was feeling that nervous!), and I have to admit my heart sank when I saw that I had managed to select a Olive, Coriander and Onion loaf.

The combination of olives, onions and coriander sounded delicious – coriander is probably my favourite herb, however I really wasn’t looking forward to completing this challenge. I had never successfully made a loaf by hand, they invariably turned out heavy and stodgy.

The Olive, Coriander and Onion bread used olive oil in place of the butter in the White Cob, but otherwise the method looked pretty much the same apart from the shaping. I added in the chopped onion, coriander and olives before the final proving, but at this point the dough looked horribly wet. Lyle wrinkled up his nose in disgust, and I felt like crying – how could it have gone so wrong?

I left the dough for another 30 minutes as per the recipe and when I went back, somehow it actually looked OK. I flattened the dough out and rolled it up into a rough sausage, then snipped into it with scissors before adding a mixture of nigella seeds and sesame seeds. The recipe did call for black cumin seeds as well but I couldn’t lay my hands on any, so just stuck with the two types of seed.

After a final hour of proving, the dough was ready to go into the oven. I crossed my fingers, and waited 30 minutes.

Olive, Coriander and Onion loaf
This loaf smelled and tasted as good as it looks!

The result was a delicious loaf with a light crisp crust, morsels of sweet onion and salty olive throughout the rich, soft interior, and my kitchen smelled amazing. I would probably reduce the quantity of olives and increase the quantity of onions next time, because I really loved the flavour of the onions in the bread, although Lyle the Olive Lover was quite happy with the balance as it was.

I’m delighted that I decided to do Random Recipes again this month, and glad that I accepted the challenge that fate threw at me this time. I think I have pretty much conquered my fear of breadmaking, and I’m now sure that I will go on to try more of the delicious recipes in this book.

11 thoughts on “Random Recipe: Olive, Coriander and Onion Bread

  1. Dom says:

    Well it looks glorious and for a novice baker that’s quite a steep challenge to take on, so well done you and I’m glad to have taken you a little left of your comfort zone!… I must say that bread book is brilliant and pretty failsafe so it was a great place to start… thanks so much for entering random recipes again, it’s lovely to have you back onboard x

  2. Jane Willis says:

    It looks gorgeous! I’ve been surprised by how wet the dough is for some of the recipes in that book, but I always feel a wetter dough gives a lighter loaf and I think you’ve confirmed that.

    • Sally Akins says:

      Yes, I’d agree with that – I saw PH on TV saying that people often think the dough needs to be drier than it really does, and then they make it even drier if they flour the surface for the first kneading. I think that gave me the confidence to work with the dough when it feels ‘too wet’, and oiling the surface for kneading definitely helped as well – although it felt very odd at first!

      We’re definitely going to do more recipes from this book in the future. Thanks for commenting!

    • Sally Akins says:

      Thanks Elizabeth! I really recommend Paul Hollywood’s books, his instructions make bread baking very easy, and they are delicious as well. Thanks for commenting :-)

  3. Karen says:

    THANKS so much for adding this to Cooking with Herbs Sally and what a lucky random recipe you had, I had a rabbit feast stew! LOVE this bread and it may make an appearance on my table next week, as I have all of the ingredients! Karen

    • Sally Akins says:

      Thanks Karen, I’m glad I drew this recipe because it has really helped me to get over my fear of baking, plus it was really yummy! Looking forward to December’s challenges now :-) Thanks for commenting!

  4. Pingback: November Cooking with Herbs Round-Up

  5. Michelle says:

    Thank you for this post, I have just panicked after adding the onion, coriander and olives because the dough seemed to be so wet and came online for some reasurrance! Hopefully mine will turn out as nice as yours!

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