Friday, June 20, 2014

Honey and oat toast with caramel macadamia spread

By now we're all pretty used to food trends and how they work. It's a simple formula; take something that we eat everyday and gourmet-ify it. It's been done to cupcakes, burgers, hotdogs, and of course the dear cronut (the love-child of a croissant and doughnut) and now, we have... gourmet toast. Also known as 'artisan toast' and 'hipster toast'. 

Toast has been popping out of our toasters for ages without anyone getting excited about it. Most of us actually consider it a pretty mundane breakfast. Well, that was before some hipsters in San Francisco decided to turn it into a big deal and charge customers $7 a pop. 


But we're not talking about putting government white loaf in a toaster here, or spreading it with boring jam or peanut butter. This is the real deal; sourdough bread, thickly cut, toasted to perfection and spread with hand-churned butter and organic jam. While I'm a big fan of going back to the way our grandparents used to eat with food being handmade and seasonal with honest ingredients, I'm not sure I'd pay $7 for a slice of toast. I mean, all it takes is a toaster and we can make it at home ourselves, but I suppose that misses the point, if we did that, who would be there to see us eating #hipstertoast? 

But let's forget the hashtag for now, if you'd like a damn good piece of toast, then give this recipe a try. The bread is delicious and the spread is uberly decadent. 


Honey and oat toast with caramel macadamia spread
Makes 2 loaves

120g porridge oats
4 tbsp honey
30g unsalted butter, chopped
360ml boiling water
500g stoneground white bread flour
250g stoneground wholewheat bread flour
1 tbsp salt
10g instant dry yeast
360ml warm water
120g oats, for rolling

Caramel macadamia spread
300g good-quality white chocolate, chopped
2 tbsp vegetable oil
100g macadamia nuts

Preheat the oven to 200C. Place the oats in a bowl and drizzle over the honey. Add the butter, pour over the boiling water and stir to mix. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. 
Place the flours, salt and yeast in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook and add the cooled porridge mixture and warm water and mix to form a soft dough. Knead for 8-10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Cover and allow to rise until doubled in size in a warm place. 
Once doubled in size, knock the dough down and divide into two. Roll each piece of dough out then roll up and pinch the end piece to stop from unravelling to form two sausages. Roll the dough loaves into the oats then place in two standard greased loaf tins (you could also make the loaves more rustic and leave them unshaped). Leave in a warm place to double in size again. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-45 minutes or until the crust is golden, the bread feels light and the loaves make a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom. Invert the loaves on to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

To make the caramelised white chocolate, preheat the oven to 120C. Spread the chocolate on a baking sheet and drizzle with the oil. Place in the preheated oven for 10 minutes then remove and stir with a clean, dry spatula. Continue to cook for 30-60 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Don’t worry if the chocolate looks lumpy and chalky at some stage, it will smooth out and caramelise. 
In the meantime, roast the macadamia nuts lightly then placing in a blender or coffee grinder. Process on high speed until the nuts begin to form a smooth paste (you can add a drizzle of vegetable oil if the paste doesn't begin to form). If you're a patient person, a pestle and mortar would also do the trick.
Once the chocolate is golden brown, stir the macadamia spread. If it’s still lumpy you can place it in a food processor to smooth it out and add a little cream or oil if necessary. Store in a jar at room temperature. If the spread hardens, pop it in the microwave for a few seconds to soften it, then stir in a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil. 

To make the toast, cut the bread into thick slices and toast under a preheated grill until the outside is crisp but the inside is still soft. Serve with lashings of caramel spread. 

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