Once in a while, I buy interesting ingredients that catch my eye without having any idea what I’m going to do with them. And this jar of squid ink that I’ve got in my cupboard is just one of them. So rather than doing the usual – squid ink pasta, although making seafood lasagna with black pasta sheets did cross my mind – I thought it might be cool to use the squid ink to make a strikingly black loaf of bread.
So I started with my base recipe for white bread, but instead of adding the liquid to start off with, I first added 20g of squid ink (about 2 teaspoons), gave the food processor a pulse, then added just en0ugh water to ensure that the dough was tacky like it should be.
Then I continued with the rest of the recipe – knead, prove, knock back, shape, prove – and covered the tacky loaf with fresh white sesame seeds before making my cuts and baking as per usual. The result was an inky black loaf covered with toasty sesame seeds.
The loaf itself was a little more dense than the white loaf – which I think is probably because the squid ink, while providing moisture, doesn’t provide enough water content to ensure an airy loaf. Also, the squid ink was very delicate in flavour – much like squid ink pasta – and the flavour of the toasted sesame seeds was much more prominent than the squid ink itself.
I thought it would be great to use this bread to make a seafood based sandwich – I filled mine with battered prawns, Japanese mayo, spinach and tomato slices – and found that I should have either shaped the loaf into smaller bread rolls, or a taller loaf that would’ve allowed me to get nice slices crossways. I also thought it would be nice to have the crunch of tempura batter, but unfortunately I couldn’t quite get the tempura batter right, so ended up with a more traditional seafood batter instead. Still good though!
In all, I thought it was a great experiment. The loaf itself was very striking, and provided a fantastic colour contrast to the other brightly coloured ingredients in the sandwich.
But definitely. More water next time!