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Flat Mushroom on Homemade Bread

with a button mushroom, garlic & cream sauce

For the bread, weigh out the flour in a large bowl and add the salt and mix through. Add the yeast and sugar followed by the water and combine to form a ball. Now either knead on a floury surface for 10-15 minutes until the dough is elastic, or if you have a stand mixer with a dough hook, this will also work fine.

For the first prove, return the dough to a bowl covering with a small drizzle of oil. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave to prove in a slightly warm setting until doubled in size, roughly 1 hour. Make sure the setting is not too warm or hot as the yeast will activate too much.

For the second prove, remove the proved dough and knock the air out on a floury surface. Form into a short fat sausage, tucking the edges underneath to stretch the outside surface and place on a tray dusted with flour that you will bake on, also dust the top of the shaped dough with flour. Loosely cover with lightly oiled clingfilm, I actually use a small plastic tub to cover if you have one that has enough space for the dough to expand in, leave in a warm setting once more for roughly 30-45 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

While the dough is proving for the second time, preheat the oven to 220°C with an empty tray at the bottom. This is for cold water to be thrown on to create steam while the loaf is baking.

Remove the clingfilm or tub carefully so as not to knock any air out. Delicately score slashes across the loaf top with a sharp knife or razor.

Place in the oven to a middle shelf and quickly throw a small jug of water into the tray at the bottom and shut the door immediately. Continue to bake for 20 minutes, without opening the door, then remove the tray that the bread was sitting on and place the bread directly onto the shelf the opposite way around, to ensure an even colour. Continue to bake for 5-10 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove the bread to a cooling wire and let sit for at least 10-15 minutes.

For the flat mushrooms, leave the oven on 220°C. Place the flat mushrooms on a small tray, covering with a drizzle of oil and a sprinkle of salt. Roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile chop the button mushrooms, shallot and garlic, adding to a small frying pan along with a large knob of butter and a small pinch of salt. Place the frying pan on a medium to low heat for roughly 5 minutes or until the mushrooms have sweated and reduced in size, then add the cream a good crack of black pepper and then remove from the heat. Stir through and leave to warm through from the residual heat for a minute or so.

Slice your bread and toast if desired. Butter the bread and then pile on the mushroom cream sauce followed by the flat mushroom from the oven on top.

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For this dish I did actually try to go out and find a nice big flat mushroom from a field that I know where they grow from time to time, which are usually so much larger than commercially grown. From the same field I have picked ones as big as 9 inches across. On this day, and I really did search for them, I was not so lucky. If the grass is thick then you sometime don’t see them until on top of them so this may also have played a factor.

All on the weather

For optimal conditions for wild mushrooms it can take more then just the right temperature and moisture level at the time to achieve a full basket. A warm Summer followed by a mild Autumn will also help things along as more goes on under the ground than above a lot of the time.

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Brandon Common, Exmoor, Devon
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