Nettle seed and dandelion honey Lammas bread

We called this Lammas bread as we first made it at the start of August, when the Pagan sabbat that marks the beginning of the harvest is celebrated. It combines the fresh nettle seed — a reminder of the summer in full swing — with the hay-like sweetness of dandelion honey.

A slice through a fresh piece of nettle seed and dandelion honey bread
A slice through a fresh piece of nettle seed and dandelion honey bread

Common nettle (Urtica dioica) is rich with nutrients and, in the spring, breads are among one of the many uses for its leaves, which contain Vitamins A, B, C, K, calcium and iron, among other minerals. But even after the leaves can no longer be used, the seeds, which appear as pendulous tendrils from July onwards, offer a range of culinary uses.


Although they don’t pack a massive flavour punch, they combine nuttiness with a fresher zing and can add subtle interest to dishes. They are also highly nutritious, containing an oil high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (mainly linoleic and beta-linoleic, Rutto et al., 2013). As a herbal medicine, the seeds are believed to help give an energy boost and brighten mood by supporting the adrenal glands and endocrine system.


Although most abundant in the spring, dandelions can still be found in later summer, but if you don’t have dandelion honey in store, or the time to make some, then normal honey in a smaller quantity will do just as well.


This bread takes approximately 45 minutes to prepare and bake, plus around 2 hours proving and cooling time. The recipe makes one soft, tear-and-share style loaf (roughly 10 servings).


To prepare the nettle seeds

Female nettle seeds

It is best to use gloves when both picking and preparing nettle seeds as the stings can remain on the seed clusters. After picking, leave to dry at room temperature for 2-3hrs to make it easier to remove the seeds from the stalk.


Seeds only appear on female plants (see image). They are far more pendulous than the spent flowers on male plants.


Ingredients

400g strong white bread flour

7g sachet fast-action yeast

4 heaped tbsp nettle seeds

4tbsp dandelion honey (or 2tbsp honey)

1/2tsp fine sea salt

2tbsp olive oil

Some extra flour and oil for kneading and oiling the bowl and for flouring the tray


Method

Nettle seed bread ingredients

Mix together the flour, yeast, nettle seeds and salt in a large mixing bow, using a wooden spoon or spatula. Make a well in the centre.







 
Kneading nettle seed bread dough

Add 250ml warm water, the oil and honey to the mixed dry ingredients and combine until it forms a dough. Oil your chopping board or work surface and knead the dough by hand for 10 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic.





 
Nettle seed bread dough

Shape the dough into a ball, place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with clingfilm. Leave in a warm place to prove for 1 hour or until doubled in size.


Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for another minute to punch out the air.



 
Nettle seed bread dough plait

To a create a knot, roll the dough into three sausages and squeeze to join at one end before forming a plait. Transfer to a baking tray lightly dusted with flour.


Cover with oiled clingfilm and leave to prove for a further hour. The dough should double in size again and feel springy to the touch.


 
Nettle seed bread

Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C dan/gas 6. Dust the tray and loaf lightly with flour and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for approx. 30 minutes until golden brown and the underside sounds hollow when tapped.


- Leave to cool for around 10mins before turning out onto a wire rack.











Discover more wild edibles and recipes on a foraging course or read more about Nettle and Dandelion.


Always stay safe when foraging. You need to be 100% sure of your identification, 100% sure that your foraged item is edible, and 100% sure that you are not allergic to it (it is good practice to always try a small amount of any new food you are consuming). If in doubt, leave it out!