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Recipe: Make Celebrity Chef Luke Dale Roberts' Butternut Sage Loaf at Home

Recreate the epitome of fine dining at home with the help of Luke Dale Roberts’ newest cookbook

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By House & Garden South Africa | October 31, 2023 | Recipes

This delicious recipe for Butternut Sage Loaf can be found in The Test Kitchen Cookbook by Chef Luke Dale Roberts, who has been known to push the boundaries of the fine dining restaurant scene since opening The Test Kitchen back in 2010 in Cape Town. Throughout his career, across critically acclaimed restaurants and earning a string of global awards, Luke has always let his food do the talking, and now it was time to celebrate those marvellous recipes on paper. The Test Kitchen Cookbook is a 520-page hardcover masterpiece that showcases a variety of The Test Kitchen recipes that helped cement Cape Town’s reputation as a fine dining culinary capital. Luke unpacks the founding of the iconic Test Kitchen, his personal culinary journey and the inspiration he has had behind many of these beautiful dishes. If you’ve been following this chef for a while, it is easy to fall in love with his cooking style, his sheer passion for what he does and the details behind every dish.

Here’s how to make this Butternut Sage Loaf with Smoked Snoek Butter

Roasted butternut and sage gave our bread its local flavour, enhanced by the butter, which was hand-churned in the Dark Room and infused with smoked snoek.

Ingredients For the Smoked Snoek Butter

80–100ml smoked snoek butter (see p. 472)

chive oil for dressing (see p. 465)

chive flowers for garnishing

Ingredients For the Butternut & sage loaf (makes 8–10)

300g butternut, peeled and diced

2 sprigs sage

100g butter

250g white bread flour

100g rye flour

20g salt

10g yeast

100g biga (see p. 109)

125ml milk

100ml amasi

50g sage beurre noisette (see p. 473)

75ml water (if needed)

8–10 small sage leaves, blanched

Specialist Equipment

10ml rocher spoon, sous vide machine, vacuum sealer, blender, drum sieve, stand mixer with dough hook attachment, 12cm x 3cm mini loaf pan

Smoked Snoek Butter Method

​Using a 10ml rocher spoon, create rochers of smoked snoek butter. Make a small dent in the centre of each rocher with the side of the spoon. Place onto a tray and set in the fridge.

​Remove the rochers from the fridge 20 to 30 minutes before service. Add a few drops of chive oil to the dent in the centre of each rocher and garnish with a chive flower.

How to Make the Butternut & sage loaf

​Set a sous vide machine to 85ºC. Place the butternut, sage sprigs and butter into a vacuum pack bag, seal tightly and sous vide for three hours or until soft.

​Drain the butternut while still hot and add to a blender.

​Process for 10 minutes or until smooth. Strain through a drum sieve.

​Spread the butternut purée onto a tray to cool and for any excess moisture to evaporate.

​Place the flours, salt, yeast, biga and cooled butternut purée into the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment.

​Warm the milk, amasi and two-thirds of the sage beurre noisette in a pot, then add this, while mixing on low to medium speed, to the mixer to activate the yeast.

​Turn out and knead the dough until elastic or the windowpane stage is reached. Add a splash of water if it seems too dry or sieve in some extra bread flour if too wet.

​Place the dough into a bowl and cover with clingfilm. Leave in a warm place to prove for 45 minutes.

​Grease a mini loaf pan (12cm x 3cm holes).

​Portion the dough into 35g balls and shape into mini loaves (see p. 109). Place into the prepared loaf pan.

​Drain any excess moisture from the blanched sage leaves and lay a leaf along the centre of each loaf.

​Leave the loaves to prove for 20 minutes or until doubled in size.

​Heat the oven to 200ºC and bake the loaves for six minutes. Turn the pan around and bake for a further six minutes until the loaves form a light golden crust.

​In a small pot, heat the remaining sage beurre noisette over low heat.

​As soon as the loaves come out of the oven, brush with the sage beurre noisette and serve each loaf with a smoked snoek butter rocher on the side.