Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Tear and Share Bread

One of the best things about having time away from work is exactly that, having time. Being able to spend leisurely periods baking and making is so much fun it's almost therapy, no more so than baking bread. All that kneading and stretching really allows one to work out the weeks frustrations! This tear and share bread is a relatively straightforward recipe, that is elevated into the stratosphere by the deliciously naughty fillings you choose to stuff it with. I've used a simple jar of caponata, picked up from the supermarket, but you can try whatever you think will work, from caramelised onions to cured meats. You can even have a crack with sweet fillings such as chocolate spread and chopped nuts, or maple syrup and mixed fruit. Just have a play around and see what works. :-)

Prep time: 25 Mins (Plus proving time)
Baking time: 20-25 Mins
275g Very Strong White Bread Flour
1tsp Fast Action Dried Yeast
A good pinch of salt
175ml Tepid Water
1tsp Olive Oil

Let us begin. Take a large mixing bowl and add the flour, yeast and salt. Mix together then make a well in the centre. Pour in the water and oil, then start to bring together with a flat bladed knife. Tip all of the mixture out onto a clean dry surface and bring together to a dough. Knead the dough, stretching apart, folding back on itself, turning by a quarter and repeating for about 7-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Dust all over with flour, place in a clean large bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for around 90 mins until risen.

When the dough has risen tip out onto an oiled surface and roll out to a large flat rectangle using a lightly oiled rolling pin. Place or spread your filling onto the flat dough, leaving a little border around the edge, then roll up to a fat, swiss rolly type sausage. Using a lightly oiled and very sharp (but not serrated) knife slice the sausage into twelve rounds and place each facing up into a greased, round tin. I actually use a 21cm pie tin! Don't be afraid to nestle them against each other. Place the tin in a sealed container (such as a large cake tub) and return to a warm place for a further 45-60 minutes, until the dough has risen up all fat and lovely again.

Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7. Remove the tin from the container and place in the centre of the oven. Bake for around 20-25 mins, until deep golden brown on top, then remove. Carefully lift the bread from the tin and place on a wooden chopping board until you are ready to serve. I must add before we finish that the share part of tear and share is entirely optional!

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