We’ve been enjoying unseasonably warm weather this week, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to pack a picnic and hit the beach. It took me a while to decide what to take, but in the end I opted for simplicity – all the ingredients of a delicious sandwich baked into one loaf of bread. It’s a beautifully soft, bouncy loaf and once you’ve taken the first slice, the bread won’t last for long…
First, make a soft dough and leave it to rise. Knock the dough back and press into a large rectangle, then scatter with chosen filling:
Roll up the dough like a swiss roll and join the ends together to form a circle. Leave to prove:
Bake it! Now’s a good time to make a start on the washing up (groan):
The recipe is adapted from the tortano in Leila Lindholm’s recipe book A Piece of Cake. She calls for prosciutto so I substituted sundried tomatoes, but you could include whatever ingredients you like. I’ve given the original quantities from the recipe, but I found that I needed significantly more flour to form a workable dough (this might be because I used strong white bread flour instead of durum wheat flour).
15g fresh yeast (I used a tsp of fast action yeast)
300 ml warm water
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs honey
1 tbs flaked salt
150g durum wheat flour
270g strong white bread flour
200g mozzarella cheese
A few sundried tomatoes (chopped if necessary)
A handful of pitted olives
1 bunch fresh basil
1. Mix together yeast, water, olive oil, honey and salt
2. Mix the two flours together and add a little at a time to the liquid ingredients until a smooth elastic dough is formed. (I kneaded the dough lightly here although the original recipe doesn’t suggest kneading)
3. Cover the dough and leave to prove for 30 minutes.
4. Press the dough into a large rectangle (don’t use a rolling pin – it will squeeze out all your lovely air bubbles!) – the dough should be about 1 cm thick.
5. Scatter your filling ingredients over the dough, then roll up like a swiss roll (rolling from the long side of the rectangle). Use a little water to seal the long edge.
6. Brush the ends of the rolled up dough with a little water and join together to form a circle (you may like to gently stretch the dough a little to make the circle larger, otherwise when it rises you won’t get a clear ring-shape). Dust with flour (I used cornmeal) and leave to prove for another 30 minutes.
7. Preheat the oven to 250°C, then reduce temperature to 200°C once you have put the bread in the oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes. The loaf should be golden brown and sound hollow when tapped from underneath.
8. Allow to cool on a wire rack. Take your bread al fresco and enjoy!