This is a very easy bread to make and is ideal party food. Serve with some good quality Italian meats and cheeses as party grazing food. You can get lovely Bresaola beautifully sliced from http://www.vallebona.co.uk . It is also very good with a substantial home made soup for weekend lunch or supper. The dough is wetter than your usual loaf, so add the water gradually if making by hand. You can also use the food processor for mixing and for the first rise. See Tips, below. Happy Baking!
500g/1lb 2oz strong white bread flour
2 tsp salt
2 sachets dried easy blend yeast
2 tbsp olive oil
400ml/14fl oz cold water
olive oil, for drizzling
sea salt crystals
Equipment – I use a 23 x 33cm (9″ x 13″) Swiss roll tin for my loaves. It needs to be at least 2cm deep.
- Place the flour, salt, yeast, olive oil and 300ml/10½fl oz of the water into a large bowl. Gently stir with your hand or a wooden spoon to form a dough then knead the dough in the bowl for five minutes, gradually adding the remaining water.
- Stretch the dough by hand in the bowl, tuck the sides into the centre for about five minutes.
- Tip the dough onto an oiled work surface and continue kneading for five more minutes. Return the dough to the bowl, cover and leave to rise until doubled in size. This would normally take an hour in a warm place, or longer if you put it a cold area.
- Tip the dough out of the bowl and spread onto the baking sheet, pushing to the corners, then leave to prove for one hour.
- Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7. Press your fingers into the dough to create little hollows. Drizzle the loaves with oil, sprinkle with the sea salt crystals, and put small sprigs of rosemary into the holes you have created. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
- I find half a loaf does a dinner party for six, so I cut it in half and freeze half of the loaf for another time.
- It is quite a wet dough, so if you have a Magimix or food processor, you can make the dough in the bowl with the dough blade. Whizz for about a minute. Switch off and leave the dough to rise for an hour in the bowl. Then once it has rise to twice it’s size, whizz again with the dough blade for another minute or so to “knock down”. Once the dough has been knocked back, you can tip it into the baking tin to rise again. Continue as per the recipe above.