“Cooking can be good for the soul and making bread is such a rewarding, therapeutic, tactile thing – you’ll be so proud of yourself when you’ve cracked it. From one simple bread recipe like this, there’s a million things you can do – big ones, small ones, in a tin, on a tray, get creative. There are also loads of lovely flours you can experiment with – wholewheat, rye, spelt, using a blend of a couple of different ones. Plus, making bread is a great thing to do with the kids – they’ll love it. ”
- 1 x 7 g sachet of dried yeast
- 1 kg strong bread flour , plus extra for dusting
- Pour 650ml of tepid water into a large bowl. Add the yeast and mix with a fork for a couple of minutes.
- Pour in most of the flour and half a teaspoon of sea salt, then use a fork to mix together until you can’t move it anymore.
- Now get your clean hands in there and bring it together as a ball of dough, adding more flour as you need to stop your hands and the dough sticking.
- Transfer the dough to a flour-dusted surface and keep it moving, kneading, pushing and stretching it for 5 minutes, or until you have a silky and elastic dough.
- Use your floured hands to shape the dough into a rough ball, put it in a bowl, flour the top and cover with a clean, damp tea towel. Allow it to prove for about an hour or an hour and 30 minutes, or until doubled in size – ideally in a warm, draught-free place.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, knock the air out by punching it with your fist, then kneading for 30 seconds.
- You can now shape it or flavour it as required – folded, filled, traybaked, whatever – and leave it to prove for a second time, for 30 minutes to an hour, or until it has doubled in size once more.
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4.
- Carefully transfer your bread dough to the oven and gently close the door. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until golden. You can tell if it’s cooked by tapping its bottom – if it sounds hollow it’s done; if it doesn’t then pop it back in for a little longer.
- Once cooked, place your loaf on a cooling rack and allow to cool.
FOR PESTO, OLIVE & CHEDDAR TWISTER BREAD:
1. Taking your dough after Step 6, on a flour-dusted surface, use a rolling pin to roll out half of the dough to about the size of a small tea towel.
2. Spread some pesto – whatever you’ve got – all over the surface.
3. Now squash, destone and tear over the flesh of a few olives.
4. Coarsely grate or break over a few chunks of cheese (see below for swaps).
5. Roll up the dough like a Swiss roll, wrapping all those fillings inside, then with a sharp knife cut into eight chunks. Place the pieces close together, swirl-side up, in an ovenproof pan or on an oiled baking tray, and leave to prove again as per step 7 above, then follow the remaining steps.
– I would normally use mozzarella for a bread like this, but really it’s worth trying it with other cheeses. Use what you’ve got and see where you end up.
– Feel free to experiment with different combos. How about smoked ham, grated cheese and a little tomato? Spinach, feta and pine nuts? Or jarred peppers blitzed into a paste with garlic and nuts?
– You could easily make a sweet twister bread. Think jam, or honey and raisins, or chocolate spread and mashed bananas. What will you make?
Source: Jamie Oliver