In these cold winter days I have been enjoying the rituals of the simple things…making bread, feeding the birds, reading… Pastimes that have been enjoyed for hundreds of years, activities that make us feel good, that slow us down and bring us joy.
Usually we live our lives at a faster pace but this last year with lock downs and less freedom than we are used to, life has changed…
I find myself more content by busying myself with things that I previously simply didn’t have time for.. or didn’t make time for.
I’m no expert at bread but I’m getting better. I can’t remember where this recipe came from, I’ve been making it for an age, but it is simple and the resulting loaf is scrumptious. Laden with a green olive tapenade or served with a balsamic or oil accompaniment, it’s delicious. Here’s how…
400g strong white bread flour
5g easy blend yeast
1 tbsp caster sugar
100g black or green olives (pitted)
100g sun dried tomatoes – plus tbsp of the oil
250ml water at room temperature
Measure and add all the dry ingredients into a large bowl – you’ll need one large enough to mix and bring the dough together. Add the salt and yeast in separate sides of the bowl.
Make a well in the centre of the mixture and add in the sun dried tomato oil and the water. Use a spoon to start mixing the ingredients but then roll up your sleeves and get in there with your hands. Initially the dough may feel a little dry but it will soon start to come together.
Knead for a few minutes. You’ll feel the dough start to change as you knead – it will become more springy to the touch.
Shape it into a round and press down too so that you have a compact shape. Place on greaseproof parchment on a baking tray and cover with a cloth (I don’t use or like clingfilm). Put it somewhere warm and leave it for around an hour and it should by then have doubled in size. Make sure your oven has been pre-heated to 220 degrees C/ 200 fan/ gas mark 7
I always put a cut in the top of the bread with a sharp knife, then place in your hot oven for around 35/40 minutes. When cooked, do the usual tap on the bottom to see if it sounds hollow (if not, pop it back in the oven for a few minutes), then place on a wire rack to cool.
If you’re very good, you’ll wait for it to cool before cutting….
Enjoy! 🙂 Let me know if you make it and if you’d like to see snippets of it being made click here to go to my YT channel.