A slight departure from cake for this week…At the weekend, I made bread for the first time with my friend and it was much easier than I thought it would be! It’s also pretty quick and cheap to make. This recipe was fun to bake and something a bit different as it’s savoury and sweet. It goes incredibly well with cheeses like St Agur, Wensleydale and cranberries and mature cheddar. This is the recipe my friend chose from the BBC Good Food website. All you need is strong flour for bread, a bit of fast action yeast, some decent olive oil, pepper and salt, chopped dried figs and a very large bowl for the bread to rise in. The kneading is a great stress buster/bicep workout too!
First up, put your salt, pepper, yeast and flour in a bowl. Add your olive oil. Work into a dough. 400-425ml of water is about right to get the mixture to form a smooth dough. According to Delia, the water should be hot for your little finger if you dip it in. Our water was a bit colder than that but I read the Delia ‘bible‘ later on. Then you need to leave the dough to rise for an hour in a warm place. Our kitchen was warm already and we wanted to pop out so we didn’t put it by the radiator. We left our bread to rise for two hours whilst we grabbed a coffee in Wimbledon Village and watched the perfectly coiffured pedigree pooches walk by! There’s a surprising number of them!
When we got home, our bread had doubled in size and we were ready to knead in the dried figs. I’d actually use less than 350g of figs, 250g seemed enough to us. Leave it to rise for another 10-15 mins and sprinkle with a bit of flour before putting in the oven. Don’t put it too high in the oven but I would recommend baking for 45-50 mins (or atleast in a fan oven like mine). We only baked ours for 45mins and it wasn’t quite enough.
To check it’s done, knock on the bottom and see if it sounds hollow. If not, give it another 5mins in the oven. Serve warm with yummy cheese and grapes like we did! I tested the bread out on my colleagues this afternoon and with some Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese, it went down a treat! Try it for yourselves!