I really enjoy making bread. Unfortunately though, as the process is pretty long, I don’t make it as often as I’d like. Nor do I make it as often as I’d like to eat homemade bread. So, although even the most basic homemade loaf can still taste fantastic, this time I decided to make things a bit more exciting and add sun-dried tomatoes and olives to my bread. I’ve called this ‘sharing’ bread because making the loaf in the way I’ve done below – as a whole load of little rolls – means that it is easy to tear off individual portions. Here’s the recipe. All the cup measurements were made using a 250 ml mug.
What you’ll need:
3 cups flour (I only had self-raising so that’s what I used, but normally you should use plain flour)
1 sachet fast-action yeast (each sachet holds 7 grams of yeast)
3/4 cup soaked, dried sun-dried tomatoes (what a mouthful – basically I soaked the dried tomatoes (as opposed to using ones in oil – not sure how that would work), drained them, and then piled them into the mug until it was about 3/4 full)
3/4 cup olives
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup warm water (about half water straight from the cold tap and half just-boiled water)
What to do:
1. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and then add the yeast. Stir all the ingredients to thoroughly combine them.
2. Dry the tomatoes and olives well. I did this using kitchen towel and probably should have dried them a bit more than I did. Roughly chop them and then add and mix them into the flour mixture.
3. Add the olive oil and warm water to the bowl and then mix with a wooden spoon to combine all the ingredients.
4. Tip the dough out onto a clean, lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes. I found this dough pretty sticky so had to keep flouring the surface and my hands. If you do this, try to keep it to the minimum possible (not like in the photo below) as most of what you put on the surface and on your hands will end up being incorporated into the dough. If you’ve never kneaded bread dough before, just pretend you’re massaging it and you’ll be fine!
5. Cover the bowl with a clean, damp tea towel and leave to rise somewhere warm for about an hour.
6. Tip the dough out onto a clean, lightly floured surface and knead again for a few minutes. Divide the dough into small balls – it doesn’t matter if they are not even (mine varied between about one and quarter and one and a half the size of golf balls) – and put the balls close together on a baking tray which has been lightly greased with a bit more olive oil. Keep your hands lightly floured as you divide the dough into rolls – you’ll probably need to keep re-flouring them as the dough is pretty sticky.
7. Cover the dough with a clean, damp tea towel again and leave somewhere warm to rise for about another hour. To check whether the dough has risen enough or not, gently push it with your forefinger – when the dough is ready it will spring back into place.
8. Towards the end of the hour, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5. When the dough has risen, bake the bread in the middle of the pre-heated oven for 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown and yummy. Yours should look like the top third of the bread in the photo below. I was experimenting on the bottom two-thirds and tried brushing the loaf with olive oil before I put it into the oven. Don’t try this – it just knocks some of the air out of the dough and makes the final result look slightly flat, as you can see!