Sunday, January 13, 2008

BBD #6 - Filled rolled bread

There's a thrill you'll never know if you never try
Why don't you give it a, give it a, give it a whirl ...

(From "Give It a Whirl" by Split Enz)

Life is always full of surprises, and this week, I have already had two pleasant ones. First - I found out that I can successfully make bread. Second - I found out that other people liked my bread!

Eva at Sweet Sins is hosting Bread Baking Day #6, and the theme is shaped breads. Not generally being a bread baker, I was a little hesitant at taking up the challenge (I have plenty of stories from friends about the rock hard loaves produced from their bread machines!). However, I decided to "give it a whirl", and was really surprised at the result.

I searched through my cookbooks, and the only shaped bread that I hit upon was a large doughnut shaped construction in Happy Days with the Naked Chef by Jamie Oliver. This recipe was for a rolled bread filled with ham, cheese, basil, olives, tomatoes and eggs. This sounded like a seriously delicious combination, so I set to work on it.

Jamie's instructions start with making his basic, all purpose bread dough. Now, I should have known that I was going to end up with a Frankenstein's monster sized loaf when I read that this recipe contained a whole kilo of flour - but being a lawyer, numbers are not my strong point, and I forged ahead. If that didn't tip me off, the serious quantities of cheese (400g) and boiled eggs (8) should have - but the numeric sector of my brain was clearly not working, because I simply halved the number of eggs, clicking my tongue at what I saw as a huge waste of good eggs, and kept going. (I blame my lack of brain function at the time on the horrendous cold that I subsequently developed, and which has now blossomed into a full blown lurgy.)

The resulting bread is enormous!!!! I didn't have a baking sheet large enough to hold it comfortably, and it almost bumped the roof of the oven as it baked. Once the bread was finished, I looked at it, then looked at me, tasted a slice, marvelled at how filling it was, and only then wondered what on earth I was going to do with it all! Luckily, I had made it to take to dinner at my friend Veronica's place, so Veronica became the recipient of half of it. I optimistically placed the other half in the fridge for later, then the next morning, reality dawned - this lovely tasting bread with buckets of ingredients would be "dead" (in the way that only fresh food can die) before I could plough through the remaining half by myself. Somewhere in my addled mind, I realised that the obvious solution was to take it to work to share - and they loved it! There wasn't enough to go round everyone who wanted some, and all the comments I received were favourable (hope they just weren't being nice!).

A cross section of the bread showing all of the ingredients is as follows:

If you would like to make your very own "doughnut bread", here is how to do it:


1kg plain flour
625ml cold water
21g dried yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons salt
more plain flour to dust work surfaces and the dough

Place the flour into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Into the well, tip half the water, the yeast, sugar and salt, and mix the ingredients in the well with the handle of a spoon until combined. Slowly combine the flour from outside the well with the water, trying not to break the walls of the well, until all of the water has been soaked up by the flour. Next, add the remaining water to the centre of the mixture, and combine with flour until it forms a thick paste, then combine all of the remaining flour with the gooey centre, using your hands, until a dough ball forms. (If this sounds confusing for any non-bread bakers out there, it is! I had no idea what I was doing.) If your dough is too sticky to knead, add more flour; if it's too dry, add more water.

Once you have a dough that is of a consistency that you can knead, proceed to fold it, squish it, push it and roll it around on a floured surface until your dough is smooth and soft. This will take a few minutes, but have faith - it magically comes together eventually! Once the dough is smooth, place it in a clean large mixing bowl, cover it with cling wrap, and put it in a light, warm place for about half an hour to rise. (I placed it under the touch lamp in my bedroom.) When the dough has doubled in size, you are ready to shape and fill it.


8 thin slices of ham
4 hard boiled eggs, shelled and sliced thinly
3 small tomatoes, sliced thinly
a large handful of fresh basil
10 black olives, pitted and halved
400g grated cheese
oil (I used canola)
salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Roll out the bread dough until it forms a long thin rectangle about 1cm thick. (Mine was 20cm wide and 70cm long). Spread the filling ingredients out along the centre of the entire length of the bread, leaving an even border of dough on each long end. Drizzle the filling with oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Wrap the dough on each side over the filling to form a filled tube of bread, then join up the two ends by squeezing them together to form a large doughnut shape (ie a ring with a hole in the middle). Place the bread on a large oiled baking sheet, allow to rise for 15 minutes, dust the bread lightly with flour and place it in the oven to bake for about 35 minutes or until golden. (Mine took about 45 minutes.)

Enjoy the bread warm or cold. My preference is for it to be warm, but other people said that they enjoyed it cold. It is just like a very well-stuffed sandwich, and hence is very filling. That said, it is delicious. You could play with the filling combination (eg those that dislike olives can leave them out; lovers of another ingredient, such as marinated artichokes or eggplant, could add them).

This experience with bread making has reminded me that I should confidently take on new experiences and "[face] the future with a smile on [my] face, win or lose" (another quote from Split Enz's "Give It a Whirl" - I am attending their Wellington concert in March, and I can't wait!).

I look forward to seeing all the marvellous shaped breads from around the world when Eva posts the roundup for Bread Baking Day #6.

Postscript: The wonderful roundup has been posted by Eva here and here.


Laurie Constantino said...

I just had my own bread baking challenge, although it was not initally as succesful as yours. This looks wonderful, and I'm with you about serving it warm. When baking, confidence is often the key!

Cakelaw said...

Thanks Laurie. I agree - you've just got to give it a go.

Rosie said...

Your bread looks delish and wonderful!! Once you've mastered the basic skills to bread making its great fun don't you think?

Great post :D

Rosie x

Cakelaw said...

Hi Rosie, Yes, it definitely feels like you have achieved something. Looking forward to making my next loaf!

Kitchen Goddess said...

That looks lovely. That recipe is a favourite of mine. Baking bread always feels like a real achievement - such a wonderful process.

Cakelaw said...

I agree Kitchen Goddess - I look forward to learning more about bread baking this year.

Eva said...

I'm happy to see that you decided to give it a whirl! Thanks for participating! I've already posted the first part of the round-up - the next one will come up soon!

Cakelaw said...

Thanks for hosting this event Eva. I will be sure to check out the roundup.

zorra said...

Welcome to the bakers guild! Your bread looks delicious.

Lien said...

Your bread looks amazing! Great idea to take out on a picknick! Yummy!

Cakelaw said...

Thanks Lien - it is very filling.

Y said...

Looks like a piles pillow! .. but with a filling of ham and cheese, how can you go wrong :)