Monday, 25 January 2010

Sundried Tomato Bread

1 lb strong white flour
1/2 pint warm water
1/2 oz dried active yeast
2 generous tablespoons caster sugar
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/2 jar sundried tomatoes
Flour for dusting

Kitchen equipment you will need:

A small loaf tin, sharp knife, chopping board, scales, measuring jug, a coffee mug, clean damp tea cloth, dinner plate and a clean dry work surface with plenty of space.

Measure all of your ingredients seperatly. Chop half a jar of sundried tomatos into small pieces(about the size of your fingernail). Put the yeast, sugar, salt into the coffee mug and stir the dry ingredients together.

Pour the flour onto your work surface and create a mound of flour like a volcano, now with the base of your coffee mug push down into the centre of your volcano until you reach the work surface.

While doing this you will need to place your hands around the outside of the volcano to create a unbreakable wall. The shape you are now looking for is a big white floury ring doughnut.

Pour the contents of the coffee mug into the centre of the well, and by using 1 finger start working the some of the flour into your mix but make sure your walls are secure. So if one side starts to break down you will need to take flour from the around other side. Scatter the tomato pieces randomly around the top of the flour working your way into the middle.


Ensure your water is luke warm and slowly add part of your water into the centre of the well, while the water is being poured you will need to mix with your fingers all the ingredients together with the flour. The idea is to add little water often for two reasons : 1. so the dough is not too soggy by over watering, 2. if you were to add all the water at the same time it would become very difficult to prevent your walls from collasping when you mixed.
Keep adding the water gradually and mixing the flour until you have created a dough ball, it is possible you may need some more liquid, so do so adding a little at a time. Pick up your dough and sprinkle a generous amount of flour on to your worktop. you will to flour both side of your dough.

Now comes the hard work and the more work you put in now the better the results and it is well worth the effort when you tuck into a warm piece of bread you made.
Keep the work surface well floured.
You need to stretch and roll the dough hard against the work surface, by taking the edge of the dough push it into the centre of the dough and pull back. Repeat this process the whole length of the dough. Turn the dough round a quarter and repeat the stretch and rolling. Repeat the whole process for 10 minutes, keep the work surface floured to prevent the dough from sticking. Now your arms and fingers are close to dropping off shape your dough to match that of your loaf tin.

Almost there

Grease your bread tin throughly and drop a tablespoon of flour into the tin. Shake the flour all around the tin so all the tin has a light dusting of flour, it may help to knock the tin gently against the work suface for larger lumps of flour.
Place your dough into the tin and leave covered with your damp tea cloth for about an hour in a warm dry place(airing cupboard, a switched off oven). Depending on the temperature depends on how long you need to leave it for, but you need it to double in size. So leaping forward an hour or so, remove the tea cloth and pre-heat your oven to 175c for ten minutes(take your bread out of the oven if thats where you have been waiting patiently for it to double in size). Place your bread tin into the centre of the oven for 30-40 mins.


Now it's time to reap the benifits of all the hard work you put in earlier. Carefully take the bread out of the oven and place on your dinner plate. Using your knuckle, knock on the centre of the bread, like you were knocking on a door. The bread should be firm and you should hear a hollow knocking sound. If you hear anything different from that you will need to put it back in the oven for a bit till its done. Leave the bread to cool, then slice as required and enjoy!

If you enjoyed making this bread why not try adding other flavours instead off sundried tomatoes like cheese, onion, herbs or olives. The principle is the same just add the things you like.

My Birthday Weekend

I turned 35 this weekend, not welcoming the mid 30's with open arms just yet, thought it would be best to have comfort food. So on Saturday we made sundried tomato bread to eat with our chicken and mushroom rissotto. On Sunday we made beef stew and dumplings and just to finish the weekend off, a sponge cake bursting with strawberry jam and butter icing. I would like to share with you how all these tasty dishes came together.