Stromboli and a bread masterclass with my Mum
I very rarely make my own bread, especially without the aid of a breadmaker, and was surprised to discover how much I enjoyed making Lincolnshire Plum Bread. I really fancied having a go at some different types of bread but was lacking some confidence.
So I booked into a masterclass with my Mum. She’s made her own bread for the last *cough* 30 years or so and was the obvious person to give me a bit of advice. Mum makes a huge variety of bread, it’s all lovely but my all time favourite isStromboli– or stuffed focaccia.
A light bread, with various cheeses and meats scattered over the top and then rolled – swiss roll like – to make a loaf filled with deliciousness. It’s ideal for a picnic or to use in a lunchbox in place of the normal sandwiches.
The dough here is a basic focaccia dough and can be used to make a traditional flat bread. Just follow the stages in the same way and when the dough is rolled out, ‘dimple’ it with your fingertips, rub with olive oil and salt and bake in the same way. You can also add toppings, pizza like.
Mum and I made one each side by side and it was a lot easier with her giving me little tips along the way.
- Use a good quality olive oil as it really does help the flavour.
- The oil makes the dough lovely to work with, though remember that a light touch is needed.
- It’s important to knead the dough for 10 minutes, as you reach the end of the time you should be able to see small bubbles if you give it a gentle squeeze.
- If you see larger bubbles when you roll it out then you know you’ve done it right!
For the dough
450g strong white flour
1 ½ tsp easy-blend dried yeast
1tsp coarse sea salt, plus extra for scattering
3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing the bowl and drizzling prior to baking
350ml hand hot water
For the filling
This really is up to you; use whatever you fancy or what you have in the house. I used black pepper boursin, sundried tomatoes, roasted peppers and fresh basil. My dad is rather fond of mozzarella, salami and sundried tomatoes.
Mix the flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Make a well and add the oil. Slowly add the water, mixing until you have a soft dough.
Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knead gently for 10 minutes until smooth. You can add a little more flour if the dough is sticky to begin with, though be careful not to add too much and give the dough a chance to absorb what you have added before using more.
Lightly oil your bowl and place the dough back in. Cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place for around an hour until the dough has doubled in size. It may take longer than this depending on how warm the room is.
When risen, remove from the bowl and knead lightly only 4 or 5 times, you don’t want to knock out much air so a gentle touch is needed here.
Preheat the oven to 200c/180c fan/gas 6 and lightly oil a large baking tray.
Roll out the dough to a rectangular shape, about 1cm thick. Scatter your fillings over and roll up like a swiss roll, tucking the ends in and under. Place on the baking tray with the join underneath. Cover with a tea towel and leave for 10 minutes. It won’t rise much more at this stage though.
Pierce the roll all over and all the way through with a sharp knife. Drizzle over some more olive oil, rubbing it in lightly with your hands, and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 30-35 minutes until cooked through and golden. Cool on a wire rack
When the bread is cooked, it will sound hollow when you tap the bottom.