Stuffed Olive Oil Bread

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Method

The Italians make wonderful breads using olive oil for richness of flavour and texture, with delicious additions such as stoned, chopped olives or snipped sun-dried tomatoes, fresh or dried herbs, pieces of salami, or grated cheese.

This stuffed olive oil bread is sensational served fresh from the oven, but it will keep for 1-2 days.

To make 2 loaves, mix together 750 g (½1b) strong white flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons dried oregano and 1 sachet easy-blend yeast in a large bowl.

  1. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and 450 ml (¾ pint) warm water. Mix into a firm dough, adding extra water if needed. Place on a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes or until smooth.

  2. Shape the dough into a ball. Pour 3 more tablespoons olive oil into the bowl, then return the dough, turning to coat in the oil. Place in a large plastic bag, folding the ends under the bowl, trapping in plenty of air. Leave to rise until doubled in size.

  3. Knead the dough for 2—3 minutes, then divide in half and knead again for 1 minute. Roll each half to a 30 × 20cm (12 × 8in) rectangle. Scatter with about 200 g (7 oz) of your chosen flavourings. Roll each piece up like a Swiss roll.

  4. Place on greased baking sheets. Curl into rounds or leave in long rolls, sealing the edges with water. Cover and leave to rise. Brush with more oil and bake at 200° C, 400°F, Gas Mark 6 for 35—40 minutes until golden. Cool the loaves on wire racks.

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