Cheese and Tomato Swirl Loaf

The smell of this bread cooking is wonderful and the first cut into it causes impressed amazement as a perfect swirl of red tomato bread is revealed within the cheese dough. Your secret is that, using fast-action easy-blend dried yeast and with only one rising, it is extremely easy to make.

Ingredients

  • 750 g ( lb) strong white flour
  • 1 rounded tablespoon crushed sea salt
  • 1 sachet fast-action easy-blend dried yeast
  • About 1 rounded tablespoon fresh chopped tarragon or 3 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 375 ml (13 fl oz) warm water
  • 2 rounded tablespoon tomato puree
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 9 tablespoons olive oil, plus a little extra
  • 150 g (5 oz) mature Cheddar cheese, grated
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed

Method

Put the flour into a large bowl with the sea salt and yeast and mix together. Measure out 300 g (10 oz) of this mixture and place into another large bowl. Stir in the chopped tarragon or dried oregano. Pour 150 ml (¼ pint) of warm water into a measuring jug and stir in the tomato puree, paprika and 4 tablespoons olive oil. Using a wooden spoon, stir this mixture into the bowl containing the flour with herbs until it sticks together. Knead the dough on an unfloured surface for 2—3 minutes into a smooth ball.

Using either a wooden spoon or your hands mix all but 1 tablespoon of the grated cheese into the remaining flour, adding the cayenne pepper and the crushed garlic. Stir in the remaining warm water with 5 tablespoons olive oil. Knead the dough on a lightly floured sur face for 2-3 minutes into a ball of fairly soft but just dry dough.

Roll out the cheese dough on an unfloured surface into a large circle about 5 mm (¼ in) thick. Roll out the tomato dough slightly thinner into a circle almost as big. Lay the tomato dough on top of the cheese dough and roll up both doughs together like a Swiss roll. Turn under at the ends.

Place the roll of dough on a large greased baking sheet, brush with olive oil and cut slanting slashes across the roll at 2.5–4 cm (1–½ in) intervals. Sprinkle all over with the reserved grated cheese. Put the baking sheet into a large plastic bag and fold the bag ends under the baking sheet, trapping plenty of air. Leave at room temperature for 1½—2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.

Bake the loaf for 20 minutes at 230°C, 450°F, Gas Mark 8, then reduce to 200°C, 400°F, Gas Mark 6 for another 20-25 minutes. Cool the loaf on a rack and eat while warm, or slice and toast.

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