Home baked bread can be a real pleasure to make and eat, not to mention the wonderful aromas as they waft through the house. I enjoy specialty bread with tomatoes, olives, cheese or combinations that work for me and it’s perfect to bake with the kids on a rainy day or scrumptious with a BBQ! I love to bake my own bread and in years past I used to bake bread every week using fresh yeast, but these days my time is in short supply and so I adapt. Ready to bake bread mixes are just perfect for adapting, this time I’ve used a mixture of multi seeded bread mix with a white bread mix but you can choose what suits your lifestyle the best. I’ve used delicatessen green olives stuffed with pimento for this recipe and I’ve chosen vintage cheddar cheese but you can choose what you enjoy.
1 or 2 packets of 500g bread mix, Wholemeal, Seeded or White.
100g Tomato Puree, roughly half a tube.
Olives, chopped, any variety as many as you like, I use about a handful of green pimento stuffed olives from the supermarket deli.
Sundried tomatoes, finely chopped and again just enough for flavour.
Grated cheese for topping, I like Vintage Cheddar but use your favourite.
Enough flour for kneading and handling your dough, strong flour or plain will do.
300ml or warm water per 500g packet mix.
Pre heat the oven to 230c or 210c for fan assisted ovens, Gas Mark 8
Add bread mix packet/packets to a large mixing bowl. If using two packs as I am, mix them together before adding the warm water, mix into a dough like consistency with a wooden spoon.
Next add the tomato puree and mix in thoroughly until fully distributed.
Once I’m at this point I like to divide the mixture in two to make two loaves before adding the olives to one half. The reason for making two separate loaves is that one half of my family enjoys olives while the other doesn’t.
Once we have two balls of dough I flatten one out a little and put the chopped olives and sundried tomatoes on top, folding in the olives carefully until all olives are enfolded into the dough ball.
Knead both dough balls by knocking them down with your knuckles and turning them over to knock them down again. The dough can now be put into a bread tin or shaping them as I enjoy doing.
Form a ball with your dough and gently model a rounded body with a pointy nose. Using a pair of scissors snip along the body making hedgehog spines.
Take the dough ball and cut approximately one third off, rolling both into balls.
Place the smaller ball on top of the larger one, then take a well-floured wooden spoon handle or your finger and push the small ball into the larger ball and give it a gentle twist.
Now slash along the sides of the loaf with a knive, but not too deep to make patterns on the loaf.
Now the bread is ready to be put to rise somewhere warm for 10-15 mins.
Once the bread has started to rise it’s time to put the cheese topping on and then into the oven to bake for about 30 mins although times may vary with each oven so keep a careful watch on it and be careful not to have the shelf above too close to the bread as it rises. If unsure whether your loaf is cooked give the bottom of the loaf a tap and if it sounds hollow your bread is ready!
I hope you enjoy your bread making and try different styles and ingredients as I do, it’s so simple and good fun to make, full of flavour for any occasion, BBQ’s or just served warm with butter. Happy baking!