Bread week has been one of my least favourite weeks in the bake off. I don’t eat a lot of bread, and other than very simple dough balls I have only ever attempted bread once. Last year’s dough-saster was a greasy horrible blob of mess which after two bites, ended up outside on the window ledge for the birds to pick at.
After that horrific experience I was a little nervous to try bread again. I spent a good hour or so searching for bread inspiration online and then set aside Saturday afternoon to give it a go, in the hope that come dinner time I would have some lovely bread to dunk in a melty Camembert – and enjoy with a nice bottle of something.
Initially I wanted to make a bread crown/ring to bake around the Camembert creating a showstopper piece…. It didn’t quite work out like that.
I made the dough, let it prove for an hour, I then divided the dough into three equal-ish blobs and rolled them out into long strips. Although not long enough as these didn’t quite manage to wrap all the way around the cheese. If i make this bread again, i definitely need to make the strips thinner and longer.
I filled each strip with leftovers from the fridge, one with sun dried tomato pesto, one with basil pesto, and one with chorizo and onion, which i cooked and then let them drain on kitchen roll to try and minimise the greasiness. I then rolled each strip up and then attempted to plait them. I am calling this creation a Mediterranean plait; Italian pesto and Spanish chorizo all dunked in French cheese!!
The chorizo strand of the plait was by far my favourite, the sweet onions and chorizo worked really well with the camembert and G actually ended up picking this strand out of the plait to finish it off.
For the bread:
1 cup warm water
2 tsp yeast
2 1/2 cups flour or bread flour, plus more for dusting work surface
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
For the fillings:
1 or 2 tbsp sundried tomato Pesto
1 or 2 tbsp basil Pesto
1/2 an onion finely chopped.
about 50g chorizo chopped into small pieces
1 tsp poppy seeds (optional)
Place the warm water in a bowl, sprinkle the yeast over and let it sit for 5 minutes.
Add the flour, oil, and salt and mix until the dough starts shaping into a ball then knead for 4-5 minutes.
Lightly grease the bowl; replace the dough back into the bowl, lightly spray the top of the dough and cover with a towel. Let rise for about 45 minutes to an hour in a slightly warmed oven or a draft-free spot in the kitchen. Dough should be doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 180.
Lightly flour the work surface, Separate into three equal sized blobs, roll out into long thin strips.
Spoon pesto or other fillings over top, spreading evenly with a knife or spatula, leaving a clean 1cm border around the edges.
Roll the long side of the dough into a semi-tight roll and pinch the side-seam closed.
Place the strands side-by-side, pinching the top ends together, braid the strips together. Pinch the ends together.
This is where I then planned to shape into a wreath/ crown, by securing both ends together. But my plait was a little bit too thick and not long enough to wrap around my camembert box.
Transfer to a lined baking tray and loosely cover the top with cling film and let rest for 30 minutes. It should rise a bit more during this time.
Glaze with an egg wash and chuck a few poppy seeds on then bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
Let cool slightly and enjoy while warm.