The Beauty Of Bread - Mediterranean Style!

Baking out of the ordinary breads to compliment other foods is not a difficult task, all you need is a reliable basic dough recipe.... and a bit of imagination. You can add whichever flavorings you like, from herbs and vegetables, to meats and spices,  to cheese.......some examples are pancetta and onion....but do fry the pancetta and sweat off the onions and let them cool before adding then to your raw dough! you can also try saffron & sun dried tomato, olive & rosemary, sage & apple, cheese and chive.......oh the combinations are limitless, so try some experimentation for yourself!

For this example I prepared a single batch of the basic dough from which I made two different types of bread...... I love the flavors of the Mediterranean so I made Black Tapenade Spiral rolls and a Tomato & Basil Swirl loaf.

Tapenade is a puree of olives, usually black, with garlic, olive oil, anchovies & garlic, for the tomato & basil I used a sun-dried tomato & basil pesto.....for convenience both can be bought from a good deli or from most supermarkets. I do like proper deli ones though as they tend to have fresher flavors compared to the products that come in jars....if you are adventurous in the kitchen you can make your own!

For the basic dough you will need...........

500 g strong white bread flour
2 x 7 g sachets of dried yeast
1 level teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons castor sugar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
approx 250 - 300 mls hand hot water

2 - 3 tablespoons black tapenade
1 - 2 tablespoons tomato & basil pesto

How to......
spread with a thin layer of tapenade sieve the flour and salt into a mixing bowl, add the yeast and sugar, mix aroundadd the olive oil and begin to mix on a slow speedadd the water a little at a time until the dough begins to come togethermix on medium speed until the dough is smooth and comes away cleanly from the sides of the bowlturn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for two minutesroll into a round ball and cover with your mixing bowl, leave to rise for 20 minuteswith tomato & basil pesto knock the dough back by kneading it until smooth again then divide into two ballsroll the first ball in a rectangular shape and spread with a thin layer of the tapenaderoll up the dough into a sausage shapeslice the dough at an angle and place the spiral slices on a baking sheetroll out the second ball in a round flat shape, spread on the tomato pestofold the dough over onto itself twice to achieve a loaf shape, place on a baking sheet and score the top with a sharp knifeL - tapenade spirals R - tomato & basil swirl loafallow the breads to rise again for another 30 minutesbake in a pre-heated oven at 200 oC for approx 20 minutes or until nicely browned......the tapenade spirals will be ready before the tomato loaf so bake them on separate trays
Serve these with soups, salads or with main course dishes, the tomato bread is also delicious toasted and served with goats cheese or even pate spread on top, try melting some cheddar on top and serving with soup for a light lunch...... the tapenade bread is perfect for dipping in or mopping up the gravy of a rich, wine soaked stew.......bon appetit!