It’s week 3 (although only the second one for me) of this years Great British Bake Off and this week the contestants will be making bread. Bread. With like, yeast, and things. I can’t be the only blogger whose heart sank when they revealed that, can I? I don’t know the first thing about making bread. I only mastered pizza dough a few months ago and if that went wrong you could probably hide it with cheese…
I was just about to rush out and buy a bread maker but I thought I should probably see this as an opportunity to get over one of my biggest kitchen fears and actually make some bread from scratch. I’ve started with a pretty simple loaf combining some of my favourite summer flavours, sundried tomatoes and feta cheese. The salty feta is so nice against the sweetness of the tomatoes and it makes a nice alternative to a plain loaf.
My recipe below is based on this one from Paul Hollywood - I thought since he is basically the king of bread that I wouldn’t be able to go very far wrong and that seems to have been a good decision. While my first loaf was a little doughy in the middle from being removed too early from the oven, the second was undeniably a loaf of bread. I was probably more surprised and excited by this than I should have been considering its just a loaf of bread but there we go. If I can do it then anyone can.
I’m really excited to see what they make on the show this week considering their limited time and how much time can be spent proving to get a good loaf of bread. This recipe took about 3 hours and it's not going to win any beauty contests (although it is delicious) so I’m expecting it’s going to be a pretty tough week in the tent! In the meantime though, my recipe for feta and sundered tomato bread is below and you can find all of the recipes for #TheGreatBloggerBakeOff here.
500g strong flour
150g feta cheese
50g sundried tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp fast acting yeast
55ml olive oil
1/2 sprig of fresh rosemary
Start by mixing the bread, yeast, salt, water and oil together until they combine and form a dough. Knead for about 5-10 minutes then cover and set aside for an hour to rise.
Take some kitchen and roll and try and pat as much liquid from the tomatoes and feta as you can and then chop them into small chunks along with the rosemary. Once the dough has risen, lightly flour a countertop and then knead some more, working in your other ingredients and some more flour. Cut the dough in half and shape each half into a ball to make two round loaves. Press these down onto a sheet of baking paper and place somewhere warm for another hour to prove.
Bake your loaves at 220C for around 30 minutes, they should be nicely browned by this point! You should really then put them on a rack to cool down but we got impatient and ate ours right away while it was still warm and I'd definitely recommend it like that.
Fresh bread is such a surprisingly simple thing to do but so incredibly rewarding, I'm pretty glad I finally got over my fear of it for this challenge because I might be brave enough to make it much more often now. What will you be cooking during the bake off this week?