I did say I’d get round to making my own bread at some point! This recipe is very easy to make, though you do need to start a day ahead. It jazzes up any soup or salad dinner perfectly. You can vary the toppings with anything that you need using up.
I met Anna Pitt on Monday who is a big advocate of Zero Waste and she suggested I go through all my cupboards and to see if there was anything that needed using up, and sure enough, lurking at the back of the fridge I found a jar of Jalapeños – I must’ve bought them for a Mexican dish many many moons ago, and some lonely looking sundried tomatoes. They looked fine, and I thought they could make a wonderful topping for a spicy Focaccia to go with the parsnip and coconut soup I made on Monday.
Keeping in local and healthy
I love using wholemeal grains as they are so much more nutrient dense. Shipton Mill sell their own flour which is grown and milled just down the road in Tetbury, Gloucestershire. A Kilo is a bit more expensive than a Supermarket brand but the taste is second to none. Here’s the recipe – it’s adapted from Peter Reinhart’s wholegrain breads.
In a bowl, mix 250g of wholemeal flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 5g dried yeast, 240ml warm water and 1 tsp of sugar for 2 minutes.The dough will be sticky, but smooth. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the dough and mix for a few seconds. Now let the dough rest, uncovered for 5 minutes and then mix it again for another 2 minutes. If the dough is too wet, add a small amount of flour.
Line a tray with baking paper and add 1/2 Tbsp olive oil to grease the paper including the side walls. Place the dough in the tray. Rub the top of the dough with 1 tsp of olive oil. Flatten the dough a little using the palms of your hands. Don’t worry if it doesn’t cover the entire baking tray, it will once it’s risen. Cover the tray tightly with clingfilm and refrigerate overnight.
The next day take out the dough from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 4 hours. Remove the clingfilm covering the dough and drizzle on 1 tsp of olive oil. Using your fingertips, starting in the middle, press the dough so that it begins to fill out the tray. Loosely cover the pan and let it sit for 20 minutes. Repeat this procedure a second and third time. After the third cover the tray and let it sit for 2 hours.
When the 2 hours is nearly over, preheat the oven at gas mark 10 / 260 C/ 500 F. Sprinkle on your toppings – I used jalapeños, sun dried tomatoes and a grating of cheese, but just herbs, sea salt and olive oil would also be delicious! Reduce the oven temperature to gas mark 8 / 230 C/ 450 F and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the tray around 180 degrees and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove it from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Slice and enjoy!
250g whole wheat flour = 32p
Salt, yeast, sugar = 5p
Olive oil = 5p
Tomato = 10p
Cheese = 30p
20g Jalapeños = 10p
Total = £1.02 (25p a portion)