From a bread-baking lesson I took at Jamie Olivers Recipease in Notting Hill
While traveling I always allow some general detouring from myusually healthy fare at home. On myrecent trip to Europe, I gave myself a one-pastry-a-day allowance. I felt that was reasonable for a short while.
While munching my daily croissant, I pondered the plight of bread in our current society. I wonder how well look back on our bread bashing days and if (for us non-celiacs) our cold-turkey gluten avoidance will come to anything. Or, is it a case of quality and everything-in-moderation?
I try not to overdo it in the wheat department either (at least in my regular routine) and aim to choose higher quality versions. When its not crappy white Wonderbread, theres something about bread that just feels wholesome. Not even for the nuts and bolts of the nutrients but in the tradition and the process of it. Even the atmosphere of a bakery.
The New Yorker recently published a very interesting article from which Id like to pull a few concepts for this and future Tweak & Eat discussions. For the first: even if using regular, white flour (which we use here) avoid at all costs bleached flour.
When bleached flour is used, chemicals like acetone peroxide, chlorine, and benzoyl peroxide (yes, the one used to treat acne) can be included in the recipe and are masked under the term bleached. Optional ingredients are also permissible in products called bread: shortening, sweeteners, ground dehulled soybeans, coloring, potassium bromate…and other dough strengtheners (such as bleaching agents and vital gluten).
4 cups unbleached regular flour
1 Tbsp sugar
Tbsp sea salt
1 sachets yeast
1 cups luke-warm water (maybe a little more once you get kneading)
Roasted pepper (1 or 2 from a jar,sliced up)
Marinated artichoke hearts (handful or so from a jar, chopped up)
Sundried tomatoes (handful or so from a jar, chopped up)
1 egg (for an egg wash at the end)
Handful of sesame seeds
Handful of black sesame seeds or poppy seeds
1. Combine the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl and stir to combine.
2. Add the yeast and half of the water and stir, slowlyincorporating the flour and scraping edges of the bowl. Slowly add the rest of the water a little at a time. Once most of the flour has been incorporated, transfer the dough onto the counter.
3. Begin to knead the dough for several minutes, at least until the dough has gotten silky and elastic-y.
4. Shape your dough into a ball and put it back into the bowl. Cover with saran wrap and allow it to prove or rise until it has doubled in size. (This will take about 30 minutes but will depend on the temperature of your kitchen.)
5. Once the dough has doubled, punch it back down knocking the air out of it. Allow it to rise a second time increasing in size once again.
6. Preheat the oven to 400F. And then transfer the dough back onto the counter (this time youll likely want the counter to be floured). Begin to roll the dough out into a large rectangular shape as thin as you can get it.
7. Once youve got your rectangle add the fillings in neat layers running the length of the dough. (Keep the filling to cover no more than 1/5 of the dough). Then begin to roll up your dough; keeping it in tight like youd roll up a camping mat.
8. Youll have a log now, shape it into a circle and tuck one end of the roll into the other, packing it in tightly. Transfer the roll onto a baking sheet covered in parchment.
9. Whisk up the egg in a small bowl, keeping both the yolk and the white, and brush all over the top surface of your dough roll. Sprinkle on your seeds and then pop the whole thing in the oven for about 30-35 minutes.
10. Keep watch and when your loaf has nicely browned and has a bit of a hollow sound when you tap it youre done!