Packed with cheesy flavour, tear a chunk (or two) from this Mediterranean parmesan bread
“This bread is made with a large quantity of yeast and so is quite quick to make. It has a craggy, rocky finish.
Place it in the middle of the table on a board and allow everyone to help themselves by pulling off pieces. It is highly flavoured and so perfect for serving with an otherwise simple salad meal.”
• 30g fresh yeast
• pinch caster sugar
• 300ml tepid water
• 450g strong white flour, plus extra to dust
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
• 50g parmesan cheese
• bunch basil
• 85g sun-dried tomatoes in oil
1 Put the yeast and sugar in a small bowl and stir in enough of the tepid water to make a smooth liquid.
2 Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the dissolved yeast, swilling out the yeast bowl with a little more of the water to ensure none is lost.
3 Add three quarters of the remaining water and the olive oil. Gradually draw in the flour and bring the mixture together into a soft dough, adding the remaining liquid if needed.
4 Knead the dough for 8–10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with lightly oiled cling film.
5 Leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size and soft and pillowy to the touch, about 30 minutes. Dust a large baking sheet with flour.
6 Grate the Parmesan, roughly chop the basil and slice the sun-dried tomatoes. Scatter all of these ingredients over a large board and cover with the dough. Using your largest chopping knife, chop the dough into pieces.
7 Now push the pieces back together. Repeat this twice more, until the cheese, tomato and basil are evenly distributed in seams through the dough.
8 Push the pieces of dough into a rough circle and transfer it to the floured baking sheet (it doesn’t matter if it is not fully stuck together as the loaf will continue to form as it proves and bakes).
9 Cover the dough loosely with lightly oiled cling film and leave for 20–30 minutes, or until it has increased in size by half again, and if you press the corner lightly with your finger, it leaves only a small indentation. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200°C.
10 Drizzle olive oil over the surface of the dough, then bake in the oven until brown and it sounds hollow when tapped on the underside, 30–40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Recipe courtesy of Leiths School of Food and Wine, extracted from How to Cook Bread.