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Mediterranean Bread

Mediterranean Bread

There is something to say about a bread that not only has a great mouthfeel and taste to it, but has an extra kick to it in the sense of flavours from added ingredients.

I used to make this bread mostly for picnics as it's a great standalone bread you can eat without butter. What is an even better way of eating it is with that lovely mixture of a premium olive oil and balsamic vinegar, for my personal choice, I would do a premium olive oil and flakes of “fleur de sel” or good sea salt.

INGREDIENTS:

4 ½ c. flour (unbleached is preferable)

1 package active dry yeast, or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast

1 ½ c. milk

2 tbsp. sugar

1 ½ tsp salt

1 egg

FILLING:

½ c. diced roasted peppers

½ diced sundried tomatoes

1 marinated hot pepper of your choice

2 tbsp. chopped basil

½ c. sliced black olives

½ c. diced prosciutto

1 tbsp. olive oil

½ tsp. salt

INSTRUCTIONS:

In large bowl or mixer bowl of your stand mixer, combine 2 cups of the flour and the yeast. Heat and stir milk, sugar and salt till warm, (105°F to 110°F). Add to flour mixture, add egg, and beat on low with hand mixer or using the stand mixer on low for 1 minute, scraping sides of bowl. Beat on medium for 3 minutes.

Change to dough hook in the stand mixer to incorporate the rest of the flour, or use a wooden spoon to stir in as much of the flour as you can. Beat on medium low with the dough hook for 4 minutes or so, or once the flour is combined with your wooden spoon, turn onto a floured surface and knead for a good 6 minutes.

Place in lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean damp cloth or cellophane wrap and let it rise till double, about an hour.

In the meantime, place all the ingredients for the filling in a bowl and stir.

Punch down and separate into 2 even portions to make 2loaves. Let it rest 10 minutes.

Roll out each portions into a 14x10 rectangle and spread half the filling in each center, close to the sides, roll tightly and pinch closed. Placed on a corn meal covered baking pan and let it rise till double again, about an hour. Slice across the top ¼-inch deep.

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Place the loaves in the center and bake for 30 minutes, until crust is golden and center sounds hollow.

Remove from oven and enjoy! 

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