My, but yesterday was a busy, busy day. I was in the kitchen and baking bread at 8:30 in the morning! During the course of the day Alberto and I cooked loads of tasty food to delight our guests with and went out to another party. Busy! I’ve not got photos of everything that I cooked, partly ’cause we were too busy cooking to take pics and partly ’cause our guests fell on the food like starved locusts. Which is very complimentary.
I started with some delicious spicy bread which is, again, from the Gino D’Acampo Italian Home Baking cookbook.
Makes 1 loaf
225 strong white bread flour
100g wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon of salt
7g fast acting dried yeast
210 ml warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 teaspoons dried chilli flakes
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
(This does make the bread very hot. I tend to go for ½-¾ of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper, 2 teaspoons of dried chilli flakes and a teaspoon of smoked paprika instead.)
Brush a baking tray and the inside of a large bowl with olive oil.
Mix the flours, salt and yeast together in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the water and olive oil and mix to create a soft dough.
Pop the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball and place in the oiled bowl. Cover with clingfilm and leave it to rise for an hour in a warm place away from draughts.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and punch down. Flatted out and sprinkle over the chilli flakes, cayenne pepper (and smoked paprika). Fold up and knead again for 3 minutes.
Shape into an oval loaf, place on the baking tray and leave to rest for 5 minutes.
Use a sharp knife to make four diagonal cuts on the top of the loaf. Brush with oil and cover with clingfilm. Leave it to rise in a warm place, away from draughts, for 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200.
Brush the top of the loaf with more oil and bake in the middle of the oven for 35 minutes.
This bread is absolutely delicious and goes particularly well with Spanish manchego cheese. It’s spicy but not too spicy, and the cayenne pepper and paprika give the bread a lovely marbled appearance. Kneading it with the chilli flakes in can be a bit taxing as they keep falling out but it’s worth persevering!