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    Savoury Picnic Bread

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    Savoury Picnic Bread

    This loaf, packed with the intense flavours of chorizo sausage, Gruyère cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts and thyme, is made for sharing. It is also an ideal choice for picnics as it is divided into portions. Break up the loaf as needed. There is no need for a bread knife, sandwiches or even plates. The bread is made from scratch, showing how easy it is to create a light, Italian-style loaf from basic ingredients. Add a bottle of Monasterio de Santa Ana Monastrell, Jumilla, Spain, to your picnic - the smooth flavours will temper the spicy chorizo.

    Makes: 1 Loaf (Breaks into 8 Portions)

    Ingredients

    • 400g Waitrose Strong White Bread Flour
    • 7g sachet Allinson Easybake Dried Yeast
    • ½ pack fresh thyme, chopped
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 4 tbsp Waitrose Select Chilli Oil
    • 225g Chorizo de Pueblo Sausage Ring
    • 2 x 80g Merchant Gourmet Organic Sun Dried Tomatoes or 160g tub Waitrose Marinated Sun Dried Tomatoes (from the delicatessen chiller cabinet)
    • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
    • 75g pine nuts, lightly toasted
    • 175g Waitrose Gruyère Cheese, grated

    Method

    1. To make the dough, mix together the flour, yeast, thyme and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and add 3 tbsp of the oil and 250ml warm water. Using a round-bladed knife, mix the ingredients to form a soft dough. If the dough feels dry, add a little water, sparingly.
    2. Turn out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. (Refer to Cook's Tips for kneading tips.) Place in a large, lightly-oiled bowl. Cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place for about 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size.
    3. Meanwhile, remove the skin and thinly slice the chorizo sausage and roughly chop the tomatoes. Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and fry the chorizo sausage along with the onion and pine nuts for about 3 minutes, until they are just starting to colour. Leave to cool completely.
    4. Using a floured hand, punch the risen dough to knock out the air bubbles. Turn out onto a floured surface, knead lightly then roll out to a 30cm square. Spread with the sausage and onion mixture so the ingredients are evenly dispersed. Scatter with the chopped tomatoes then sprinkle with the cheese.
    5. Grease the loose-bottom, round cake tin. Roll up the dough, Swiss roll-style, so that the filling is enclosed. Using your hands, gently squeeze the dough to elongate it until it measures about 50cm in length. Then, with a lightly-floured, sharp knife, slice the dough roll into 8 equal pieces.
    6. Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6. Arrange the dough, cut ends up, in the greased tin, spacing them out evenly. The dough will rise during proving to fill any gaps. Cover with a piece of oiled clingfilm and leave in a warm place for about 45 minutes until the dough has risen to the top of the tin. Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden. Remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack.

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    Cook's tips

    If you are planning a picnic and need to prepare food in advance, make this loaf the day before and chill overnight in the fridge.

    The dough is kneaded to develop the gluten. To knead, use the heel of your hand to stretch out the dough then fold it in half and continue. Keep kneading for 5-10 minutes. Once fully kneaded, the dough will become smooth and elastic.

    Proving is the time that the dough is left covered either with lightly-oiled clingfilm or a clean, damp tea towel. It is usually left for 1½ to 2 hours in a warm place, until doubled in size. An airing cupboard or warm room is ideal.

    Kitchen tools

    Mixing bowl
    Measuring spoons
    Measuring jug
    Round-bladed knife
    Clingfilm
    Sharp knife
    Chopping board
    Frying pan
    Rolling pin
    Loose-bottom round cake tin, 23cm diameter
    Grater
    Wire cooling rack

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