Happy Bread

Not really a ciabatta, the semolina and olive oil give this bread a decidedly Mediterranean, and annoyingly cheerful aspect. Therefore ideal for wet, miserable days.

These quantities make a very small loaf. (Multiply as required.)

  • 225g strong white flour
  • 25 semolina (plus extra for coating)
  • 1tbsp (15mL) extra virgin olive oil – in the past I’ve slipped and sloshed in twice this amount and it was good
  • 5g salt
  • ½ tsp dried yeast
  • 200mL very warm water

Mix the flour, semolina, dried yeast thoroughly.

Mix the warm water and salt, so that the salt is properly dissolved.

Add the olive oil, and then gradually add the water, bringing together with your hands into a soft sticky dough. You’ll know it’s enough liquid, when the dough starts sticking to itself and detaching from the sides of the bowl. (You may, of course, need slightly less or slightly more water.)

Put a tiny blob of olive oil on a clean flat surface, and spread with your hands until it’s a thin film. Turn out the dough onto this surface and knead for ten minutes. Form into a ball. (Buy Mr Stevens’ book if you’re unsure on how to do this.)

Clean out the bowl, oil the interior lightly, and pop the dough here, covered, until risen. Deflate the dough, arrange it in your favourite shape and roll/dust it with more semolina. Let it prove, and pop into an oven on max. Ten minutes on max, followed by another 20 at 180ºC should do it.

Pass the olives and prosciutto.

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