I just wanted to try the pull-apart recipe again, to see if I could manage the miraculous "second rising" of the bread dough. I started this before I checked to see if I had any cheese - and sure enough, when I did get around to checking the fridge, there was no cheese - no, not even a bog-standard Cheddar *sigh*. I couldn't go out to get cheese because of all the snow (it's been snowing all day) and because I didn't want to venture out into the freezing cold.
This should have been a CHEESY bread... ideally I was hoping to use feta, as a Mediterranean cheese to go with the somewhat Mediterraneanish Dukkah (Sainsbury's finest version, I'll have you know).
(Ok, yeah, I know Dukkah is Egyptian, but it's kinda sorta close to Mediterranean cuisine, no? Work with me here, people... I suppose you could say that Dukkah and feta are about as compatible as Dukkah and cheddar - but that's for YOU to say. I say different.)
Anyway... I halved the quantity of ingredients in the original recipe because I'm back home and there are fewer than half the people that were there when I made my first attempt in Seattle earlier this month. I'm glad to say that, on the plus side, the second rising in my second attempt was successful. Unfortunately, while I turned the former negative into a present positive, a couple of other negatives arose in the present version - one being, as mentioned earlier, a lack of cheese; the second being that the tomato flavour was at best only mild. I guess 1 tbsp of concentrated tomato paste was not enough even though the ingredients were halved. Next time I'd probably double the amount of paste and use finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil too.
Oh well, live and learn.
The bread, by the way, was good, but it would have been better with cheese (a friend of mine at work insists that most things are better with cheese).
Recipe for: Tomato-garlic pull-apart bread with dukkah
For the Dough
1/4 cup warm milk
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp active dry yeast
1.5 cups bread flour (+ a couple of tbsp more for dusting if necessary)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp butter, soft at room temperature
1 tbsp concentrated tomato paste
2 fat cloves garlic, grated (use only 1 clove or 1/2 tsp garlic paste if you want a milder flavour)1/3 cup milk
1 tbsp milk for brushing
For the Filling
1 tbsp melted butter
2 tsp Dukkah (I pounded it with a mortar and pestle to make it more uniformly sized)
1. In a small bowl, dissolve the sugar and the yeast in the 1/4 cup of warm milk. Keep aside for about 5 minutes till the yeast mixture bubbles up.
2. Put 1.5 cup of flour, salt, softened butter, and grated garlic in a large bowl and mix. Then add the yeast mixture and most of the 1/3 cup of milk and mix together. If there is more than a tbsp of flour that keeps dropping off from the dough (i.e, it isn't coming together) and the dough itself seems dry, add the remainder of the milk and knead it in.
Transfer the dough to a non-stick mat (lightly flour your kneading area if it is not non-stick) and knead away till you have a soft, smooth and elastic/ pliable dough which is not sticky (about 10 minutes of energetic kneading). Add a little extra flour if your dough is sticking, but only just as much as is necessary.
3. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a well-oiled bowl, turning the dough to coat it completely with oil. Cover and let it rise for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until almost doubled in volume.
4. Dust your work surface lightly with flour. Deflate the dough, shape it into a square and roll the dough out into a square that is about 8" by 8". Brush the surface of the square with the melted butter.
5. Evenly sprinkle the Dukkah mix. Use a rolling pin to very lightly press the topping into the dough to ensure the topping doesn’t fall off when you are stacking the strips.
6. Using a pizza cutter, slice the dough from top to bottom into 4 long and even strips – they do not have to be perfect. Lay each strip on top of the next, with the topping facing upwards, until you have a stack of the strips. You can put the 2 strips cut from the sides in the middle of the stack so it looks neater. Using a pastry scraper or a sharp knife, cut straight down through the stack dividing it into 3 or 4 equal pieces.
7. Grease and lightly flour a small loaf tin that will fit the pieces comfortably (or any other baking container you like). Layer the slices, cut sides down into the loaf tin. Cover the loaf tin dough with a towel and allow the dough to rise for an hour. Lightly brush some milk over the top of the loaf.
8. Bake the dough at 180C (350F) for about 25-30 minutes (but check from 25 minutes, as every oven differs in its performance) until it is done and the top is golden brown, and the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
9. Serve hot with soup.