OK, it’s January people. Are you bored of people telling you all about the (usually utterly ridiculous and tedious) fad diets that they’ve embarked on? I am. Are you going to keep to them (I find my internal monologue asking)? Especially that ‘no booze or carbs’ one? (Incidentally, why would you do that to yourself? It sounds horrible) You are? Well, why is there a beer in your hand and a cheeseburger on order for you?
You get my drift – I’m not a fan of fad diets. And no, it’s not because I’m a short step from ‘wasting away’ or have zero will power, it’s because I just don’t think they work. That’s why I made bread yesterday. That and because it tastes so damned good and may or may not be done already. Oh, and don’t start me on all those people clogging up the gym, chatting to their friend whilst on a bike…
Anyway, less grumpiness and more about the bread. I would technically describe it as the ‘tear and share’ sort (although to get that designation I guess I would have had to share it properly, rather than reluctantly giving away the odd crumb), and it would be great for a ‘drinks thing’ where you just need something fresh and wholesome (if, of course, you have friends who haven’t given up booze and carbs)- rip off a chunk and taste the deliciousness.
Thyme might not be traditional here – and in fact came from the realisation that I had thyme, and not rosemary as I originally thought – but I think it works rather well. It is not a strong flavour, but rather one that sits in the background, making the loaf taste delicious. This is another recipe that worked out rather well, all the better for having been the first time I’ve strayed from a bread recipe.
Why would anyone ever give up bread? I think I’m more obsessed that ever.
Sun-Dried Tomato & Thyme Loaf
This loaf is based on the basic loaf from James Morton’s Brilliant Bread, but with some additions to make it a little more special. It makes one loaf in a small loaf tin.
Take a large bowl and into it sift the flours, then carefully mix them together, then add the salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Slice the sun-dried tomatoes into sixth or quarters (dependant on size) and take the thyme leaves off the stalks (hold it but the tip and pinch the next leaves down, then pull the stalk through your pinched fingers to take it off), then add them into the bowl.
Add the oil and the water into the bowl – I used the olive oil from the sun-dried tomatoes – and bring all the ingredients together to form a dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for ten mins, until it is smooth. Cover the bowl (I use a shower cap) and leave in a warm place for an hour.
Once it’s roughly doubled in size, knock out the air out of it (with another little knead) and then shape and put in the tin. Cover again and leave for a further hour.
About 20 minutes before the end of the second prove turn the oven on to 200ºC. When the loaf is ready, remote the covering from the tin and put it in the centre of the oven. Toss a cup of water into the bottom (this will help form the crust) and shut the oven. Turn it down to about 180º and bake for 17-20 minutes, or until golden and, when tapped, the base sounds hollow.
Leave to cool, then slice.