Bread Week fills me with fear but is never as disastrous as I expect – I should really make bread more often.
So, I don’t like Rye bread so that ruled that out, I’ve made ciabatta before (and they were so *cough* wonderful *cough* that I gave them to somebody else) so that just left the stuffed/filled showstopper loaf option.
I knew I was never going to make a ‘showstopper’ beauty so decided to just try and pull off a successful bake. I kept it simple and had a fairly ‘dry’ filling to try and minimise gaps and unbaked middles – Prosciutto & Parmesan Bread.
- 450g strong plain white flour
- 50g grated parmesan
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 0.5 tsp ground black pepper
- 7g sachet fast action yeast
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 250ml lukewarm water
- 50g Prosciutto ham
- Extra flour for sprinkling OR cornmeal
- Put the flour, cheese, yeast, salt and pepper in your mixer and, using a dough hook, mix in the olive oil, egg and water on minimum speed until it forms a soft dough.
- Knead for one minute on minimum setting and then four minutes on speed 1 or until the dough is soft and elastic. Remove the bowl from the mixer, cover it with a damp teatowel or lightly oiled cling film and prove in a warm place for an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Use the dough hook on minimum speed for 30-60 seconds to gently knock the dough back. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and divide into two. Flatten each half into a round and sprinkle over half of the ham.
- Fold each piece of dough in half then sprinkle over the remaining ham.
- Roll each piece up and tuck in the sides to form stubby loaves.
- Transfer to a floured baking sheet (or one dusted with cornmeal if you have some to hand), leaving a gap between the loaves. Cover again and leave to rise for about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200·C
- Brush the tops of your loaves with water and sprinkle with flour/cornmeal. Slash the top of the loaves then bake for 20 minutes or until the loaves are golden and sounds hollow when tapped.
- Cool on a wire rack.
- Slice and serve!
I didn’t really slash my loaves bravely enough so they looked quite plain and I think I left them in a few seconds too long as they were edging out of the ‘golden’ colour range and into the ‘dark brown’ one. I also didn’t distribute my ham very evenly in one loaf as it was about four slices in before I got to any. When I did find it though, it made a very pretty swirl which was satisfying.
The bread itself was a lovely texture and not too dense, it has a soft crust and has a subtle cheese flavour that isn’t overpowering and is well complemented by the sweet, salty Prosciutto. It is incredibly moreish.