One of my favourite things to bake is bread. I even used to enjoy the exhausting task of kneading before I bought my mixer. When my parents joined up with Slimming World and my brother moved out for university, baking bread became pointless as I was the only one who ate it. So, as sad as it may seem, I was overjoyed when my mum suggested I made some bread!
As my parents had brought a bag of sun dried tomatoes home with them from Nice, and I had a recipe for something similar in one of my books, this seemed a natural decision. Unfortunately, I hate sun dried tomatoes and, despite waiting forever to be able to bake bread, everyone but me got to eat it!
Apologies to those who have noticed that these pictures were not taken in my kitchen, it was a freezing cold day in Newcastle and somebody had left the back door open which made the kitchen almost arctic like and most certainly not 'room temperature'. As you can see, my living room provided a perfect breeding ground for the yeast!
The original recipe for this was from The Great British Book of Baking (surprise, surprise) and was for individual Thyme and Sun dried Tomato Rolls. I had no thyme, however, and I feel loaves are always best as there's more to share around!
As a result, this loaf was very small but it cooked in the same time as the rolls would have done. I've tasted the bits without tomatoes and it's very nice!!
350g strong white bread flour
1 teaspoon caster sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 x 7g sachet of easy blend/easy bake dried yeast
4 tablespoons olive oil- I used vegetable as I had none and it made no difference
200ml lukewarm water
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
6 sun dried tomato halves, chopped and drained of oil- I used 6 full tomatoes as I wasn't using thyme
-Grease a small loaf tray- if making buns, grease a large baking tray
Combine the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a mixing bowl or the bowl of a food mixer
-Add the oil and work in enough lukewarm water to make a soft but sticky dough
-Knead until pliable and smooth- this could take around 10 minutes by hand and 5 in a stand mixer. Add the thyme and sundried tomatoes and knead until combined, then cover with cling film until doubled in size- according to the book this should take around an hour at room temperature
-Punch down the dough once risen and turn onto a floured surface. Knead for a few seconds and shape into a rugby ball- if making buns, separate into 9 pieces
-Cover the tray with cling film or a dry towel and leave to double in size- around twenty minutes
-Heat your oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Once risen, cook the dough for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown- this time works for the loaf and the buns
-Leave to cool on a wire rack