Herby Italian Hearthbreads: GBBO bread week

Bread, mmm…

Herby Italian hearthbreads
Herby Italian hearthbreads

The background

I am reading through my cookbooks looking for bread-making inspiration when my heart nearly skips a beat: In How to Be a Domestic Goddess, Nigella describes her ‘Garlic and parsley hearthbreads’ as a little like a cross between a naan bread and focaccia.  (To me, bread doesn’t get any better than that!)  I am also intrigued by the recipe on the next page for ‘Schacciata with gorgonzola and pine nuts’.  Since the method for making the dough is similar in each recipe, I decide to go for a hybrid of the two.  After, I will split the dough in half, and top one with garlic and parsley, and the other with blue cheese and pine nuts.

The method

Ingredients for dough

  • 350g white flour (preferably strong white but I was out!)
  • 150g plain ’00’ flour
  • 1 sachet/ 7g instant yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 300 ml warm water
  • 3tbs olive oil

Preparing the dough

  1. Mix flours, salt and yeast in a bowl.
  2. Mix olive oil and warm water, and add to flour mix.
  3. Combine and form into a soft dough.  (It’s pretty sticky, but persevere!)
  4. Turn out and knead (for about 10 minutes by hand).
  5. Return the dough to the cleaned bowl, turning it in a little olive oil to prevent sticking.
  6. Cover with cling-film and leave to prove.  (Nigella’s recipe states until doubled in size, but my dough didn’t seem to want to get that puffy, even when left near the warm cooker for a bit of encouragement…)

Meanwhile, for the parsley & garlic topping…

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  1. Heat oven to gas 5/ 190 deg/ 170 fan.
  2. Cut the head off a large bulb of garlic, place on a square of kitchen foil, dribble over some olive oil, and wrap the foil around it, making a parcel which is completely sealed, but allows some space around the garlic.
  3. Roast for around 30 mins then leave to cool completely.
  4. Tear the leaves from a bunch of parsley and chop in a food processor.
  5. Squeeze the garlic bulbs out of their skins and add to the parsley.
  6. Drizzle in enough extra virgin olive oil to make a spreadable paste and leave.

…and the blue cheese & pine nuts…

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  1. Mash 75g blue cheese with a fork to soften.
  2. Add a good few grinds of fresh black pepper.
  3. Again, add enough extra virgin olive oil  to make a spreadable paste (around 2-3 tbs).
  4. Get a tbsp or two of pine nuts ready for sprinkling.

Nearly there!

  1. Pre-heat oven to gas 6/200 deg/ 180 fan.
  2. Knock the air out of the dough and rest for 10 mins.
  3. Divide dough in two, placing each half on its own lined tray.
  4. Form dough into rough rectangles or ovals (I did this by hand).
  5. Cover with cling-film and leave for another 25 mins to prove (as I was feeling impatient and mine seemed reluctant to do this, anyway, I didn’t leave them as long…)
  6. Poke the surface of each dough all over with your fingers.
  7. Spread the garlic and parsley mix on one, and the blue cheese mix on the other (remembering to sprinkle on the pine nuts: I almost forgot…).
  8. Slide into the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes until light brown.a660717a-0da7-4083-9b6b-47965aa7a6f0 4c14900b-a2b9-43d3-b8d6-2441100cb543
I tried some as soon as they came out of the oven and, even though they could have been fluffier, the flavour was strongly Italian and very, very moreish!  When I had eventually stopped ‘testing’ them, I sprinkled Maldon salt flakes on the parsley version, and cut them into chunky slices ready for sharing (possibly).
Herby Italian hearthbreads
Herby Italian hearthbreads
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