Picnic loaf

Picnic loaf

By
From
Recipes From a Normal Mum
Serves
3
Photographer
David Loftus

This is bread designed especially with a picnic in mind. The inspiration behind it was the original Cornish pasty, a savoury filling at one end and sweet at the other. Add a massive hunk of cheese and some red fruits for a two-course meal to be washed down with your Enid Blyton picnic beverage of choice. Lashings of fiery ginger beer in my case, and very cold non-ginger beer in my husband’s.

For the dough:

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
250g strong white flour, plus a little extra for dusting
30g butter
125ml whole or semi-skimmed milk
5g fast action dried yeast
6g salt, plus a little extra for the egg wash
20g caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon olive oil

For the savoury filling:

Quantity Ingredient
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon groundnut or sunflower oil
pinch salt
1 slice parma ham, chopped into 2 cm pieces

For the sweet filling:

Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon chocolate hazelnut spread

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and place a rack in the middle of the oven. Tip the flour into an ovenproof bowl and place in the oven for 2 minutes – the warmth will help an enriched dough like this to rise.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the milk and heat on the hob until warm but still cool enough to pop your finger in. Remove from the heat. Add the yeast, salt and sugar to the warm flour, stir and then tip in the milk and butter and stir again. Add one egg and stir well. Cover a work surface with the oil and knead for 5–10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Pop the dough into the warmed bowl and cover with cling film.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the savoury filling by frying the onions over a low heat in the butter, oil and salt until soft and caramelised. Remove from the heat and tip onto some kitchen roll or a clean tea towel to remove any excess fat. Add the ham to the onion.
  4. When the dough has doubled, lightly flour the work surface and knead very lightly for 1–2 minutes. Shape into a rectangle about 24 cm in length. Roll to about a 1 cm thickness. Keep pulling the dough up from the work surface, allowing it to shrink back a little after each couple of rolls.
  5. Lightly spread half the dough with chocolate spread, and sprinkle the other half with the fried onion and ham, leaving a small gap around the edges and between the sweet and savoury fillings. Fold over the two edges of dough that have both types of filling running along them, so that they meet in the middle and none of the filling can be seen. Pinch the middle edges and the ends together well so that it is completely sealed.
  6. You will now need to repeat the process by folding the long edges into the middle again; this is important as it will stop the filling from escaping when it is baking. Pinch the long edges together again, really squashing the dough as you pinch to produce a seal.
  7. Turn the baton so it is seal side down and use your hands to push under the dough and create a taut, smooth top. Ensure the ends are sealed by pinching the dough, and transfer to a floured baking tray. Sprinkle with flour and loosely cover with cling film.
  8. Once the dough has doubled in size (this takes about 45 minutes in a warm kitchen but will take longer if it’s really cold) preheat the oven to 220°C. Make the egg wash by beating the second egg with a pinch of salt. Paint the wash over the loaf, being careful that it doesn’t run down and stick the loaf to the baking tray. Slash the loaf lengthways in 3 long lines using a very sharp knife. Be careful not to slash too deeply to expose the filling. Place in the oven then after 2 minutes turn the oven down to 200°C. After 20 minutes remove the loaf from the tray and bake directly on the oven shelf rack. The bread is ready after another 5–10 minutes, when it is a dark golden brown and hollow sounding. (This bread will colour quickly and darkly due to the high sugar content – don’t be alarmed!) Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Ideas for Parma ham

  • Stuff a little blue cheese into dried dates and wrap in thin strips of Parma ham for a sweet and salty canapé. Or make a mammoth French bread toastie for all the family. Or lay on a plate, add torn mozzarella and some fresh basil and drizzle with balsamic reduction and olive oil for an easy at home lunch or a decadent desk lunchbox. Or wrap around chicken breasts stuffed with herby cream cheese and bake for 25–30 minutes at 200°C, for a low maintenance, high flavour, weeknight supper.
Tags:
Great British Bake Off
Holly
Bell
Mum
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