Picnic loaf

Picnic loaf

Lucy's Bakes
10 mins
Cooking time
30 mins
Jacqui Melville

This loaf is made with my polenta bread recipe, which is a basic bread dough, but filled with gorgeous flavours. It is perfect to make and take with you for a great picnic or warm it through for a casual lunch. I’ve used the classic flavours of sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, cheese and the delicious fragrance of basil. However, it can be adapted easily to make it your own by choosing your favourite cheese, adding meats, greens and different herbs.


Quantity Ingredient
4 handfuls fresh spinach leaves, chopped
1 garlic clove, grated finely
200g cheese of your choice, grated
freshly ground black pepper
handful basil leaves, torn
1 batch Polenta bread, dough risen and ready to shape
1/2 280 g jar sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained, plus a little of the oil
or 140g Oven-dried tomatoes in garlic oil, drained, plus a little of the oil


  1. Chop the drained tomatoes and mix well with the spinach and garlic. Add the cheese and moisten with a little oil from the tomatoes. Season to taste and stir in the basil.
  2. Place the dough on a sheet of baking paper. Dust it with a little flour and roll the dough out to a rectangle about 30 x 25 cm. Slide the paper and dough onto a cold baking sheet (to help with handling later).
  3. Pile the prepared filling down the centre third of the dough and spread it out, leaving about a 2 cm strip of dough top and bottom.
  4. Brush the uncovered dough with water to act as glue and fold one third over the filling and then the second third up and over the already folded side so you have a single layer of dough under the filling and a double layer on top.
  5. Press the edges together to stop the filling oozing when baking. Cover with a tea towel and leave until doubled in size (I place it in my oven at 60°C with the door slightly ajar, for 30 minutes).
  6. Preheat the oven to 220°C – take the loaf out first if proving in it – and put a baking sheet into the oven to get really hot.
  7. Take the hot baking sheet from the oven. Quickly slide the bread onto it, return to the oven and bake for 30 minutes until risen, golden and cooked through. Eat warm, cut in slices, or leave until cold and pack up for a picnic.


  • This recipe is vegetarian and nut-free.


  • You can make this loaf vegan and dairy-free by changing the filling.

What the the testers say

  • JO, JOSH AND BEN CURD – "We love this polenta bread recipe and kneading it the French way is really fun – you can do it music and along the radio while you bake!"

    IAN MEECKOMS – "This bread is easy and works every time. I fill mine with blue cheese and walnuts."

    RON SAWERS – "This polenta bread recipe was not hard to follow. I filled it with a tomato sauce mixture, cheese and some herbs – my twin boys ate it all warm from the oven. A great idea for a homemade bread."
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