Here’s a fun idea for a picnic or Sunday lunch - a loaf you don't need to slice! Simply pull sections apart to serve. The secret is in the way the uncooked dough is cut, coiled then placed into the tin - it’s actually simple to do. You can vary the filling ingredients too if you like, by adding slices of salami or prosciutto, using chopped sundried tomatoes instead of olives, or substituting basil leaves for the oregano.
- 280 ml luke-warm water
- large pinch of sugar
- 1 tsp instant dried yeast
- 1½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 450 g (3 cups) plain flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
- 1 onion, very finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2½ tbsp red pepper paste
- 125 g kefolagraveria cheese, grated (see Note)
- 60 g (½ cup) pitted green olives, roughly chopped
- handful fresh oregano leaves
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Rising time 2 hours
To make the dough, combine 60 ml (¼ cup) of the luke-warm water and the sugar in a large bowl then sprinkle over the yeast. Stand in a draught-free place for 5 minutes or until foamy. Add the olive oil, the remaining water, the flour and salt and stir with a wooden spoon until a coarse dough forms. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface then knead for 7-8 minutes or until smooth and elastic, adding a little extra flour if the dough is too sticky. The dough should be a little soft, so take care not to incorporate too much extra flour.
Place the dough in a large oiled bowl, turn it to coat then cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Stand in a warm draft-free place for about 1 hour or until dough has doubled in size. Oil the side and base of an 24 cm x 12 cm baking tin.
Meanwhile, to make the filling, heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a small saucepan over medium, add the onion and cook, stirring, for 6-7 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and pepper paste and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes to cook the paste. Cool slightly.
Knock back the dough with your hand to expel the air then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a rectangle about 30 cm x 50 cm. With a short end facing you, lightly spread the pepper paste mixture over one half of the dough, leaving a 1 cm border around the edges. Scatter the cheese, olives and oregano over the paste and season well with freshly ground black pepper. Fold the unfilled side of dough over to cover, pressing the edges with your fingertips to seal. Cut the dough lengthways into 10 even sized strips. Working with one strip at a time, roll the strips up lengthways to each form a coil. Place a coil in the tin, pushing it into a corner to fit. Place another coil beside it then repeat with remaining coils, using your hands to push them closer to each other and create enough room in the tin for all the coils. Use your hands to press down gently on the dough and even out its thickness in the tin. Cover the tin with a kitchen towel and stand in a warm draught free place for 1 hour or until the dough has risen to the top of the tin.
While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 180ºC. Bake the bread for 50 minutes or until golden and the base sounds hollow when tapped. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes then carefully turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
• Kefolagraveria is a semi-hard sheep’s milk cheese from Greece and is available from Greek delicatessens and some supermarkets. Substitute pecorino if you cannot find it.
Photography, styling and food preparation by china squirrel.