food / recipes

Cooking From Scratch: Mediterranean Stuffed Plaited Bread

Bread! That is stuffed! And plaited!That’s a bit of a step up from last week isn’t it!?

Yes it does sound pretty fancy and it definitely does take a bit more time and effort than last weeks cheese recipe, BUT this bread is too delicious and exciting to pass up. AND it’s not actually as difficult as it sounds.

You can plait nearly any bread dough; which means you can use your favourite bread recipe. I use the one written below because that works best for the spelt flour that we use at home.

There are a ton of different fillings to be tried and tested. You could try hummus, herbs, spices, vegetables or go with a sweet theme and experiment with fillings like chocolate, coconut, jams, cream, fruits, custard etc.

For this bread I made a mediterranean plait stuffed with mozzarella, olives, sundried tomatoes and a basil & tahini pesto. You definitely ‘knead’ to try it.

Ok that’s enough of the cringey puns!

Here we go!

INGREDIENTS

Bread dough:

500g White Spelt Flour
1 tsp Salt
1 Sachet Quick Yeast
1 tsp Sugar
300ml Warm Water
1 tbsp Olive Oil

Fillings

Your choice!!
I use:
1 Ball Mozzarella
7 Sundried Tomatoes
20 Olives
Fresh Basil Leaves
1 tsp Tahini
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Salt

METHOD

In a large bowl mix together the flour, salt, quick yeast and sugar
Carefully measure the water and roughly mix it into the flour
While the dough is still laggy add the oil and knead well until it feels smooth and pliable (around 10 mins)
Leave to rise for 1 hour (to make a quick bread omit this stage and proceed straight to the next step)
Split the dough into three balls and set aside
Get three small bowls
Grate the mozzarella and put it in the first bowl
Finely chop the sundried tomatoes and olives and put them in the second bowl
Finely chop the basil into your third bowl and add the tahini, olive oil, lemon juice and salt; mix it all up
Take one dough ball and roll it into a long thin rectangle on a well floured surface
Sprinkle mozzarella across the middle
Fold over the edges so the cheese is sealed in and you have a long tube
Repeat the process with your other two dough balls and fillings
Place your three strands onto a well greased tray
Take the ends of your three strands and press them together
Now time to plait your strands!
For those of you who don’t know how to plait you can watch a video here
The general idea is you take the left strand and place it into the middle, then the right and into the middle, then the left and into the middle etc. etc. etc.
Leave to rise for 30 mins with a cloth over the top
Cook in preheated oven at 180c for 30-40 minutes

IMG_6286

As you can see from the picture above, my plait didn’t keep its form and it ended up as a massive splodge! But actually that’s a good example of home cooking. It doesn’t look like the “perfect shaped” food that you find on the supermarket shelf but it’s got heart and life. Home cooking teaches me that things don’t always go to plan. I love the stories and relationships that are built from cooking and eating food together. I love that every recipe is totally unique with its own character. Homemade food is rustic and down to earth and not about a rigid, uniform set of rolls on the shelf; in its best state life is simple, organic, loving, varied and harmonious with nature.

I hope you enjoy this recipe! This is great for when you have guests or if you feel like treating yourself to a fancy loaf of daily bread. There are so many fillings to experiment with so get creative in the kitchen and don’t forget to share your ideas and inspirations in the comments!

I’ll be back next week with another Cooking From Scratch recipe. Please share this recipe with your friends and get in touch with any bread-related tips & recommendations or any ideas on what you want to see me cook from scratch: you name it I’ll cook it!

You can check out the bread recipe video and the Cooking From Scratch playlist on our Youtube channel — don’t forget to like and subscribe!

Can’t wait to see you next week.

Hema x

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