Tasty express, 226pp.
by Sneh Roy
Ebury Press, Sydney, 2014
Cooking on page 32
Sometimes I think I live under a rock.
Sneh Roy lives in Sydney. She has a regular food column in Elle magazine. Her work appears in leading online and print publications all over the world. Plus, she’s the creative force behind the blog Cook Republic, which won Best Australian Blog of the Year in 2013.
I’d never heard of her until I checked this out of the library. I was immediately attracted to the recipe on page 32.
Big breakfast bread
1 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast
2 teaspoons caster sugar
2 2/3 cups (400 g) strong white flour
100 g fine semolina
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
extra flour for kneading and dusting
10 cherry tomatoes
3 Swiss brown mushrooms, sliced
1 large kransky sausage, sliced
oil, to drizzle
fresh thyme and oregano
salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup (20 g) finely grated parmesan cheese
Stir the yeast and sugar into 300ml lukewarm water in a small bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes until mixture is frothy and bubbly.
Combine the flour, semolina, salt and olive oil in a large bowl, and make a well in the centre. Pour the yeast mixture into the well. Using a wooden spatula, stir the dough until it comes together loosely.
Dust a work surface with flour. Place the dough onto the flour and knead gently for a few minutes, until dough is smooth. Place the dough ball into a well-oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel. Rest for 30 minutes, until risen.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line the base and sides of a 20cm square cake pan with baking paper.
Transfer the dough to the prepared pan, stretching to fill all the corners. Make sure the dough is raised around the edges. Arrange the cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and sausages over the dough. Crack the eggs in the gaps. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with herbs. Bake for 15–20 minutes until risen and golden brown.
Season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with the parmesan cheese.
How it played out
We go through a lot of bread in this house, so I was keen to make this meal-in-a-loaf recipe. I started it mid-morning so it would be ready for lunch.
There was no need to change anything, so I made the recipe as written (only had button mushrooms on hand). That said, the kneading was a challenge as the dough was quite wet.
I had difficulty fitting all the extras on top of the loaf. Wished I’d used a larger pan—at least a square of 23–24cm. That greater spread would also have let the loaf bake within the suggested 15–20 minutes. I left this in a fan-forced oven for close to 25 minutes and it was still a tad underdone.
This has great potential for breakfast or lunch for a crowd. I recommend baking it in a larger pan and testing for doneness after 15–20 minutes.
Obviously, you can’t put slices of this bread in the toaster, but you could grill them in a cast iron pan or on a griddle. Lovely spread with butter—if you dare.
I don’t really live under a rock, but Poor John and I travel remotely for many months of the year. In fact, we’re travelling in India right now.
Last year, we went upmarket to visit a daughter in Paris and learn the etiquette of the baguette.