In this new recipe series, we bring you recipes by Julia Toon, culinary motivator and author of the book ‘Good Eating: A Taste of Qatar’. New recipes every week, Jules Of The Kitchen_CROPPED 2straight from Jules of the Kitchen.   

Olive and Sun-Dried Tomato Bread 

There is nothing nicer in this world, I believe, than baking homemade bread.

For me it is not only the pure enjoyment of the eating, it is the whole combination of the process and reward that I love. The simple enjoyment of kneading dough I find to be a very relaxing process (a sensation I find similar to pastry making, although with bread, warm hands are an advantage and cold hands are perfect for pastry!).

This recipe is extremely simple and straightforward, perfect for the beginner bread maker who wishes to develop bread making skills, and of course a winner for the confident baker, who just wishes to show off.

Please note I have kept the toppings specifically for the top, but it is also possible to intersperse half of them throughout the dough before the final bake (my advice would be to use stoneless olives at this stage), using the remaining ingredients for the top.

Serves 6
Preparation time: 10 mins + 90 min total prove
Cooking time: 20 – 30 minutes
Oven Temperature: 190°C

Ingredients

Bread

350g wholemeal spelt flour
2 tsp dried yeast
Pinch of sea salt – coarsely ground or flakes
210ml warm water
1 tbsp olive oil

Topping
Handful of black olives – with or without stones
60g sun-dried tomatoes – cut into quarters
1–2 tbsp olive oil
Sprinkling sea salt – coarsely ground or flakes
Fresh or dried rosemary leaves

Instructions

Prepare bread dough:

Place flour into a large bowl. Add pinch of salt and dried yeast. Mix well.

Measure warm water and add olive oil. Mix well and then pour all liquid into the flour. Combine all ingredients together (add extra water if necessary) and turn the dough on to a lightly floured work surface and knead by hand for about 10 minutes – or if using a an electric mixer with a dough hook, process for approximately 5 minutes.

Using your fingertips, lightly oil all the sides and base of a large bowl, place the dough into the bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise until doubled in size (this can take from 1 to 2hours or less depending on how warm your kitchen is).

When the dough has literally doubled in size, remove the cling film and turn out on to a lightly floured work surface. Knead again for 2–3 minutes and shape into either an oval or circle. The dough is now ready for its topping.

Topping:

Place the dough on to a lightly oiled baking tray and with gentle fingers decorate the top with black olives, pieces of sun-dried tomatoes and a few rosemary leaves. Drizzle the olive oil all over and finish with a sprinkling of sea salt.

Cover the bread with either a clean, damp tea towel or another piece of cling film. Leave in a warm place to grow again – this will take approximately 30 minutes or so.

When the dough is nicely puffed, place in a preheated hot oven and bake until well cooked. Cool on a wire wrack and serve warm or cold.

Jules Tips

If you do not have spelt any wholemeal flour will do, or if you prefer use all white wheat bread flour, and I recommend to use a robust, fruity olive oil, as the flavour will really enhance a taste of the Mediterranean in the final result. Finally after cooking, always tap the bottom of the bread for a hollow sound, as this will help you to double-check that the bread is thoroughly cooked, and if you prefer a softer crust on your finished bake, I recommend to cover the bread with a clean, damp tea towel/cloth during cooling . When you remove the cloth lift carefully, as you do not want to lose all your wonderful topping! 

Contributed by: Julia Toon, Jules of the Kitchen

Click here for more recipes in this series.