Anyway I digress, following a little sleepover at a dear friends I took along my copy of Great British Bake Off Showstoppers, which I won in a competition recently yippee (why hello Mr Hollywood!), so we swapped books and I read through her copy of Cooking Made Easy. Whilst most of the recipes were pretty simple, as if the title didn't already give you an idea, I stumbled upon her 21st century Cheese, Ham and Chive bread and the mind started scheming as to how much time I had before I had to start work..
I love the taste of home-made bread, but combining shift work, cooking mostly for one and a weakness for anything freshly baked means that home-made bread is rarely on the menu chez Anne’s Kitchen. However what instantly grabbed me was the use of self-raising flour – no yeast to rise the bread, therefore no rising time either! Within an hour of leaving my friends house I had two of the loaves nearly cooked in the oven, and believe me I am not exactly speedy freak in the kitchen! It pretty is much mix and stir and bake, you really can’t mess it up!
Due to what I had to hand at the time, the cheese got substituted for some vegan soya based cheese I was trialling, I omitted the ham and also the spring onions, one thing I did add thought was a good sprinkle of some chilli sea salt I bought recently on impulse – this was so made for topping bread! Little spicy, salty crystals that burst in your mouth, yum!
I think the original quantities would make a fairly large beast but I split my finished dough in two, and baked two smaller loaves, stashing the spare into the icy depths of the freezer until girlfriend came over and we, er, devoured the whole thing in one sitting, but we did eat it with smoked mackerel salad and enough pickles to almost deter her soon to be husband, so was fairly balanced on the grand scheme of things!
Ingredients for my version:
425g Self raising flour
100g grated strong Cheese – soya works fine
Just under 250ml water
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp English mustard powder
½ tsp salt
Approx 10 leaves fresh basil, shredded
Few twists black pepper
Chilli sea salt to finish
Pre-heat oven to 200o/ gas 6
Mix the dry ingredients and the basil in a bowl, saving a small handful of the cheese. Stir in 200ml of the water, adding extra if needed to form a dough, use your hands to knead together until smooth.
Shape into one large, or two small rounds, place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and flatten slightly. Score the tops if you remember. Sprinkle over the remaining cheese and a pinch of your spicy sea salt. Quickly squirt (or throw a cupful) of water into the bottom of the oven to create steam and bake for approx. 35 minutes, or until sounds hollow when tapped on its bottom and your bread is lovely and golden in colour.
Allow to cool a little before grabbing the butter and your bread knife.