Great British Bake Off star Maggie's cheese and bacon picnic loaf recipe
- Credit: RichardBudd.co.uk
Celebrate National Picnic Week (June 18-26) with this Jurassic inspired tear and share loaf for your Dorset summer picnic. It's been created by Maggie Richardson, aka Maggie the Seaside Baker, The Great British Bake Off's first ever Dorset contestant. So let's join GBBO's Maggie in her Poole kitchen as she shows us how to make this delicious ammonite shaped savoury loaf
When Helen, the editor of Dorset magazine, asked me to make a loaf. I thought, well that will be easy, I love making bread. Then she added, maybe a filled loaf, shaped like an ammonite. Now it sounded like a Bake Off challenge! But it worked and I loved doing it.
‘Breaking bread’ goes back to biblical times - it was literally breaking bread as it was so hard. These days we use the term ‘tear and share’, to signify a bread with additions that is shared. This loaf does just that - a wonderful addition to a laid-back summer brunch, lunch or supper, it would also be ideal for a picnic. If you’ve never made bread before do give it a go, maybe start with a simple white bloomer, then move onto making this ammonite inspired cheese and bacon loaf.
Cheese and Bacon Loaf
This makes two loaves or one ammonite shaped loaf. To make this vegetarian leave out the bacon.
500g strong white flour
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10g easy bake yeast
25g softened butter
320mls water at room temperature
250g smoked or unsmoked bacon
175g grated cheddar cheese – or any hard cheese
1 Put the flour, butter, salt and yeast into a large mixing bowl. If using a stand mixer with a dough hook, mix the dry ingredients for 30 seconds before gradually pouring in the water while the mixer is running.
2 Add about 300mls water and start to mix – add the rest of the water if it isn’t coming together in a soft dough. If making by hand, tip onto a very lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and stretchy. Avoid adding too much flour to the surface. If using a mixer, mix for ten minutes.
3 Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with cling film or a damp tea towel and leave to double in size for at least an hour or longer depending on the temperature in your kitchen.
4 Chop the bacon into small pieces and fry gently until cooked. Allow it to cool. Line a large baking tray or two smaller trays. When the dough has risen, add the bacon and grated cheese, knead it in until it is well mixed.
5 Decision time! To make two loaves, half the dough and shape each into an oval. To make an ammonite shape, roll the dough into a long, thin sausage – I managed to get my sausage to about 95cms - then form a loose coil on the baking tray. The bread needs room to rise for a second time. Make slashes about 3cms long with a very sharp knife all the way around the ammonite loaf. Place the tray or trays in a clean, oiled plastic bag, leave to prove again for at least an hour.
6. Bake in a pre-heated oven, 200°C/ gas mark 6, for about 25 minutes for the loaves, or 25 to 30 minutes for the ammonite loaf until they are golden in colour and sound hollow if tapped on the bottom. Cool on a wire tray.
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