I am no master when it comes to baking but I generally find that I can pull off bread better than pastry or say meringue making. So when I was looking for the perfect bread recipes, I had to turn to none other than Guardian & Sainsburys Magazine bread expert Dan Lepard.Through a few very kind exchanges on Twitter, Dan encouraged me to try this recipe and I'm so glad I did because (as you can see above) the results were splendid and I just had to share the recipe with you.
125g cold sour cream
2 tsp salt
2 tsp caster sugar
1 sachet fast-action yeast
550g strong white flour, plus extra for shaping
4-5 stems of fresh rosemary
200mls of extra virgin olive oil
A generous handful of Maldon sea salt
Extra olive oil, for kneading
Oven paper / baking paper
In a large bowl, mix the cream with 150ml cold water and 100ml boiling water. Add the salt, sugar and yeast, then mix in the flour until it forms a rough ball. Cover the bowl with some clingfilm and leave the dough to rest for 10 minutes.
Lightly oil your kitchen surface or a large (non-wooden) chopping board and gently knead the dough for 10 seconds before returning the dough back into the bowl and leaving it to rest for another 10 minutes. Repeat the quick knead process two more times at 10 minute intervals, then roll the dough out into a rectangle shape approximately the size of a large oven tray and line the tray with some baking/oven paper and place the dough onto the paper lined tray. Stretch it out as much as possible and using your fingers, literally poke deep holes all over the dough (trying not to piece the dough but still being pretty tough with it) and cover with clingfilm and leave to rest somewhere warm for 2 hours (or a little more if you like).
Preheat the oven to 200C (180C fan-assisted). Once the two hours is up, remove clingfilm from the top and drizzle 200ml of extra virgin olive oil over the dough, ensuring it covers every nook and cranny of the dough. A silicone brush will help aid this process. Sprinkle the entire surface of the bread liberally with the uncrushed Maldon sea salt flakes and pick the rosemary leaves from the woody stems and sprinkle them evenly on the bread dough. Place on the top shelf in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. The results, as you can see above, are absolutely splendid... I hope you will give it a go.