I've been wanting to make a spicy bread for some time now, but being new to bread baking, I didn't want to venture into creating my own - it was just easier to follow a recipe. But this past weekend, I threw caution to the wind, and just decided to go with the flow (or, in this case, flour).
This is a simple bread and let me tell you first hand, if you've never baked bread before, try this one and be amazed at the results!
4 cups All-Purpose Flour + extra for dusting
1 tbsp Sugar
2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 tbsp Crushed Red Pepper/ Red Chilli Flakes
1/2 cup shredded Cheese (I used grated Parmesan, but use whatever cheese you like best)
1 tsp Active Dry Yeast
400 ml Water
Combine all the ingredients, except the water, in a large bowl. Gradually add the water, bringing the mixture together to form a ball. Turn the ball out onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes. The dough will begin to feel smooth and springy to touch. Put the ball into a lightly oiled bowl (I used the same bowl that I started with - less cleaning!). Cover with a muslin cloth.
Let it rise to double its size (approximately 1 hour).
Turn the dough out again and press to slowly release air bubbles that may have formed. Gently knead for about 2 minutes.
Form the dough into any desired shape. Here I've just tried to get an artisan feel with a round loaf, but you could use a loaf pan as well. Cover again with the muslin and leave it to rest until it rises again to about 1 1/2 times its size (approximately 45 mts - 1 hour). Preheat oven to 225 deg C.
Make slits with a sharp knife on the surface of the dough to release steam. I made slits that were quite deep - the slits should be of about 1" depth.
Transfer the dough into the oven in the middle rack. On the bottom rack, put a tray filled with 1 cup water. Close and leave alone for 10 minutes. Now take out the water tray. Close again and leave for 30-35 minutes. The bread is done when it sounds hollow if you tap on the bottom of the loaf.
You'll love the smell of freshly baked bread in your house! Its addictive!
This bread goes to Susan @ Wild Yeast for YeastSpotting.