Stromboli – a savoury bread swiss roll!

I love bread. Any bread! Plain breads are great and have their purpose in life, but what I am most fond of is a richly flavoured savoury bread, preferably with a salty tang from streaky bacon and a sharp kick from a good strong cheddar. As some of my followers will know I am 3 weeks into recovery from a broken elbow so I needed a recipe that could be easily made one-handed. Usually that would put home made bread off the menu due to kneading, however, step in trusty Kenwood Chef to take over the hard work! I’ve never really trusted Mr K to efficiently knead bread, always preferring to do it by hand but hey – I had a craving for bread!

The only bread flour I had was a pack of pasta and pizza flour from Wessex Mill so I figured something flat, stuffed and Italian could be made without too much effort. Stromboli is a particular favourite of mine so after rooting through the fridge to see what could be turned into a filling, I hit the kitchen.

You can find the recipe below, but remember, it’s not set in stone and if you want to swap up the shallots for spring onions, go ahead. No peppers? Don’t worry, use grated courgette or finely chopped mushrooms. As for the cheese, I could write a whole blog on cheese (I may do yet!). I had a block of Comte which is a great melting cheese but a good strong cheddar or even an aged Gouda would work just as well. Why not experiment with bacon, mushrooms and a mild blue cheese such as Saint Agur? Closer to home either Isle of Mull Cheddar or Tain Truckle will do a great job, or venture into England for Admiral Collingwood from the Doddington Dairy which is a semi-hard cheese, rind-washed with Newcastle Brown Ale. It’s gorgeous!

Here’s how I made it
  • 500g bread flour
  • 7g dried yeast
  • 1tsp sea salt
  • 1tsp dried oregano
  • 235ml warm water
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 100g smoked streaky bacon, finely chopped
  • 3 shallots, finely diced
  • red and/or yellow peppers, finely diced (equivalent to one large pepper)
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • Splash wine (approx 75ml)
  • Handful cherry tomatoes (around 10)
  • Black pepper
  • 150g Comte cheese

In a large non-stick pan, fry off the streaky bacon until browned and it’s fat has been released into the pan. Add the shallots, peppers, garlic, rosemary and soften them in the bacon fat (leave the bacon in, it won’t over cook).

While the pan is nice and hot, add a good splash of wine – I used red because that’s what was nearest the cooker, but white would also do.

Once the wine has bubbled down into a syrupy sauce, add the chopped cherry tomatoes, season with black pepper (you won’t need salt, the bacon adds that) and cook for literally 5 minutes to soften the tomatoes. Stir in the grated cheese and cool the filling while you make the bread.

Pop your flour, yeast and salt into the bowl of the food mixer, add the oil, dried oregano and water and set on medium speed with the dough hook attached. I kneaded mine for around 10 minutes but refer to your user manual as all mixers are different. You can also make this dough by hand, knead as you would for a basic white loaf. Cover the dough to prove for an hour in a warm place until it has risen to around double it’s original size.

Knock back the dough after an hour and roll it into a large rectangle approx 45cm by 30cm. The dough will be around 5mm thick.

Spoon the filling onto the rolled out dough, leaving around 5 cms all round as a border. Brush this border with water, fold over the left and right hand edges (with the long side towards you) and roll away from yourself like you would a swiss roll. Make sure the seal is underneath and transfer to a baking tray to prove for another 30 minutes or so in a warm place, covered with a tea towel. My kitchen was quite warm when I did this and I found the roll stretched somewhat as I rolled it and subsequently moved it – honestly don’t worry. As long as it doesn’t tear open and expose the filling, just go with it!

Once it has proved again, brush the top with a little olive oil and sprinkle with dried oregano and a little sea salt flakes.

Bake in a 200°C oven (gas 6) for 35 minutes until browned and crispy on top and cooked through.

If you can resist devouring the whole loaf straight from the oven, serve it alongside soups and stews or use it as a dipping bread with some extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

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