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Rosemary and sun-dried tomato Khorasan loaf.

400g Organic Khorasan Flour (413)
100g Organic White Flour No 4 (105)
10g fine salt
300 ml warm water
I tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sugar
1x 7g sachet of fast action dried yeast
100g active Rye Sourdough starter

3 or 4 stalks of fresh Rosemary
4 or 5 sun-dried tomatoes cut into smaller pieces

Pieces of fresh Rosemary to decorate the top of the loaf

This recipe suggests using fresh Rosemary, but if that’s not available it may be worth experimenting with some dried Rosemary.

Preparation method

Stage 1
Remove the Rosemary leaves from their stalks and chop them into smaller pieces (or cut with a pair of scissors).

Put 400g Khorasan Flour with 100g of White Flour in the mixing bowl of a food mixer, along with the salt and the chopped-up Rosemary leaves. Stir these dry ingredients with a wooden spoon.

Then add the olive oil and a teaspoon of sugar. You may like to tip the sachet of fast action dried yeast on top of the sugar, before adding the warm water (between 31C and 37C) and the sourdough starter.

Using a dough hook, mix the ingredients together at a low speed for 4 to 5 minutes. If necessary add a little extra water or flour, to ensure that the dough holds together well without being so sticky that it’s difficult to handle.

Turn the bundle of dough out on to an oiled baking board/work surface. Work the dough for another minute or two before shaping the dough into a firm ball and placing it in a clean, oiled bowl to prove. Cover the bowl with cling film (or a stretchy plastic cover) and leave the dough to double in size. In a warm-ish kitchen this will probably take about 45 minutes.

Stage 2
Prepare a proving basket using some wholemeal flour.

Get 4 or 5 sundried tomatoes and cut them up into smaller pieces.

Turn out the proved dough onto a lightly floured work surface and gently flatten the dough shaping it into a rectangle (like a small page of paper in ‘portrait’ layout rather than ‘landscape’). Generously spread the pieces of sundried tomatoes all over the dough.

Then pull the top edge of the flattened dough out into a peak / triangle and pull out to the side both of the top two corners. Fold the corners back towards the centre and then pull the peak back over the folded dough and push it back in with your fist.

Stretch out the top corners of the dough again and then fold them back into the centre, before pulling the top of the dough towards you and firming it up into a cylinder shape which will fit into the proving basket. Shaping the dough on a floured work surface should mean that the shaped loaf is not sticky and sits happily in the proving basket. If the shaped dough is still sticky, it’s probably a good idea to dust it with some white flour before putting it in the basket.

Put the loaf into a proving basket, place it in a large plastic bag and leave it to rise for another 25 minutes.

While the dough is rising preheat the oven, if possible, to 250C (for the fan oven I currently use, the equivalent is 230C). If you’re using a baking stone, make sure it’s in the oven long enough to get up to the right temperature. Similarly, if you don’t have a baking stone then put a baking tray upside-down in the bottom of the oven before starting to heat the oven.

Stage 3
If possible, a few minutes before putting the loaf in the oven, pour a cup full of water into a baking tray/roasting tin in the bottom of the oven (having put the baking tray/roasting tin in place before turning the oven on). Allow the oven to re-gain the desired temperature.

Turn the loaf out onto a peel and insert a few sprigs of Rosemary across the top of the loaf

Before putting the bread in the oven, make some slashes across the top of the loaf with a baker’s lame or razor blade. If you can spray a little water over the loaf that may also help the dough to remain flexible as it rises.

Stage 4 Baking

• Using the peel, slide the loaf onto the baking stone / baking tray.

• If possible, as you’re putting the bread into the oven, spray some more water into the oven to help foster a steamy atmosphere in the oven.

• Bake at 250C (230C fan) for 5 minutes

• Turn oven down to 220C (200C fan) and allow to bake for another 30 minutes

• Check if it’s baked all the way through tapping the bottom of the loaf to see if it sounds hollow. If it still sounds a bit ‘soft’ then put back into the oven for another 3-4 minutes.

• Leave to cool on a rack and wait until the loaf has cooled before seeking to cut it and eat it.