Last week, when I visited Woodbridge Tide Mill and bought some of their wholemeal flour, I promised to share this recipe. Tear and share bread is brilliant for picnics and barbecues and everyone seems to love it. All it is, really, is bread rolls stuck together to form one flower-shaped loaf, but it looks so attractive people find it irresistible.
There are two ways to go here. You can make one batch of bread and just ring the changes on the toppings – poppy seeds, oats, onion seeds, sesame or sunflower seeds, for instance. Or you can divide the dough after the first proving and add different flavourings.
This is version number one, made with nothing but the Tide Mill wholemeal flour. It’s a straightforward wholemeal dough with different toppings, divided into eight rolls and baked in a 23 cm cake tin. As you can probably see, the rolls came out quite big.
So when I made the flavoured version, I divided it into slightly smaller rolls, made up of plain wholemeal, cheese and spring onion, and olive. I cooked this free-form on a baking tray. You can make it with either white or brown flour or a mixture of the two. Use your favourite recipe. I stayed faithful to the Tide Mill but added in some strong white flour.
Tear and Share Breads
Ingredients for the basic dough:
400g strong wholemeal flour
100g strong white flour
7g quick-action yeast
2 tbsp oil
2 tspn salt
320 ml water
2 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
30g Parmesan or other hard cheese, roughly grated
30g pitted black olives, chopped
A few tbsp of milk
Your choice of toppings (see intro)
Either mix the flour, water, yeast and salt in a food mixer with a dough hook or knead by hand for about 10 minutes. The Tide Mill flour is extra-strong and it needs more kneading than most so I gave it a bit longer. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise for one hour.
Divide the dough into three and knead the olives into one batch and the cheese and spring onions into a second, leaving the third plain. Trying the keep the sizes roughly equal, divide into 19 pieces. I know, three into 19 doesn’t go, just use your loaf. I didn’t. I miscounted and ended up with 24, which made them a bit tricky to arrange. *sigh* Roll into small balls. Count them. Nineteen? Congratulations, you’re more numerate than me.
Divide your toppings between three small bowls and lightly oil a baking tray. Brush the top of each ball with a little milk and dip each into the topping of your choice. I used black onion seeds for the cheese and onion; sunflower seeds for the olive bread; and poppy seeds for the plain wholemeal.
Arrange them, slightly apart, in concentric circles on the baking sheet and leave to rise until they’ve doubled in size and have joined themselves at the hip, about another hour to an hour and a half.
Preheat your oven to 220C/425F/Gas Mark 7 and bake for around 20 minutes. Remove carefully to a wire rack to cool.