Party Sharing Loaf

If you’re planning a bit of a party this Christmas or New Year and are in charge of either catering or simply contributing, then this bread would make a fab addition to any buffet table.

It’s no secret that I could never take on the Atkins diet, as good bread (and pasta) is officially my weakness; and you don’t get any better than bread topped with the awesomeness of as these toppings! On this occasion I topped mine with tuna, courgettes and pine nuts, but the world is your oyster so go crazy and try out some of your favourites, or you can always keep it simple with the tomato sauce and cheese.

Cut the bread into cake slices and serve up on your dinner table and I promise that you will have a bunch of happy guests (supplying them will mulled wine and cocktails also helps)! – It’s also a great accompaniment for soup, a saucy spag bol and even a lunch box treat.

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For the bread

  • 500g type 00 flour (if you don’t have 00, strong white bread flour will do, it will just give you a slightly different texture.)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 12g fast action dry yeast
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 325ml lukewarm water

For the tomato sauce

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small red onion – peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic – peeled and finely chopped
  • Tin good quality chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp oregano

For the toppings

  • 50g parmesan cheese
  • 1 courgette – finely sliced and griddled to soften and colour
  • Handful pine nuts – toasted quickly in a hot pan
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 160g tin tuna
  • 125g mozzarella ball – sliced
  • Olive tapenade (optional)

To make your bread, dissolve the yeast in the warm water.

Mix together the flour and the salt and make a well in the centre.

Pour the yeast mixture into the middle of the hole and combine the mixture with your hand to make a soft dough.

Lightly flour your work top and knead for 5-10 minutes until smooth and elastic.

Place the dough on a clean tea towel and brush the top with a little water to prevent it drying out.

Cover with a slightly damp cloth and leave to stand until double in size (30 minutes to an hour should do it).

Preheat your oven to 200’C

 While the dough is rising make your tomato sauce by heating the oil in a saucepan to a medium temperature.

Fry the onions until soft and then add the garlic for a minute, before adding the tomatoes and the oregano.

Bring the sauce to the boil and then simmer for 15 minutes.

Use this time to prepare your toppings and once you have griddled your courgettes, toss them together with the toasted pine nuts and the olive oil.

Once your dough has proved pour over the olive oil and knead it into the dough until well combined.

Continue to knead for 10 minutes.

Lightly grease a 28cm baking tin and place the dough inside.

Spread the dough out to the edges with your fingers so that it touches the edges.

Sprinkle over the parmesan and top with the tomato sauce.

Scatter over tuna, mozzarella and olive tapenade (if using) and bake in the oven for 35minutes, until the bread is risen and golden.

Top with the marinated courgettes and pine nuts before serving and slice up before enjoying warm.

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