Olive Plait Bread

  • Cooking Time30 mins
  • DifficultyMedium
500g strong white bread flour
10g instant yeast
7g salt
20ml olive oil
330ml water
200g pitted black olives
½ onion -diced
1 bunch fresh coriander
200g sesame seeds, optional

1. Place the flour in a large mixing bowl and add the salt to one side and the yeast to the other.

2. Add the olive oil and three quarters of the water. Turn the mixture round with your fingers; continue adding the remaining water until all the flour has been incorporated.

3. You may not need all the water. Pour a little oil onto your work surface. Tip the dough onto the surface and knead for 5-10 minutes until it's smooth.

4. Place the dough back into the bowl and add the olives, onions and coriander and knead until well incorporated. Cover and leave to prove for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.

5. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and fold the dough inwards repeatedly until all the air is knocked out.

6. Divide the dough into seven equal pieces. Flatten each piece of dough and then roll into ropes approximately 60cm in length. Try to keep each length of the dough the same thickness.

7. Dust the work surface and line the ropes of dough vertically. Pinch the ropes of dough together at the top to secure them, divide the ropes so you have 3 on one side and 4 on the other. Starting from the outside and working towards the middle, take the outside rope on the right and place it over 1 rope and under 2 ropes. Straightening the lengths of rope as you go, each time having 3 ropes on one side and 4 on the other.

8. Do the same starting from the left side taking it over 1 rope and under 2 ropes. Repeat this sequence until the whole loaf is plaited. When you get to the end, pinch the dough together to neaten. Roll in the sesame seeds if using. Place the plait onto the prepared tray. Cover and leave to prove for 45 minutes or until risen and doubled in size.

9. Heat your oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6. Bake the bread for 30-35 minutes until risen and golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

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