Monday, 27 June 2011

Italian Oregano Bread with a trio of toppings

Up until this point this blog has been mainly about my garden. However, I do want to try and include some of my other favourite pass times as well. Today's post is going to be about one of the homemade appetizers that I made for father’s day.

All week I had been thinking that I wanted to make something different, but I didn't know what. I had not been feeling all that great so I knew I couldn't make anything over the top. I bought a few random ingredients at Costco that I knew I could throw together and make just about anything the trick was just to think about what to make. Finlay on Saturday night I came up with a few ideas. I was going to make Italian Oregano Bread with a trio of toppings and Grilled Portobello mushroom "pizza" (more on the Portobello in a later post)

I had looked through a few of my Italian cook books for bread recipes, but I didn't have all of or enough of some of the ingredients So I did what any home cook does I took the recipe I liked the best and made it my own. 


Italian Oregano Bread

1 1/4C warm water
1 tsp dried yeast
1 tbsp olive oil
4 cups unbleached white flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 tbsp dried oregano (fresh can be used too, this is all I had on hand)
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 tbsp dried basil

Put half the warm water in a glass mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top. Add the sugar, mix well and leave stand 10mins. 

Sift flour into a mixing bowl (I used my Cuisinart stand mixer) along with salt and pepper. Add the yeast mixture, herbs, oil and remaining water. Gradually mix the flour into a soft dough, adding a little more water if necessary. 

If using a Mixer leave on low for 3mins or until dough becomes smooth and elastic. Otherwise tip the dough onto a floured work surface and knead for 5mins. Place dough in a mixing bowl and cover with a warm damp dishtowel and leave in a warm place to rise for about 2 hours. 

Lightly grease a pizza stone (I figured this would give it a crispier crust, but you can use a baking sheet). Tip dough onto a floured surface and knead for a few more minutes. Shape into a 20cm circle and place on the pizza stone. Using a sharp knife make criss cross cuts over the top of the dough. Cover and let rise for another 30mins. Preheat over to 425F/220C

Dust the loaf with a little flour and bake for 10mins then lower the temp to 400f/200c. Bake for another 20mins more or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped. If it still requires more baking time but the crust is getting to dark, place tinfoil on top and return to oven. Cook in intervals of 5mins and watch carefully that you do not burn in.

Once cooked transfer to cooling rack and leave to cool  slightly and then serve. 

For my trio of toppings I went for a bruschetta inspired tomato topping, a mushroom topping and then just Simple Olive Oil and Balsamic vinegar. I know the last really isn’t a topping but more of a dipping..But you get what I was going for.  Just a word to the wise the tomato topping is simply a bruschetta in the North American idea of the Italian appetizer. In Italy bruschetta is roasted bread rubbed with garlic topped with olive oil, salt and pepper. There are many variations of toppings. I have learned that just calling the topping bruschetta is a big no no....but I still do..lol

Trio of Toppings

 Bruschetta topping
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
4 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped (use one tomato  per person)
1 tbsp fresh basil minced
1tbsp fresh parsley minced
2tbsp onion, finely chopped
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1tsp balsamic vinegar
Pinch of salt and pepper
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Let sit on counter top for at least 30mins and no longer than 3 hours.
Mushroom topping
2 tbsp non salted butter
1/4c onion finely chopped
2c white mushrooms finely chopped
1/4c white wine
1 clove minced garlic
In a medium saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted add onions and cook for 2-3mins or until clear. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook for another 5mins or until mushrooms are done. Add wine and bring to a boil until liquid has almost fully reduced. Set aside and allow to cool before serving.

Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar
Pour equal amounts of oil and vinegar into a shallow dish. Start with at least 2tbsp of each and refill as needed.

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