Freshly baked, herb-infused bread smells so wonderful. It's Italian in style and very simple and straightforward to make. I encourage you to do some mixing and matching. Herbs work well, but also vegetables and fruit - a few of my favourite additions are cherry tomatoes, gooseberries, blackcurrants, fennel and asparagus.
- 300g strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 tsp table salt
- 30ml olive oil, plus 30ml for drizzling
- 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast or 23g fresh yeast
- 1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
- 1 tbsp finely chopped dill
- 20cm piece of rhubarb, cut into 1cm-thick slices
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 courgette, sliced lengthways into 3-5mm strips (around 4 strips)
- 1 tsp flaked sea salt, for the top of the bread
- 12-16 basil leaves
- 2 tbsp honey, for drizzling
Mix together the flour and table salt in a bowl.
In a jug, combine 150ml tepid water with the olive oil and yeast (crumbling in the fresh yeast, if using) and mix together. Make a well in the flour and pour the liquid into the well. Mix to form a soft dough that leaves the sides of the bowl. Knead for 7-10 minutes, until smooth. This can be done by hand on a lightly floured surface or using a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.
Lightly grease the inside of a bowl with oil, place the dough in it and cover the bowl with lightly oiled clingfilm. Leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
Once the dough has risen, add the chopped herbs to the bowl and knead them through the dough.
Turn out the dough onto a floured work surface and roll it out into a large rectangle, approximately 18x30cm and 1cm thick. Push the rhubarb into the dough and top with the onion, courgette and two-thirds of the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, place on a well-floured baking tray, cover loosely with oiled clingfilm and leave in a warm place to prove for 30 minutes.
While the dough is proving, preheat the oven to 240C/220C fan/gas 8 with a heavy baking tray inside. After 20 minutes, drizzle the remaining olive oil on the tray and place it back in the oven.
Carefully remove the hot, oiled tray from the oven and slide the proved dough onto it. Turn the oven down to 220C/200C fan/gas 7 and bake for 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven, top with the basil leaves and drizzle with the honey and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly before serving.