I know, it doesn’t look like a plait. I’m sorry. I made this on a particularly hot day and I think my dough rose too quickly to support its own weight. Hopefully yours will look much prettier.
A Ploughman’s lunch is a pretty common thing in the UK, usually consisting of a chunk of fresh bread, some good cheese and some hand carved ham. This loaf makes a really good, very portable alternative to sandwiches although it’s also really good served warm so that the cheese goes all gooey.
This is all based on what Mr Colonial Cravings tells me however, because of the ham I didn’t actually sample this one myself.
makes one loaf
250g strong bread flour
150g wholemeal flour
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
300g tepid water
150g thickly sliced good quality ham
80g strong cheddar
2 big tbsp of your favourite pickle or chutney
In a large bowl, stir together the flours, sugar, salt and yeast and gradually incorporate the water to form a soft dough. You may not need all the water. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and knead it for a few a minutes. Scoop up the dough from underneath, pull it towards you and then fold it back over itself. This stretches the gluten in the flour really well.
As you work the dough it should lose any stickiness and become soft and smooth and when you press it with the tip of your finger it should spring back. Wash and dry the mixing bowl and then lightly oil it before placing the dough in it to prove. Cover it with a clean damp tea towel or a piece of lightly oiled cling film and leave the bowl somewhere warm-ish for the dough to rise.
Once it’s doubled in size give it a quick knead to make sure that the air is evenly distributed throughout it before stretching or rolling it out into a rectangle with short edge facing you. Cut the dough from the edges, diagonally up towards the top of the rectangle, stopping just short of where you want the filling.
Layer on the fillings, I think it’s best to keep the chutney in the middle layer to prevent any sogginess. Fold the edges across the loaf, alternating from side to side and making sure that the filing is completely covered.
Transfer the loaf to a baking tray and recover it. Leave this to rise again whilst your oven pre-heats to 220°c. Brush the surface with water, scatter over a few rolled oats and bake for around 20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Leave to cool on a wire rack before enjoying in thick slices.