Whilst the northern hemisphere is in winter we here in Australia are enjoying the summer vibes. That means juicy red tomatoes and basil. That is one of the best flavour combinations I believe.
Even though it’s hot most days, I still find there is a heat break every few days. Overcast days give me inspiration to bake and slow down.
I think this recipe is great to make for a picnic, an afternoon snack or even as a side for a lunch or dinner dish. Basically whenever, wherever. The best way to eat it is definitely straight out of the oven, whilst the cheese in the middle is still warm and melted and when you ‘break’ the bread or in this case pull apart the bread, the beautiful aroma fills the air. Topped with fresh basil and balsamic syrup, it is a beautiful summery bread dish.
Tips for soft and fluffy bread
- Allow the milk, yeast, sugar mixture to fluff up before adding it to the flour and egg ingredients (instructions below). This is crucial as this will allow the bread to rise and create that fluffy and light consistency. The yeast and sugar in the warm milk will become activated and create a foam on the surface. Once you can see that, it’s ready to go into your stand mixer with the flour and eggs. If you skip this step – the bread won’t rise, won’t be brioche like and will look and taste similar to flat pizza bread.
- Sift the flour. This is so important if you want it to be extra fluffy! It still shocks me what a difference it makes to sift flour. This recipe was tested 3 times, and the third time I decided to sift the flour just to see what happens. It gave the bread an extra height and volume.
- Use full fat milk and organic grass fed butter. That gives density to the bread compared to the first time I tried making this (where I only had access to light milk and conventional butter)
1 cup milk
490g plain organic flour
2 tsp dry yeast
1 tbsp raw organic sugar (you can try using honey if you don’t like cane sugar)
1 tsp salt
2 eggs plus 1 more for the egg wash
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup tomato passata
1 1/2 cup heirloom cherry tomatoes (sliced in half)
2 tbsp balsamic syrup
1 bunch of fresh basil
2 cups of grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
- Divide the milk in half and pour 1 half into a small pot. Bring to the boil then remove from the heat and add the butter and sugar. Using a spoon allow the butter to melt and the sugar to dissolve. After approximately 5 minutes add the yeast. Wait 7 minutes until the surface has risen with foam.
- In a stand mixer, sift the flour then add the salt and eggs.
- Pour in the milk mixture into the flour mixture then on a slow speed using a dough hook mix until well combined and quite smooth. Place the ball of dough into a separate bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for approximately 30 to 40 minutes allowing the dough to rise.
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
- Take the dough and on a lightly floured surface roll out the dough into a rectangle size – 40 cm long and 30 cm wide.
- Top with the passata, the cheddar cheese, half of the cherry tomatoes, 1/2 of the balsamic syrup, parmesan and a bit of olive oil.
- Using a knife cut the dough in half lengthways as you will roll each side separately.
- Roll each half into a strip, folding it twice.
- Cut into rolls. You will cut approximately 10 rolls each half so that will be a total of 20 rolls.
- Arrange each roll facing upwards on a greased pan, plate or other baking dish or tray. Brush with egg wash or olive oil so it will be nice and golden once cooked. Place into the oven. Heat under 180 degrees for 15 minutes then increase the heat to 200 degrees and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Cover with foil if necessary whilst cooking.
- Take out of the oven and top with the rest of the cherry tomatoes, balsamic syrup and some more cheese if you wish!
- Enjoy 🙂
- You can play around with what baking dish you use. In these photos I used a small iron cast pan and also another baking bowl which I did not include for photos but just baked on the side to eat! You can use roasting trays, all baking trays, even cake tins – get creative!
- I made one of these after christmas time with ham leftovers, cheese, basil and more – Experiment with whatever you have! Just make sure to include cheese…because cheesy things are the best things!
- Balsamic syrup is thicker and sweeter compared to balsamic vinegar. If you don’t have access to balsamic syrup, just whisk together runny honey and balsamic vinegar to create a similar consistency.