Bread with a twist – literally…Olive and Parmesan Kranz Bread

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I love complicated things in life! They provide challenge, excitement, surprises and interesting angles. This bread has it all…and much more. It is a little traditional and a little modern, it is a little Italian and a little British, it stands alone but can compliment, it needs time, but that does not demand constant attention. The sexy filling results in superb, multi-layered texture. My bread version of the Kranz Cake looks impressive, but is not too difficult to make. Braiding two strands just means crossing them a couple of times. However, even if it was difficult, it would be worth it!

Ingredients

For the dough: 250 g white flour, 175 g lukewarm water, 14 g fresh yeast, 1 tsp salt, olive oil to knead

For the filling: 150 gr pitted, black olives, 100 g grated parmesan, 4 tbsp olive oil

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Method

Dissolve the yeast in the water (the water must not be too warm or the temperature will kill the yeast). In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the water with yeast. Mix in some of the flour mixture. Knead it on oiled surface for five minutes. Place it back to the bowl covered with cling film and leave for about 50 minutes, until doubled in size.

In the meantime line a loaf tin with a piece of parchment. Make the filling by mixing together all the ingredients in a food processor.

Once risen, take the dough out of the bowl and brush a bit of water along the side furthest away from you. Spread the filling on the top evenly (optionally add more parmesan). Roll dough out into a rectangle and like roulade – try to roll it pretty tightly. Press to seal the wet end and then use both hands to even out the roll into a perfect, thick cigar, sitting on its seam. Trim about 2.5 cm of both ends of the bread dough with a serrated knife. Use the knife to gently cut the log down the middle lengthwise. Cross one piece over the other, then continue to criss-cross the pieces in both directions to form a braid. Pinch the tips together at each end to seal off the edges. Carefully lift the bread into prepared loaf tin. Cover with a wet tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for about 40-50 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius  making sure you allow plenty of time for it to heat fully before the rising.Remove the towel and place the bread in the oven. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, leaving the oven door open in the last ten minutes of baking time.

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This bread will keep for a couple of days , wrapped in foil, or up to a couple of weeks when frozen.

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