Feta, Olive and Basil Bread
Feta, Olive and Basil Bread
Feta, Olive and Basil Bread is a homemade bread which is stuffed with feta, olives and basil. Superbly delicious, goes well with a hearty salad or soup. Makes a good bread to carry for lunch, picnics or even when you’re travelling.
Fresh Basil or Dried?
While fresh basil would have been a better option, I didn’t have any so used the dried version. I’ve also tried the stuffing with other herbs and it tastes equally good. So, go ahead and use a herb of your choice.
Plain Flour or Whole Wheat Flour?
The first time I baked this bread, I used all purpose flour only. Nowadays, I prefer to use wholewheat flour and add just a little of the plain flour. Use whichever you prefer.
What Kind Of Olives Should You Use?
Any of your choice, green black, kalamata, mixed.
Feta Cheese is a Greek brined curd cheese, made either from sheep or goats’s milk. It is aged in the brine and is soft and can easily crumble. The prominent flavour of this cheese is tangy and salty. It is also known as pickled cheese.
If you follow a strict vegetarian diet, try and get feta cheese made with vegetable rennet.
I love feta cheese and add it to breads, salads and pies too.
Here are Some Recipes Where I Love To Use Feta Cheese
- Fatayer Jebneh – cheese pastries from the Middle East
- Beetroot Mango Feta Salad – colourful, a medley of flavours and filling.
- Avocado, Tomato and Feta Salad – another filling and delicious summery salad.
- My favourite, Watermelon, Feta and Spinach Salad – so refreshing and a wonderful combination of sweet and tangy.
- Vegetarian Chickpea Gyros – filling, healthy and yummy
- Greek Salad or Horiatiki is incomplete without feta cheese
- Traditional Mexican Molette – Mexican style sandwich where I’ve replaced cojita cheese with feta.
Loaf or Buns?
You can roll the dough out into a rectangle, spread out the stuffing and shape it into a round or normal loaf. Or you can make buns, whichever you prefer. I prefer to make medium buns.
Since mid January 2014, I have been having some teeth problems. Can I blame my 50+ age, approaching menopause or genes? Since childhood I have been pretty regular with brushing, flossing, mouth washes, etc. By the way after all these years of bombarding people with adverts of the benefits of mouth washes, some health gurus claim that mouth washes are actually bad for our teeth.
Whatever, its just given me an excuse to stop buying those expensive, coloured, gum burning liquids and go back to the salted water gargle.
So during my umpteen visit to the dentist, I came across a recipe of bread with feta,olives and basil in a home living magazine. Mentally noted what the filling was all about and went to sit on the dental chair. Next day, I thought I better bake the bread before I forget about it.
In spite of the extremely hot weather, I kneaded the dough for 12 minutes non stop…. yes good workout for the arms (though my arms still appear as though I am a sumo wrestler!). After the task of kneading the bread was over, I looked as though I have just come out of the sauna…. dripping wet!
So here’s the recipe of my hard workout and by the way toothache is less now. Yes it seems old age is catching up fast and my siblings are teasing me that I pretty soon may have dentures. Dentures can wait but not the baking bug.
Ingredients Required For Feta, Olive and Basil Bread
- Flours – wholewheat and all purpose or bread flour
- Yeast – I prefer to use dry active instant yeast. If you don’t use the instant version then you will need to ferment the dry yeast in some warm liquid for 10 minutes. Add the yeast and sugar to the warm water. Stir and allow it to ferment before adding to the flour mixture.
- Salt – add less as the feta cheese and olives taste salty.
- Sugar – need a little for the yeast to ferment.
- Olive Oil – to add to the dough and extra for brushing and applying to the dough.
- Warm Water – lukewarm water.
- Feta Cheese – crumbled
- Olives – use any kind of your choice. Slice or chop them up roughly.
- Basil – I have used dried basil.
- Garlic Paste – add according to your taste.
- Pepper – coarse pepper powder
FETA OLIVE AND BASIL BREAD
- 2¼ cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tsp dry active instant yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1-1¼ cups warm water
- ½ cup feta cheese crumbled
- ½ cup olives sliced
- 1 tsp dried basil or ¼ cup fresh chopped basil
- 1 tsp garlic paste
- 1/2 tsp coarse pepper powder
- extra oil for greasing and brushing
- extra flour for dusting
- Put the flours in a big bowl.
- Add sugar, salt and yeast to it and mix it.
- Rub in the olive oil.
- Add the warm water and form a dough.
- Sprinkle some flour onto a worktop.
- Put the dough onto it and knead it using the heel of your palm for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Make the dough into a huge round shape.
- Rub oil all over the bowl and the dough.
- Place the dough in the bowl and cover it with a cling film, lid or damp tea towel.
- Put it in a suitable warm place for the dough to rise till its double the size.Mine takes about 1½ hours. The fermentation time will depend on the weather.
- Punch the dough down gently. Sprinkle more flour over the worktop or board. Divide it into 8 or 10 equal parts and roll into a ball.
- Mix all the ingredients for the filling.
- Take one ball and using your thumb and fingers make it into a bowl shape.
- Add 1 tsp of the filling and close up the edges.
- Roll the dough into a round shape and place it in a greased tray with the sealed part at the bottom.
- Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
- Place the tray in a warm place and let the dough rise again till its nearly double the size. I let it rest for 30 to 40 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Brush olive oil over the tops of the buns and sprinkle some basil over it.
- Place the risen dough in the oven to bake for 20 to 25 minutes or till the tops are golden brown.
- Remove the bread from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool for a bit. Its tastes really good while it is still warm.
- Shape the dough as you like, into a log shape, buns or as a loaf.
- Use any tray or tin you like, square, round, loaf tin etc.
- To knead the dough use the heel of your palm, fold and repeat.
- Add herbs of your choice.
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