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I had so much fun with the Sweet and Spicy Christmas Tree Bread I thought I would try a savoury version. You can play around with the decorations and use your favourite toppings. The olive oil and rosemary oil in the bread really compliment the olives and tomatoes. We love this bread served warm with an extra drizzle of olive oil. In fact, you can make it any time of the year, maybe experimenting with different shapes ?
Olive, Tomato and Herb Christmas Tree Bread
- 500g strong white bread flour
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast (we use Doves Farm)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons rosemary infused olive oil
- OR use 4 tablespoons olive oil
- Approx 275 ml tepid water
- Extra olive oil for drizzling
- At least 8 cherry tomatoes ( depending on size – you may want to halve them)
- Approx 20 olives
- Optional: Rosemary or your favourite herb to garnish.
400°F / 200°C / Gas Mark 6
1 large baking tray
- I usually make bread in my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer with a dough hook fitted but mixing and kneading by hand is just as effective and can be more satisfying.
- By hand:
- Mix the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
- Add the oil and a little water – mix well adding a little water at a time until you have formed a ball of dough.
- Transfer to a floured surface and knead for 10 to 12 minutes.
- Add flour, salt, sugar and yeast to the mixing bowl, make a well and add the oil and half the water.
- Mix on slow speed number 1 for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the rest of the water and mix on speed number 2 for 8 to 10 minutes.
- Check your dough is ready by using the windowpane test.
THE WINDOW PANE TEST is a consistently reliable way to check your dough is ready. Pinch off a small piece of dough and gently stretch it apart, pulling and rotating the dough into a thin membrane, or window pane, which is translucent when you hold it up to the light.
- Place your dough in a large greased bowl and cover.
- Leave to rest in a warm place for at least one and a half hours or until doubled in size.
- Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and divide into 45 g portions, 21 balls and one roll for the tree trunk. I like to weigh the portions to make sure they get an even bake but you can divide your dough by eye if you prefer.
- Shape into balls, cupping in your hands to give them an even shape.
- Place the dough balls onto the baking tray in the shape of the Christmas tree – see photos – with 6 dough balls on the first row and the tree trunk underneath at the centre.
- Continue with 5 dough balls on the second and so on until you have a single dough ball at the top.
- Leave no more than 2.5 cm (1 inch) between each dough ball and when risen they will touch each other, which maintains the Christmas tree shape.
- Cover with greased cling film/plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for approximately 30 to 45 minutes.
- Gently press the tomatoes and olives into the bread to decorate.
- Place in the oven for approximately 25 minutes, checking halfway through the cooking time and turning the baking sheet around if some rolls are browning too quickly.
- Drizzle with olive oil and serve.
Savoury Christmas Tree Bread has been linked to: