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S-shaped filled loaf

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Gershwin standard 'S Wonderful was playing in my head the whole time I was shaping this loaf (I love the Ella Fitzgerald version).
Filled and flavoured breads are nice to eat, but they're better – even if it's just psychological! – when they come in unusual shapes. It's like the song says, "S'what I like to see".
I started out having made a buttermilk and egg-enriched bread dough and was going to shape it into a loaf with a spiral of oven-dried cherry tomatoes and cubes of fried eggplant in the centre. It would be baked in a loaf tin. Then I looked around online and saw several loaves in an "S" shape, and the recipes all originated from King Arthur Flour's tomato, basil & garlic-filled pane bianco.
Well, that would be perfect for my loaf!
Fill, roll, shape, slice
Besides the tomatoes and eggplant in my filling, I roasted a whole head of garlic and store-bought salted fish pickle (acar) and both were mashed to smear on the dough.
The dough is rolled out into a rectangle and half of it is smeared with the salted fish, which is mashed into a paste –  I use it as a substitute for anchovy paste or tapenade. On top of that, I sprinkle the eggplant cubes (pic 1).
And then the uncovered half is folded over the filling. It is spread with the garlic paste and chopped oven-dried tomatoes are sprinkled on top (pic 2). Doing the double layer distributes the fillings more evenly, I think.
The rectangle is rolled up (pic 3) before being shaped into an "S". In the King Arthur instructions, the Swiss roll is sliced down the middle lengthwise before the shaping, but after reading the problem this blogger had and how she fixed it, I followed her cue and shaped the loaf (pic 4) before making the parting (pic 5).
I've used the same dough for another shaped bread. Tomorrow, my newspaper will run a photo spread on food as a run-up to Halloween, and a few of my colleagues and I came up with an item or two. A professional photographer took the pictures and the layout in print is really nice, so if you get the chance, do have a look at The Star.
S-shaped filled loaf
S-shaped Tomato and Eggplant Loaf
Makes 2 medium loaves

Buttermilk dough
350g flour
1¼-2 tsp active dried yeast (see note below)
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp oil
200g buttermilk
1 medium egg

Filling (quantities at one's own discretion)
Fried eggplant cubes
Oven-dried cherry tomatoes
Roasted garlic, mashed into a paste
Salted fish pickle, mashed into a paste

Combine the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl.
Combine the oil, buttermilk and egg in a jug. Add to the dry ingredients and mix into a dough. Add more water or flour as needed to form a soft dough. Knead with your desired technique to develop the gluten. Set aside to rise.
Divide the dough into two equal portions. Roll out one portion into a rectangle and layer the fillings as desired. Roll up into a Swiss roll and shape into an "S". Slice through the centre of the shape halfway down so the top opens out and the layers can be seen.
Do the same with the other portion of dough, or use it for another kind of bread.
Preheat the oven to 190°C. Bake the bread for 30-35 minutes until nicely golden on top and cooked through.
Note: I use the lesser amount of yeast as the dough is proofed in the fridge overnight. If making the loaf on the same day, you could use up to 2 tsp of yeast.


  1. I like the shape too, beautiful and neatly done, great idea to shape it first:)

  2. I am so gonna try this :) Lovely


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