If you've got some thyme on your hands (sorry!), here's a delicious loaf you can make. Make it while you're having an at-home-spa-day:
- Have a dainty cup of Japanese tea.
- Wash your face with your best, gorgeous smelling cleansing balm.
- Mix the dough and leave it to rest for the first 10 minutes.
- Apply your fruity face mask.
- Knead the dough and rest it for 10 more minutes.
- Flick through your latest beautifully photographed food magazine.
- Knead the dough again and rest for a further 10 minutes.
- Wash off the face mask and apply sweet smelling toner and expensive moisturiser.
- Knead and fold the dough and leave for 1 hour.
- We've got a whole hour. Fill a container with warm water, grab a cookie and plonk yourself down on the sofa. Pop your feet in the water, pop the cookie in your mouth and watch an hour of mindless TV - or an episode of Sons of Anarchy - whichever takes your fancy.
- It's time to stretch the dough again (sorry, we were having such a lovely time), and leave it for another hour.
- You must be parched, so make some coffee and grab your book... this is the relaxation part of the spa session.
- Stretch the dough for the final time and leave it to rest for 1 last hour.
- Run a bath and soak in some exquisite bubbles (with a glass of bubbles - this is an exclusive spa).
- Prepare the dough for it's final rising, leaving it to rest for 30-45 minutes.
- Trim and file your toenails and apply the first coat of the most delicious shade of pink nail polish.
- Slip the loaf in the oven and bake for 40 minutes.
- Apply the second coat of nail polish.
Olive and Thyme Bread
from Dan Lepard's The Handmade Loaf
Makes 1 loaf
350g bread flour
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
150g water at 20 degrees C
150g white leaven (starter) *find out how to make it here
1/2 teaspoon fresh yeast, crumbled
25g extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing
100g pitted green olives (I used Sicilian olives)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
polenta or cornmeal for dusting
In a large bowl, combine the flour and with the salt and mix thoroughly.
In another bowl, whisk together the water, leaven, yeast, 25g olive oil, the olive, the olives and the thyme. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together with your hands until you have a soft, sticky dough. Cover and leave for 10 minutes
Rub about 1 teaspoon of olive oil onto a work surface and lightly knead the dough on the oiled surface for about 10 seconds. Return the dough to the bowl and leave for another 10 minutes. Knead the dough on the oiled surface for another 10 seconds and put it back into the bowl and leave for another 10 minutes.
Generously oil a lipped tray. Place the dough, seam-side-down on the oiled tray and pat it out into a rectangle, then fold it in by thirds each way (like you would a business letter). Flip the dough over so that the seam side faces down. Cover with a cloth and leave for 1 hour in a warm place.
Stretch the dough, fold as before, and leave again for another hour. Repeat the stretching and folding one more time and leave to rise again for another hour. Be gentle, you don't want to knock too much air out of the dough.
Lightly oil a baking tray and sprinkle to surface with the polenta. Flip the dough out in the to tray and dimple the surface with your fingertips, flattening slightly and creating little depressions in the top of the loaf. Sprinkle a little polenta on the top of the dough and loosely cover the dough with a cloth and leave for 30-45 minutes in a warm place.
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C. Uncover the dough and bake in the centre of the oven for 40 minutes, or until the top of the loaf is a deep golden brown.
Cool on a wire rack.