Tortano bread with brown mushrooms and cheese

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I consider my baking journey to be quite eventful. Various attempts remind me of the time when Saana took her first wobbly steps, slowly progress into steady walking, and then went on launch control! Each recipe had been learning, and an exciting one at that, especially with bread baking. I was quite skeptical to start with; kneading the dough with the right consistency was an issue, and then at times, did not get the texture right, and many times I was on a bullfight with the puny thing called yeast! Today when I pop in a well-risen dough to the oven, and it comes out as a perfectly baked bread, I can happily say that the passion prevailed!

Now to the recipe. I saw this bread on Cook Republic (a blog I really love to go to for her gorgeous photography and some awesome and wholesome food). Browsed the net to know more of the bread and referred a few recipes and this is how I came up with my version of this delicious Italian loaf. Fillings (meat or veggies) can be chosen according to your taste and preference. I worked with mushrooms, mozzarella and cheddar this time, as I had to curb my carnivorous instincts for the next 9 days due to the Navaratri festival 🙂

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You need –

  • Strong white bread flour – 2 cups + plus extra for dusting
  • Yeast – 7 grams
  • Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Honey – 3 teaspoons
  • Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
  • Luke warm water – ¾ cups

For the filling –

  • Swiss brown mushrooms – 200 grams, sliced
  • Shallots – minced, 1 tablespoon
  • Garlic cloves -3 larges, minced
  •  Dried thyme – ¼ teaspoon
  • Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
  • Dark soy sauce – 1 teaspoon
  • Balsamic vinegar – 1 teaspoon
  • Cheddar cheese – ¼ cup
  • Mozzarella cheese – ¼ cup

Tortano

How to –

In a mixing bowl, stir the honey, lukewarm water, olive oil, salt and yeast. Let stand until foamy.

Add the flour and using your fingers slowly incorporate the flour with the liquid and start to kneed till the dough is soft. Remove the dough and place it on a floured surface or in stand mixed and knead the dough for about 10 minutes till soft and smooth and comes of clean from your hands

Note – If the dough is too sticky then add a little more flour or if too dry then add little lukewarm water to get the consistency right.

Oil a large bowl and place the dough; cover with a clean kitchen towel and let it sit until the dough doubles in size.

While the dough is rising make the filling…

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Heat the oil in a pan, add the garlic and saute till fragrant but don’t let them brown. Now add the shallots, dried thyme and saute till soft. Add the mushrooms, vinegar and cook till they are golden but not mushy. Add the soy and stir till combined. Turn off the heat and set aside.

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Place a baking sheet and dust with some flour. Place the dough and press with your fingers into a large rectangle about 1 cm thick. Now place the filling on one edge of the rectangle. Sprinkle the cheese. Brush the edges of the dough with some water and roll into a log and then shape it into a wreath. Gentle place it on a baking tray with the baking sheet . Cover with clean kitchen towel and let it sit in a warm place till the dough rises in double.

Pre-heat the oven to 200 c. Once the dough has doubled in size; bake them for 35-40 minutes or till bread has nicely browned.

Cut into wedges and serve warm.

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