I imagine that food like this would have been sold from market stalls for centuries before packaging and bulk distribution took over. Each day the loaves would probably vary according to what was plentiful. Some would be a meal in themselves like a deconstructed pizza, others delicious in their simplicity for spreading with cheese, dunking in soup or snacking with beer, according to Richard, who is something of an expert when it comes to both snacking and beer.
6 cups plain flour
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 sachet instant dried yeast – (8 grams of instant yeast)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 ½ cups warm water
In a large bowl combine the sugar, salt, flour, yeast and oil. Stir in the warm water and mix to form a soft dough, turn it on to the bench adding more flour if needed, then knead until smooth and springy, 5-8 minutes.
Place dough into a clean greased bowl, cover with cling film and microwave on low power for 1 minute, rest the dough for 10 minutes then repeat. After the second rest the dough should have doubled in size. (Alternatively set aside in a warm place until doubled in size).
Punch the dough down, knead lightly and divide into two or four pieces. Roll and stretch the dough into oblongs and transfer to baking sheets. Add toppings of your choice and bake in a preheated oven at 210 ° for 20 – 30 minutes. Bread should be golden and sound hollow when tapped.
Ricotta, Basil, Tomato and Parmesan:
Ricotta is a low fat soft cheese made from whey, spread it over the bread as a base flavour then top with slices of fresh tomato, basil leaves and grated parmesan cheese. Drizzle with a little olive oil.
Thyme, Bacon and Goat’s cheese:
Spread the dough with tomato paste, scatter with chopped bacon, crumble with goat’s cheese (feta) and sprinkle with fresh or dried thyme.
Garlic and Parmesan:
Brush the dough with olive oil, sprinkle with 3 chopped cloves of garlic, grated parmesan and rock salt – excellent with a cold beer according to the expert.
Grape and Chocolate:
I love this, using the fat purple grapes from our vine; the family aren’t so keen, try for your self or improvise with other fruit.
Press the fruit over the surface of the dough, scatter liberally with chocolate chips and brown sugar. Serve warm.