This is a great recipe for small kitchen helpers.
2 tsp instant dried yeast
400g strong white bread flour
25g olive oil
1 tsp salt
A large ball of fresh Mozzarella cheese, cut into 32 small pieces
50g grated Parmesan cheese
An egg mixed with a little milk for brushing the top before baking
A few sprigs of fresh basil, finely chopped
You will need a large flat baking tray, lined or floured; the AGA cold plain shelf is ideal.
1. Warm the water and yeast together in a pyrex jug on the back of the top of the AGA or in a warm place until it feels ‘just warm’ to touch. Add the flour and salt, mix briefly then knead for 5 - 10 mins either by hand or in a mixer with dough hook (on the slowest speed) or in a bread machine using the kneading function.
2. Grease a large bowl with a little olive oil the place the dough in it, cover and leave in a warm place (ie on a folded tea towel on the simmering plate lid) to prove for an hour or so or until the dough looks to have doubled in size.
3. Turn out on to a lightly floured work surface and divide the dough into 32 pieces. Taking each piece in turn, flatten and place a piece of the mozzarella in the middle and a teaspoon of the grated parmesan then close over the edges to form into a ball. Place on the baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the pieces of dough and arrange on the baking sheet however you like - they look great in a Christmas tree shape, circles in a round shape with a gap in the middle to serve a dip in, in a number shape for a birthday or even in a pattern especially to fit a particular serving plate or board. The dough balls should be only just touching at this stage as they will rise together when they prove further and bake.
4. Set aside to prove again in your warm place for 30 mins or so. Brush the bread with beaten egg and milk mixture. Heat an oven to 200C or use the AGA roasting oven to bake for 20 - 25 mins. Remove from the oven and brush or spoon the melted butter, garlic and herb mixture liberally over the bread balls, making sure to get plenty into the creases between the dough balls. Serve warm and stand back!
Tip for eR3 users - the storage cupboard makes an ideal place for speedy bread proving: if any of the rest of the cooker is on, it will feel slightly warm and be a perfect bread proving temperature.