This is the ultimate prepare ahead picnic lunch. Just make sure everything you’re stuffing into it is loved by all and away you go. My lot are rather taken with cured meats, smoked cheeses, cucumber and tomato but really a picnic loaf can take whatever you throw at it. I was thinking a smoked salmon and cream cheese loaf layered with cucumber and fresh dill might be delicious? Or even roasted thinly sliced courgettes, roquito peppers, aubergine, fresh pesto and mozzarella. Or a meat feast quite literally bursting with pork, beef, chicken and lamb. And whilst we’re on the lamb theme what about cold roasted lamb, houmous and a mint dressing? Do as you will with it but remember to save the inside of the bread for the ducks. It’s only fair.
Two years ago: Teacher’s pet chocolate and hazelnut oaty biscuits and Spelt loaf and Vanilla cupcakes
Three years ago: Restorative chicken and leek risotto
Stuffed seeded picnic loaf
Makes one stuffed loaf that will feed 4 – 8 depending on hunger
- 500g strong white flour (plus extra for shaping)
- 7g easy bake yeast
- 7g salt
- 30mls olive oil
- 300mls baby bath temperature water
- 50g hemp seeds
- 20g poppy seeds
- 50g sunflower seeds
- Meat, cheese, salad stuff and pesto for stuffing with – whatever takes your fancy!
Mix the flour, yeast, salt and olive oil together in a bowl then add the water and either knead by hand for about 10 minutes until really smooth and elastic or use the KitchenAid dough hook for about 4 minutes. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave to double in size at room temperature. The hotter the room the faster this will be.
Knock the dough back with the dough hook or your hands then tip onto a floured work surface and use your hands to scoop under the dough and form into a ball. You are trying to create tension on the top of the loaf so pull and scoop underneath to create a taut surface. Place on a well floured baking tray, flour the top of the loaf and then cover in clingfilm. Leave to double in size.
Slash the top of the loaf a couple of times with a sharp knife then bake in a preheated oven at 220C/gas mark 7 for 30 minutes until well browned and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow. Allow to cool on a wire rack then once cool cut the loaf in half with a serrated knife across the middle, horizontally. Then scoop out the bread from the middle of both halves, using your hands, leaving a crust shell. Fill the bottom side with whatever you please, layering into a dome that is tall enough to fill the bread top (keep offering it up for size), working in layers, then put the loaf back together carefully. Wrap well in clingfilm and leave for about 2 hours before cutting. Perfect picnic fodder!
I filled mine with… gherkins, pastrami, mustard, pesto, basil, mozzarella, red Leicester cheese, ham, salami, pickled red peppers and fresh tomato. What would you put in yours?!