There was Paul Hollywood before the GBBO. I’ve got his 2004 100 Great Breads cookbook to prove it. And, yes, most of the recipe instructions do include a proving step. The step that really stood out to me today was the kneading, though. Recently, I’ve been using a wet, big-batch dough that doesn’t require kneading, so when I felt the flour-yeast mixture transform from sticky-tacky to smooth and pliable in the course of five minutes of hand kneading, it felt especially nice.
For the loaf I baked this evening, I followed Hollywood’s method for a Cypriot loaf, but I substituted several filling ingredients. Capers and sun-dried tomato strips took the place of black Greek olives and fresh cilantro. I was careful to strain the capers and to blot most of the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes so that extra moisture wouldn’t interfere with the proving time.
One hour for the plain dough to prove. One additional hour for the filled and shaped loaf to prove. Thirty minutes for the bread to bake. Five minutes for the bread to cool enough to be cut. Minutes before the warm slices to disappear.
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 package yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water
capers & sun-dried tomatoes