April 1, 2012

13/52 Tortano with Mozzarella, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Olives

This week, it's time for some savory baking again. Italian. And cheesy.

With the weather being so nice (= sunny and warm), BBQ and picnic season seems to have started. Freshly baked bread is always a great addition to barbecued meat or veggies.

Even better, especially for picnics or just light outdoor meals in general, is freshly baked filled bread. And that's exactly what a Tortano is. An Italian bread, shaped as a wreath, filled with everything you can think of:
Ham. Mozzarella. Sun-dried tomatoes. Hard-boiled eggs. Feta. Olives.
Salami. Grilled veggies. Goat's cheese. Nuts. You name it.

Oh, and with Easter coming up, you've got yourself the perfect Easter brunch bread that will make everybody happy. 

Up until now, I have always used one of Jamie Oliver's recipes for the Tortano (from this book), filled with Parma ham (or without for vegetarians), hard-boiled eggs, cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes. It was always a huge hit with everybody who tried it.
Since I said that I would only try new recipes for this blog, I used a recipe from Leila Lindholm today. She presents various different fillings in her book, but I chose the very classical mozzarella and sun-dried tomato filling, just adding green olives.
You just can't go wrong with a filling like this, can you?

Tortano with Mozzarella, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Olives
Adapted from Leila Lindholm's book One More Slice

For the bread:
15 g (0.5 oz) fresh yeast
300 ml (1 1/3 cup) water, lukewarm
2 tablespoons tomato oil (in which the sun-dried tomatoes are preserved)
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 tablespoon sea salt
500 g (4 cups) flour

For the filling:
6 sun-dried tomatoes (those preserved in oil), cut into stripes
8 green olives, pitted and cut into slices
2 balls (250 g / 8.8 oz) mozzarella, cut into slices
1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • Crumble the yeast into a bowl. Add water, oil, honey and salt and dissolve yeast.
  • Add flour and using your hands, work into an elastic dough.
  • Cover bowl with a kitchen towel and allow to rise until doubled in size (about 40 minutes).
  • On a surface covered with flour, carefully push and pull dough to a rectangle that's about 1 cm (0.4 in) thick.
  • Put filling on the dough. Brush edges with a bit of water and fold up lengthwise, then form a wreath and close.
  • Preheat oven to 250°C (480°F).
  • Transfer wreath to baking sheet covered with parchment paper. If not already covered in flour, put a bit of flour on top. Cover again with towel and let raise for another 30 minutes while oven heats up.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 200°C (390°F) and bake on middle rack for 35 minutes. 
  • Let cool on a wire rack.
Modifications for different fillings:
Just use olive oil instead of the tomato oil and replace the filling by any other filling or combination you desire.

The taste:
It tastes like a summer vacation in Italy. Right there in your mouth.
No, but seriously, the bread is really fluffy and the tomatoes and olives give a great amount of salty but fresh flavor. Just perfect!

What do you bake for picnics? Do you bake your own bread?


    1. Oh my word, this looks delicicous! Definitely a try out for me soon. Thanks for suggesting :-)

      1. Thank you! If you try it, do let me know which filling you made!