There’s a story behind this. One of my favourite Italian delis is Giacobazzi in Hampstead. They serve a parma ham with sunblushed tomatoes and mozarella on a ciabatta and a garlic pesto spread. Simple, but utterly divine.
Whilst watching the Great British Bakeoff, I got the idea from Jo’s stromboli. How cool would it be to bake a kind of “strom-batta”, all the above ingredients (bar the pesto) baked into a ciabatta or foccacia. So, I looked up the recipe on Jo’s Blue Aga.
According to wikipedia, stromboli is supposed to be:
“a type of turnover filled with various cheeses, typically mozzarella, Italian meats such as salami, capicola and bresaola orvegetables. The dough is Italian bread dough. A stromboli is made with a square shaped pizza dough that can be topped with any pizza toppings and is then rolled into a log and baked.”
This first attempt was as follows:
500g strong white flour
7g fast-acting yeast
300ml warm water (100ml boiling water + 200ml cold water)
One packet of shop bought parma ham
One packet of shop bought mozarella
One tub of shop bought sunblushed tomatoes
I made the bread dough in the usual way, mix up the flour and salt, then add the yeast and knead it up for about 10 minutes till it’s smooth. I let it rise till it was roughly doubled in size and then knocked it back. Next thing was to get it rolled out into a sheet, without squishing the bread structure out of it too much. I laid out the ham, mozarella and tomatoes on it and then rolled it up and left it to prove for another hour or so, then baked it for 15 minutes on 220 before reducing it to 170 and baking for another 25 minutes. I had to turn it half way through, so it didn’t burn.
What I did find was that a lot of water comes out of the mozarella when it’s baked, which makes the middle of the loaf a bit heavy and you have to bake it for a bit longer to make sure it’s properly cooked.
As ever, that photo above is taken well after the fact. I didn’t take a photo of what it looked like straight out of the oven… as I always forget. Eyes far bigger than my stomach.
Result… not bad. It’s really great with a garlic pesto spread (again shop bought). It’s a bit on the salty side because there’s a lot of salt in the parma ham and the tomatoes so I’ll have to figure out a way to reduce the salt in it. As an idea, the “strom-batta” looks like it’s feasible with my current skillset. So all I have to do now is figure out how to make ciabatta or foccacia, and we’re in a position to make a good go of this.
Whilst this recipe is not totally what I’m aiming for, it does have its merits. It’s actually not that hard to do if you can do your basic white loaf. It’s really just a rolled up white loaf with ham, cheese and tomato in the middle, so it’s very easily done if you can already do bread. I’ll probably still be doing this whenever I’m feeling lazy.