If you’re looking for a different style of bread that would willingly offer itself up for alternative flavours, then stromboli bread is your carb! I switch up the fillings to suit what I have in my pantry and fridge at the time. Pesto works well as a base layer, then top the bread with whatever else you fancy. Choose a variety of different cheeses to sundried tomatoes, fresh herbs, cured meats, jarred artichokes, anchovies and so much more. The stromboli bread works wonderfully as a star attraction but equally well, sliced, the stromboli would love to be dipped into a tomato sugo or piping hot seasonal soup.

‘Stromboli’ bread is a meal in itself. The sweet fruits of the Mediterranean have jumped into this bread and have been rolled up tightly before being tucked into bed and baked. It’s perfect alongside some cured meats, olives, artichokes, and salad, but is also a tasty alternative for a picnic or children’s lunch boxes. Stromboli keeps very well due to the moisture of the filling. To re-heat the loaf just pop into a low oven, wrapped in a sheet of parchment paper for five minutes.

TIP: Double the dough recipe and once the double has had it’s first prove, halve it and wrap one half for the freezer. Making the next time a little easier.

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Proving time: 2 hours

Cooking time: 35 minutes Serves: 6–8

For the dough:

350g 00 flour

5g salt

200ml tepid water or mozzarella water

7g dried yeast

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped

For the filling:

250g mozzarella, chopped

50g Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

150g roasted peppers

3 tbsp basil, torn

1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed

Pepper to season

1 tsp dried oregano

1 small red chilli, finely sliced (optional)

  1. Mix the flour and salt together in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the dried yeast to the tepid water and stir. This will activate the yeast.
  3. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the yeasty water and olive oil, then sprinkle over the chopped rosemary.
  4. Using your fingertips, combine the flour and liquid to form a dough.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8–10 minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic. If it is sticky, add a little more flour.
  6. Form the dough into a ball and place into a lightly oiled bowl.
  7. Cover with a clean tea towel and allow to prove for 1 hour 30 minutes in a warm area of the kitchen away from any draught.
  8. Prepare the filling. Into a bowl tumble in the chopped mozzarella, grated Parmigiano Reggiano, roasted peppers, basil, garlic, pepper, oregano, and chilli. Mix with a fork, cover, and set aside.
  9. Lightly flour the surface and turn out the dough. Roll the dough to the size of a swiss roll tin around 30 x 25cm.
  10. Turn the dough so the shortest side is facing you. Sprinkle over the filling allowing a margin of 1–2cm all the way around.
  11. Roll from the shortest side, tucking in the edges as you go.
  12. Place onto a baking tray and cover with cling film. Allow to rest for 30 minutes while you preheat the oven to 180ºC (gas 4).
  13. Bake for 35 minutes until golden.
  14. Serve as part of an antipasti starter or with a salad as a light lunch.

Recipe taken from my first cookery book; Southern Italian Family Cooking.