This loaf is made of 4 coils of dough, with each coil containing thick chunks of stilton and thin slivers of fresh fig. As an excuse for eating huge quantities of cheesy bread, I added a little wholemeal flour. The wholemeal flour, however, as well as making the bread top quality nutrition, adds a slightly nuttier texture and colour which I like. The loaf makes a perfect tear-and-share if you are having friends over for dinner or something like that.
400g strong white bread flour
100g wholemeal flour
~8g fast-action yeast (2 teaspoons)
1 egg yolk
1. The round shape of this loaf was achieved by baking it in a round cake-tin, so the first step to making this loaf is to lightly grease a cake tin with a little oil and set to one side. Be careful there is no excess oil in the bottom, and if you put a little too much in it is easily absorbable with some kitchen towel.
2. To make the dough measure out the two types of flour and mix them well. Add the yeast to one side, and the salt to the other. Next make a little dough in the middle and add the water.
3. Either knead by hand on a lightly oiled-surface for 10-12 minutes until nice and elastic, or knead in a stand-mixer with a dough hook for about 8-10 minutes. Shape into a ball, then cover and leave to prove for 1-2 hours at room temperature. The dough should double or treble in size.
4. To prepare the filling, split the stilton into 50g chunks then chop into rough chunks. Slice the figs thinly, then chop these slices in half so they will fit nicely into a spiral.
5. Once the dough has proven, tip out onto a lightly oiled surface and gently flatten out, knocking some of the air out with your knuckles. Divide into four equal sized lumps-if you want to be really pedantic you can measure them to make sure they are equal but I just did it by eye.
6. Flatten each dough out to a rectangle approximately 8cm x 15cm. You can gently use a rolling pin to help you with this but don’t be too vigorous else you will flatten the dough completely.
7. Along the long side of the rectangle of dough, line up a row of your stilton, followed by a line of fig. You should use be able to use all of your 50g of stilton allocated to each spiral, and about a quarter of the figs. Roll up tightly as you would do a swiss roll and coil. Place in one corner of the cake tin.
8. Repeat for the other lumps of dough, and arrange the spirals in a 4 leaf clover-like shape in the tin.
9. Leave to prove for one hour.
10. Preheat the oven to 220•C. When the dough has finished proving, brush with a beaten egg yolk to give it a nice glaze.
11. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until golden on the top and making a nice hollow sound underneath.