Recipe: Stecca bread with roasted butternut dip


This all-time favourite bread is exceptionally easy to make. The dip can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for up to three days.

Words and Recipe: Ruth Pretty Photos: Murray Lloyd

INGREDIENTS
400g high-grade flour
½ teaspoon table salt
¾ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon dry yeast granules (we use Edmonds)
375ml cold water
¼ cup olive oil
¾ teaspoon flaky sea salt
1 tablespoon each black and white sesame seeds

Put the flour, salt, sugar and yeast into a large bowl. Add water and mix with a spoon for about 15 seconds. Cover the bowl tightly and let it sit at room temperature for at least 18 hours, or preferably overnight, until the surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough has more than doubled in size. The dough will seem very wet and will smell slightly sour.

Pour half the oil onto the dough. Using a dough scraper or a table knife, fold the dough over itself two or three times (the dough will decrease in size). Cover the bowl tightly and leave at room temperature for at least one hour or until the dough has almost doubled in size. If you gently poke it with your finger, it should hold the impression. If it springs back, let it rise for another 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 210°C. Lightly grease a low-sided bun or baking tray with some of the remaining oil. Put the dough on the tray and use your hands to form it into a flattish rectangular shape. Leave at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Drizzle the dough with the remaining oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on the tray for five minutes, then remove to a cake rack to cool completely. Makes 1 loaf.

ROASTED BUTTERNUT DIP
500g butternut, peeled and cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon flaky sea salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
70g creamy cows’ milk feta
¾ teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly toasted and ground
¾ teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly toasted and ground
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped Italian parsley

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place butternut onto a low-sided baking tray and drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until tender and a little brown around the edges. Remove from oven and let cool, then put it in a food processor with the feta, fennel and cumin seeds and lemon juice.

Process until smooth, then taste and add extra salt and pepper if needed. Sprinkle with parsley and serve at room temperature with the sliced Stecca bread. Makes about 1½ cups.

NZ Life and Leisure This article first appeared in NZ Life & Leisure Magazine.
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