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“From the book Baker & Spice. This is a remarkable bread, with intense flavour without being overpowering, sweet without being sugary. This is a rater complicated recipe but once you get the hang of it, it will be easier. I have made it 3 times and its a winner with guests. The process of leavening and 'tucking' dough will take 4 hours so make sure you have enough time.”
4 loaves

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. In a large bowl mix the warm water, HALF the strong flour and yeast. Leave in a warm place for about two hours or until the mixture froths.
  2. add the orange juice, the remaining strong flour and the salt. with your hands mix the mixture until it forms a rough ball in the centre of the bowl.the dough is supposed to be wet and sticky. It is the high water content that will give this bread its open texture.
  3. Pour a third of the olive oil on top of the dough. rub a little olive oil on the palms of your hand, then start to tuck the dough underneath itself, while rotating the bowl, until you have a smooth shiny mass. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes. ( you will be doing this step another 3 times and 5 more times without oil).
  4. In the meantime make the filling. Blanch the garlic in boiling water for 2 minutes , peel.
  5. put the olive oil in a small heavy based frying pan over a medium heat.when it simmers add the garlic and saute for a minute beig careful not to burn it.
  6. Add the water, balsamic vinegar ,sugar, salt, pepper and rosemary. reduce the heat to a very low setting and simmer 5 minutes. When the garlic is soft increase heat and reduce the liquid until syrupy. ( don't caramelise).
  7. Now back to the bread.Slightly deflate the dough with your fingers, making dozens of indentations. drizzle on another third of the olive oil and repeat the same tucking action. Cover with plastic wrap and leave 30 minutes.
  8. Repeat this step another time with the rest of the oil and rest another 30 minutes. After this you will do the tucking action another 5 times but without using oil leaving the same 30 minute interval. By the end the dough should be smooth.
  9. On a floured surface, press out the dough with your fingers and heels until you get a rectangle 36 cm x 18 x 2 cm thick.
  10. Spread the cooked whole cloves with their syrup and distribute evenly over the surface. Fold the longest side across by a third, and then bring the other side on top . Now do the same but from the narrow side. fold a third across and then bring the other side on top of it, trapping layers of filling between the dough. Cover and rest 30 minutes.
  11. Brush a large baking dish with olive oil and dust with polenta. Using a sharp knife cut the dough into 5 cm slices ( about 4). and lay them down CUT SIDE UP, streching them to a slightly oval shape. Leave enough space so they won't touch each other when they will expand.
  12. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise about an hour or until double in size. Pre heat oven to 250°C.
  13. Brush top with olive oil. bake in the middle shelf. After 5 minutes recuce heat to 180C and bake a further 35-40 minutes or until the loaf is bromn and quite blistered, and feels firm when pressed.
  14. Leave to cool on a wire rack and leave to cool to room temperature before slicing.

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