There comes a time when putting a cheese platter together feels a bit “seen one, seen ‘em all.” You can get inventive with your selection, but I feel it’s not necessary to overcomplicate matters. A good presentation goes a long way. At our recent Boujee Braai on the Innovation Studio’s rooftop, one of the showstoppers of the evening was a huge pot bread topped with a selection of cheese and figs. The bread becomes the platter, and all the juices – from olive oil to honey and green fig syrup – seeps through the crust and into the freshly baked crumb. When looking for something a little more delicate, I find that moulding a rustic pot bread in a banneton basket before baking gives any bread a welcome touch of refinement.
250 g (445 ml) cake flour
250 g (445 ml) brown bread flour
5 ml salt
1 x 10 g packet instant yeast
15 ml honey
350 ml water
Place the flours, salt and yeast in the mixing bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix all the dry ingredients and add the honey. Add the water and mix until a dough forms. The dough will be wet, but let it knead for 10 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand for 5 minutes.
Rub a bowl with a little bit of oil and place the dough in the bowl. Cover the bowl and place somewhere warm until the dough has doubled in volume. This process will depend on how warm it is.
Take the dough out of the bowl and place on a floured work surface. Knead the dough for 2 minutes. Sprinkle some flour into your bread baskets (bannetons) and shape the dough into a long shape.
Cover the bread baskets and place somewhere warm to double again in volume.
Heat the oven to 180 °C. Carefully turn the breads out onto a lined baking tray and place them in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. To make sure your bread is baked, knock it on top. A hollow sound means it’s baked!
Serve with your favourite cheeses and preserves.