On the Great British Bake Off last year Paul Hollywood set the technical challenge of an Apricot Couronne, then when I got his book Bread for Christmas it had a recipe in it for a Savoury Brioche Couronne. It inspired me to make my own Picnic Couronne.
500g Strong white bread flour
1 sachet fast action yeast
2 tsp salt
125ml warm whole milk
125ml warm water
30g butter (softened)
Approx 8 slices of parma ham (or normal ham if you prefer)
1-2 Large handfuls of fresh spinach
100-150g buffalo mozzarella (the kind that comes packed in brine not the grated kind)
Small handful of fresh basil
- Place the flour in a large bowl or freestanding mixer bowl.
- Add the yeast to one side of the bowl and the salt to the opposite side. Mix thoroughly.
- Mix 125ml of whole milk and 125ml of water in a microwavable jug and heat for approx 40 seconds (try 20 seconds at a time to avoid over heating).
- Gradually add the warm milk & water to the flour mixture and stir with the wooden spoon (or fingers) until all the flour is picked up. Depending on how moist or dry your flour is you might need slightly more / less water.
- Once all the flour is picked up add the softened butter and knead for at least 10 minutes. I let my stand mixer do this for me with a dough hook but it can also be done by hand until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Place in a clean oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Leave to rise for at least an hour and a half until doubled in size.
- Tip the risen dough onto a floured surface and knock back (knead out the air). Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a long thin rectangle. (It will try to spring back but persevere).
- Lay out the Parma ham then add the spinach to cover the ham. (The spinach will release quite a bit of water when cooking so don’t add too much.)
- Break the mozzarella into marble sized pieces and dot across the dough then add the fresh basil leaves.
- Roll the dough into a long sausage shape then cut down the centre to split it in two. (You end up with two pieces the same length as the original piece but half the width.)
- Twist the two pieces together and join the ends together to make a circle.
- Place on a greased and floured baking tray and leave to rise for 45 minutes covered with a tea towel.
- Preheat the oven to 180c.
- Brush the top with beaten egg and bake for 25 minutes at 180c
We’ve eaten this loaf hot when it came out of the oven and then cold over the next few days. When it was hot I found the taste of the Parma ham a little overpowering but one cooled it was lovely. If you are planning to eat it immediately maybe try wafer thin ham as an alternative to Parma. It was such a handy thing to have in for lunch, I kept it in the fridge wrapped in cling film because of the ham. If you were looking for a vegetarian version you could try replacing the ham with sundried tomatoes.