Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Packed lunches

Since Easter, Paul has been working on a new contract. After his second day on the site he staggered through the front door and gasped "I need to take packed lunches". The poor love. For some reason contractors only have access to the cafeteria when accompanied by a member of staff, and all the staff were on a training thing that week.

I had a rummage in the freezer and pantry, and decided to make him a loaf of stuffed bread to see him through the rest of the week. I made a batch of basic bread dough (450g strong white flour, 50g rye flour, 2 sachets of yeast, a glug of olive oil and as much water as it needed). I kneaded in some dried thyme and parsley.
Sausage and chilli filling.

While the dough rose I sauteed a sliced onion, 6 pork sausages (casings removed) and a couple of diced green chillies.
Dusted with polenta for some extra crunch

When the filling was cool and the dough had doubled in size I patted the dough into a big rectangle, spread the filling over it and rolled it up. Then I let it prove again before baking.

It was very successful. Savoury, filling, and very well suited to the way he likes to graze through the day.

There was one problem with it, from my point of view. I just couldn't really consider a bit of chilli and onion to bring an actual vegetable component to his meal. And he really isn't one to snack on fruit if I gave it to him. I had to consider how to get some other food groups into his lunch.

When I made the custard burger buns, I only shaped a third of the dough, and used the rest to make another filled bread.

I warmed 100g of nduja so it was spreadable, and painted it across the dough. I sauteed an onion, some chopped spinach and some sun-dried tomatoes and spread that across too.

It was pretty funny really. I was wracking my brains to remember the last time I bought sun-dried tomatoes, or deliberately ate anything with them in it. Weird how ingredients fall out of fashion. But I wanted their sweet, salty chewiness and fashion be damned.

Then I tore a ball of mozzarella over it and rolled it up tightly. It made a very, very big loaf, so I cut it in half. One loaf got a second proving and baking, the other was wrapped and frozen (I thawed and baked it half way through the week so it was fresh for the second half of the week).

These loaves didn't rise as well as the previous loaf, which I think was mainly due to the wetter filling. I thought it was interesting that there was no significant difference between the one baked straight away and the one that was frozen and thawed. The combination of flavours was excellent, and I did feel much better about the addition of vegetables.

For this week's lunches, Paul asked for sandwiches. On home made bread. Easy enough - I made a loaf of Dan Lepard's milk bread, substituting 60g of rolled oats for 60g of the flour, and soaking the oats in the hot milk. I'd bought a selection of ham, cheese, salad stuff and whatnot, but on Sunday evening we barbecued a piece of beef rump, so his Monday sandwich was leftover beef and horseradish. He vetoed the addition of lettuce.


The Cat's Mother said...

You can supply my lunches any day.

Faux Fuchsia said...

want those sandwiches NOW

Jeane M. said...

Simply fantastic,I think I need a packed lunch from now on too. Yum! Got my eye on your next posts.

Foodycat said...

Mother - it's an interesting challenge!

FF - they were wonderful!

Jeane - thank you!

mscrankypants said...

It gives new meaning to pre-making your sandwiches!

underthebluegumtree said...

Bread! With sausages in! Love, love, LOVE the look of that and am definitely going to give it a go.

Joanne said...

Ooo I love the idea of stuffed bread! Definitely perfect for a packed lunch.

grace said...

...and all paul's coworkers eye him with envy. i know i would. :)

Deb in Hawaii said...

You are definitely feeding him well--all three options are perfect for a hungry guy's lunch! ;-)

Caroline said...

They all sound and look absolutely delicious! Beats my cheese sandwiches any day. I did once make some fairly successful bread scrolls with roasted med veg in them but I think I'd add feta to them next time as they weren't all that substantial. Yours all look great.

Simona said...

Your post reminded me of the very first loaf of bread I baked: it had pesto in it and was really good. I like both your ideas. Your photos make me want to make some stuffed bread right now.

Anonymous said...

I've been drooling over this post! I love the idea of a big loaf with stuff baked in!


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