(pretty easy) olive bread. OK, so making your own bread at home is never easy per say. But if I were to classify a yeasted bread into such a category, this one would be it. No mixer is even required (though feel free to use it).
Fact is, if you follow a few (rather foolproof) guidelines, the result will be pretty incredible. I pretty much just love (good) bread (who doesn’t really?), and this is one of my favourites.
Fill it with olives (kalamatas are my pick), through in some rosemary, add garlic, remove the olives and add some toasted fennel seeds (which makes it a fennel + olive oil bread, I’m fully aware)… the possibilities are pretty much endless. And if we are talking maths, and begin to think in terms of permutations, you really can get quite a few upping your creativity.
My point is- this is a very versatile bread.
I like to add some whole wheat flour, but feel free to make it all white. Oh, and don’t forget to use great quality (pitted!) olives- you will taste the difference.
(loosely based on this one)
325 g (2 1/2 cups) unbleached hard white flour
65 g (1/2 cup) whole wheat flour
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 TBS sugar
295 mL (1 1/4 cup) water at 35-38°C (95-100°F)
3 TBS olive oil + extra for greasing and brushing
2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 cup olives, coarsely chopped
Proof the yeast with the water and sugar, cover with cling film and set aside for 10 minutes until active.
Whisk together the two flours, add the yeast mixture and mix together with a wooden spoon. Mix in the salt, olive oil and olives. Turn out the dough onto a well floured surface and knead until it is smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Place on a well oiled bowl, cover in cling film and let rest until it doubles in size (about 45 minutes).
Punch down the dough and knead well again (about 8 minutes). Place back into bowl (might want to oil it before once again), and let rise until doubled in size (about 30 minutes).
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and round. Place it upside down in a bowl lined with a well-floured linen (or kitchen towel). Let rise until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, place a pan of water in the bottom of the oven (to create a good crust). Preheat the oven to 220°C (430°F).
Turn out loaf (with extreme care!) onto baking stone or sheet, brush with olive oil and bake for 15 minutes at 230°C (450°F). Reduce temperature to 190°C (375°F) and bake for 30 minutes more.
Allow to cool completely on a rack.
makes 1 loaf