Saturday, June 4, 2011

Olive Bread

I love olive bread. When I lived in Oregon I used to pick up a loaf of black olive ciabatta that was fantastic.
This is the first attempt at this olive bread. This is not a ciabatta but a more basic loaf. I found a recipe online that I liked and then modified it to suit my taste. The recipe was for olive and rosemary bread. Since I also wanted to make whole wheat rosemary bread I held off putting rosemary in this. Also I do not like any egginess in my bread. Even New York City challahs manage to repel me as a result. So I left out the one egg that the recipe called for and added extra water to compensate.

3 cups bread flour
1 cup water ( Start with 3/4 a cup along with yeast and add more as you go along)
1 tbsp sugar
1 and 1/2 tsp salt
one cup sliced black olives
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp active dry yeast or a packet of dry yeast.

Warm the water to 110 F and add sugar and yeast to it. Set aside and let it proof for 8 minutes. The mixture should be bubbly at the end of eight minutes.
Now add the olives, oil and bread flour to the mixture. Notice I am leaving out the salt. The original recipe used this method and I wanted to try it out. I have to say I like the results. Knead the resulting mixture for around 5 minutes. This will result in a very sticky dough. Set the dough aside for 15 minutes. Make sure to cover the dough so it does not dry out.
Come back after 15 minutes and add the salt on top of the dough. Knead the dough well for another 5 or so minutes. Adding the salt later gives the yeast a better chance to do its magic. Salt kills yeast and this delay in adding salt gets things started in dough a little quicker.
Form the dough into a rough ball and place it in a well oiled bowl. Let the dough rise for an hour at 90 F. I followed some online advice and placed the dough in my oven with the oven light on. Do not switch the oven on at this point. That will NOT be a pretty thing.
After an hour punch the dough down. Knead the dough for 30 secs. Form into a ball and place on a baking sheet that has been oiled and dusted with flour. Cover the dough with a towel and let it rise for another 30 min.
Preheat the oven for about 20 minutes at 400 F. The original recipe called for preheating the oven for an hour. The original recipe also baked this bread in a very nice looking cloche.
After 30 minutes remove the towel, slash the top of the bread with a sharp knife and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
To help with crust formation I heated some water in a stainless steel pan and placed it under the bread in the oven while cooking. You can find more information online about this method. Since I do not own a Pizza stone or a cloche the crust on my breads need all the help they can get.

Take out and cool on the rack.
The crumb was quite nice in the finished product.

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