Tag Archives: baking

Flepic Pail of Doughm!!

Mediterranean Black Olive Bread

Ingredients (Original recipe makes 1 - round loaf)
3 cups bread flour  
                    2 teaspoons active dry yeast 
2 tablespoons white sugar          1 teaspoon salt 
1/2 cup chopped black olives       3 tablespoons olive oil 
1 1/4 cups warm water              1 tablespoon cornmeal


1. In a large bowl, mix together flour, yeast, sugar, salt, black olives, olive oil, and water.

2. Turn out dough onto a floured board. Knead until smooth and elastic, 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside, and let rise about 45 minutes, until it doubles in size. Punch down. Knead well again, for about 5 to 10 minutes. Let rise for about 30 minutes, until it doubles in size.

3. Round the dough on kneading board. Place upside down in a bowl lined with a lint-free, well floured towel. Let rise until double in size.

4. While the bread is rising for the third time, put a pan of water in the bottom of theoven. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F (260 degrees C).

5. Gently turn loaf out onto a sheet pan that has been lightly oiled and dusted with cornmeal.

6. Bake loaf at 500 degrees F (260 degrees C) for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Bake for 30 more minutes, or until done.

Again I’m all bakey. It seems that lately I’ve been on a massive kitchen kick, and I can’t help feeling it’s related to the fact that I finally cleaned all the random crap off the table. I can sit at it, the curtains are tied back to let the sun in and I can watch all the old people that live in the park drive by on their way to work.

So today we’re trying a bread from scratch that I’ve been eyeballing for a while. Olive bread. Yum! I buy olives every year for Christmas dinner (along with a couple of pounds worth of cold cuts and cheeses) because fuck turkey at Christmas. That ain’t how the Bernasconi clan rolls. Speaking of, I used croissants rather than sandwich rolls this year and it was delicious!

Back to the bread – I bought my usual Sicilian spiced and oil cured olives in the smallest quantities possible because I married a viking who fails to appreciate the genius of olives. This year, however, I bought the olives at the local Dutch market and apparently the Amish believe “oil cured” means “salt lick substitute.” Boy howdy! So those went back in the fridge and have just been staring at me for the last two weeks. Then I stumbled across an olive bread recipe and it was a miracle!

It’s on the first of three rises/raises/risings (DARK KNIGHT!) so I have no idea how it will taste. I do know that my next attempt at this bread (since I have half a thing of olives still) will include less water and/or oil. That stuff never became properly elastic during the kneading the way bread dough usually gets and I’m a tad concerned that it’s going to affect the eventual outcome of the bread. I guess we’ll know in a couple of hours.

EDIT: I’m sorry to report that my bread has failed. It never rose. I’m gonna bake it anyway because the oven has already preheated, but yeah… Never fear. Tomorrow we’re trying again with less oil and water. Yay!

EDIT (Part 2): Umm… It actually baked up okay. It’s pretty good as the bread for a prosciutto and provolone sandwich with mayo. Nom.

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It’s Not Quite What It’s All About…

Those who know me may or may not be aware that I worship at the altar of Nigella. She is my idol and (as Eric von Zipper says) my ideal. She cooks and bakes to picturesque picture perfect perfection – okay, alliteration failed me – and it always looks like something you’re meant to eat. And she does. And I want to… a lot.

The other day I watched a few hours worth of The Almighty N on youtube and got all bakey. So I made a Mediterranean herb and cheese bread from a bread machine mix. Only I’m an epic failure with those death machines so I did it all by hand. It was a little chewier in the center than I would have preferred – a little dense – but the hubbs loved it and we ate the whole thing with oil and balsamic vinegar. Yay!

For New Year’s we made a Russian chocolate cake (apparently a traditional thing there) from scratch. He loved it even though the cake was a bit dense and dry (totally my bad on poorly scooping flour) and the rum wash didn’t quite come through the flavor of the ganache. I love that word. Ganache. All this baking and cooking and talk of food makes me want to get even more bakey so I’m trying a recipe that’s deceptively difficult.

Hokey Pokey. Honeycomb. Diabetes in a tin. That’s what I’m working on right now. You know what they say – third time’s a charm!

We’ll see.

Batch one was awful. The instructions call for 1 ½ tsp of baking soda. I accidentally grabbed a ½ tbsp. Whoops.

Batch two tasted better but was flat and chewy and still a tad too carpet powdery. Blech.

Batch three is cooling now and I’m praying my tiny heart out – oop. Nope. Flat and chewy again.

The whole idea of this snack/desert thing is that it’s supposed to set all fluffy and hard and then you smack the crap out of it with a hammer to make hard little chunks of biteable yummy. I can’t tell what I’m doing wrong but I’m doing it WAY wrong because I keep ending up with chewy taffy-like stuff. While I’m sure someone somewhere could do something with this stuff I’m unfortunately not that talented and I’ve got a hubby on a diet. WAH!! Anywhoo… there are no pictures of this baking failure, but I will embed what should have happened a’la Nigella.

All hail Nigella!

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Flour, Butter and Sugar. Nom.

So, yesterday I made this:

Not pictured: flour behind my ear and in my hair.

This is my second attempt at making shortbread and it’s still not right but my poor husband came home right as they were just finishing in the oven. The house smelled of sweet buttery goodness and my poor hungry husband realized he wouldn’t be able to eat any of them. Why? He’s on a diet.

Yeah, I’m a bastard.

I woke up this morning and walked into the kitchen to discover my cookie tin sitting next to the pan. A small, subtle reminder from my loving hubby to put the shortbread away. So now I have a full cookie tin and a full biscotti jar because I apparently chose the “shit-ton” recipe.

This isn’t really about what a jackass I am but I had to take off my watch and wedding rings to knead the dough but forgot to put them on after I got cleaned up. Being lazy I spent the entire night trying to adjust rings and a watch that weren’t there. At one point the hubby suggested I get up and put them on but I would have had to get up and at the time I was playing a video game… Yeah.

But it struck me how empty my finger looked without the rings and this morning when I finally put them back on it felt so right. And that’s how I fell in love all over again with my husband twice in the last twenty-four hours.

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