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 Directions
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.