Olive Bread

If there ever was the simplest bread recipe this.is.it. I’ve made it so many times with so many variations, I can’t remember how many. Different flours, different flavor additions, plain and not. I’ve also seen it in so many cooking magazines, that I don’t know where it comes from originally. But then again, this is bread. Do we know who made the first bread? 🙂

I am using Food Network’s Laura Calder’s recipe proportions only because I just needed a reminder how much flour, how much yeast I needed. I think there is some typo on the site with the water quantity or those dashes and hyphens I don’t understand so I just start off easy on the water, start pouring and see how much I need. I don’t have measuring spoons or a scale here, so the yeast was an approximation. Wish me luck!

This time I am adding olives. Mmmmmm… I wanted to make little burger buns but dividing this dough would be a bit tricky so the other option would be to make I dunno, 4 to 6 small buns separately. Yah, not happening. LOL (I am like Eddie Murphy’s mother – I am gonna make my burger on a square!) When using olives in bread or cornbread (mmmm….. stone-ground corn flour corn bread w/ black olives & olive oil….. now we’re talking…) Ok, where was I… olives. Yes, as much as I like green olives stuffed with a red pepper, it’s black olives that work best when packing them in dough. And to top that, it’s usually those black olives that are sold with the pit and you need to remove one by one. Go get your olives at the deli, not the jarred/canned section of the supermarket, please. You can thank me later. And do take the less than 10 minutes to sit down, pit the olives & chop them. Please. If you use those chopped canned in brine olives – you might as well not use any and save yourself the wasted money.

Ingredients:

3 cups flour

¼ tsp instant yeast

~200 ml warm water (Laura has 1 cup to 1 ½ cup – I started off with 1 cup & didn’t use it all)

pinch of salt

1 cup chopped black olives

Preparation:

1. Pit and chop the olives till you have as much as you’d like to use. I think I may have gone overboard with the olives, but you can never have too much of a good thing

2. Put the flour, yeast and salt in a bowl and mix. Start adding the warm water and incorporating with the flour. The dough should come together in the end and be a wet, sticky dough. But it comes together, it’s not liquid batter.

3. Add the olives and incorporate with your hand while in the bowl.

4. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm area 12h. (Laura says “up to 24h” but 12h has always been enough for me. (now I let it rise for some 15h30, it didn’t hurt) I don’t want it to overrise and that is the only problem that can happen with this recipe. It is otherwise flawless)

before going to bed :)

before going to bed 🙂

5. Cover the counter top with some flour and drop the risen dough on to it, sprinkle it with some flour and fold it once or twice. You’ll see that the dough would be “runny”, it’s ok, it will be like that through this entire process; it’s what makes it awesome in the end. Cover with a tea towel and let it rest 15 minutes.

Rise and shine!

Rise and shine!

6. Now, Laura says to cover a tea towel with lots of flour, to transfer your dough on to the towel, sprinkle it with more flour and cover it and let it rise for 2h more. I have sometimes added more flour to the counter area and left the dough there, covered. If it’s warm enough naturally. I have also tried saving myself from putting the flour on tea towel… just saving you an extra step….

7. Heat your oven to 230C. Put a baking dish with a lid that you are going to use to bake the bread in inside the oven to warm up. When the oven is hot enough, remove the pan and the lid, drop the bread in the pan, give it a shake to even it out, cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes.

8. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and bake for 15-30 minutes more to give the top a nice crust.

look at that crispy crust!

look at that crispy crust!

9. Leave it to cool off in the pan for a few minutes before you can at least handle the warm bread. Take it out of the pan and before resting it on a cooling rack, take a look at its bottom and give it a knock. It should make like a hard (because of the awesome crust), hollow noise. It means it’s done.

it's dark due to the olives... Oooops... :)

it’s dark due to the olives… Oooops… 🙂

As you can see there is barely any kneading required, not that that is any nuclear physics; all it takes here is time. Waiting for the dough to rise and rise. So, put it together. Forget it. Come back to it, forget it some more. Then bake. But remember to come back to it hahaha Once you make it, and once you make it with olives, you’ll never want to buy expensive olive bread at the bakery, ever again. Serve this alongside some hummus or some cheese and you might have a hard time convincing your guests to come to the dinner table…

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