Adventures in Everyday Entertaining
We had friends over the other night and I thought it would be fun to bake some bread to go with the pasta dish I was serving. I turned to ‘The World Encyclopedia of Bread and Bread Making’ (by Christine Ingram and Jennie Shapter) to find a great recipe for an Italian bread to go with our Italian meal. There I found a wonderful recipe for olive bread. Seeing where “L” love olives so incredibly much, this was a no brainer. I had to try this recipe!
One of the first things I noticed with this recipe is it had me doing the yeast completely opposite how I have always done it in the past. Everything that I have ever made with dry yeast has me putting the yeast into the lukewarm water first and then adding to the flour. This recipe, as you’ll see below, has you putting the yeast in with the flour mixture and then adding the lukewarm water.
Mix the flours, yeast and salt together in a large bowl and make a well in the center.
Add the water and oil to the center of the flour and mix to a soft dough. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 8-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in bulk.
Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knock back. Flatten out and sprinkle over the olives. Fold up and knead to distribute the olives. Leave to rest for 5 minutes, then shape into an oval loaf. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
Make 6 deep cuts in the top of the loaf, and gently push the sections over. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 3o-45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease a baking sheet or stone. Once doubled, brush the bread with olive oil and bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.