I have something to tell you. There is one thing I cannot resist. One way to get me to tell anyone anything. I have a weakness akin to Superman’s kryptonite or Garfield’s lasagne.
Kalamata Olive Bread.
Can we have a moment of silence?
Yum. Done right it is the best stuff in the world. Chewy, salty, and olive-y with a crisp crust, it is incredible with a thick slice of fresh mozzarella and a ripe tomato on top. Dip it in herbed olive oil, or use it to sop up marinara sauce. Seriously, is there anything better?
It is not hard to make. It is a little time consuming, especially if you use a poolish, which intensifies the flavor. Oh, but it is well worth the wait when that aroma fills the kitchen , or better yet the warm bread yields, steaming, to the serrated knife. Muhahahaha. This is not so time consuming. I like it best when I let the dough rise for at least an hour before shaping.
It really isn’t that different from the Daring bakers French loaf that I posted the end of February. The most tedious part is pitting the olives, but this bread is so good it is worth it. Give it a try.
- 1 cup warm water (95-105° F)
- 1 tablespoon yeast
- 1 cup flour
Let set at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 2 tablespoons olive brine, warmed
- 4 teaspoons yeast
- 4 – 5 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 3/4 cups kalamata olives, pitted
To create the starter,combine the water and yeast in a medium mixing bowl. Stir to dissolve the yeast. Add the flour to the bowl and stir. Cover with a cloth and ferment the starter at room temperature for 30 minutes.
For the dough, combine the water and yeast. Stir to dissolve the yeast fully. Add the flour, salt, brine, starter, and olives. Mix on low speed (if using a mixer) until the dough is fully developed. Knead for 15 minutes if kneading by hand. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl.
You can let the dough rise for an hour or so to develop the flavor or go on to the next step.
Divide the dough into 2 pieces Roll each piece of dough into a boule, or a baguette. Place the dough on the counter and cover with a warm, damp cloth. Let rise for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425° F.
Form the dough into loaves and place them on the counter. Cover the loaves with a warm, damp cloth and proof at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Score the loaves with a sharp knife, spray with water, and bake for 30 minutes, until the crusts are a deep golden brown. Just as you put the loaves in the oven pour about 1.4 cup of water on the floor of the oven to create steam. Keep door closed.
Remove the bread from the oven and cool for at least 30 minutes, or as long as you can wait.
(c)2008 Marye Audet