Last year I properly had a go at doing pastry and while I am certainly no master in it, I felt it went pretty well. You can take a look at a few of my pies etc here, here and here. This year I’ve decided to do similar with bread. I’ve made bread a bunch of times but never on a consistent enough basis to actually get the hang of it. I’ve even booked in a day course at the E5 Bakehouse (my parents said they’d get me a course for a Christmas present, so thanks Mum & Dad!) because I want to really get the hang of it this year. That’s not until July though, so I’ve got plenty of time to get baking myself before then. Olive Bread felt like a good one to get the year going.
It’s a simple bread recipe, cut through with olives (sun dried tomatoes too if you’re feeling fancy), but the key is making sure that the bread itself is light and flavourful. The olives can only carry the bread so far. The recipe makes two, and one of mine wasn’t so good. I got the distribution of olives all wrong when I was kneading them in as I was worried about knocking too much of the air out. The second one I was less kind to though and it still rose just as well but the olives were far better dispersed.
I kneaded this for a good 10-15 minutes to get it really smooth and elastic. It meant that the bread itself had a wonderful crumb and was probably the best bread I’ve made to date. I made the mistake of using jarred olives from the fancy spar along the road (they were the only option at the time) and they were far, far, too salty so I’d recommend going for slightly more mellow olives if you try this yourself.
I’ve spent the last week in Scotland, so expect a flurry of posts around that as well as a couple of recipes from things I made while I was at my parents.
- 500gstrong white flour
- 15g salt
- 55ml olive oil
- 20g fresh yeast
- 275ml water
- 200g black Greek olives, pitted and chopped
- Mix everything but the olives in a large mixing bowl. Make sure the yeast and salt are initially added to separate parts of the bowl.
- Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes until the dough is elastic, smooth and shiny.
- Cover and leave to rise for 1 hour.
- Divide into two equal balls of dough and add the olives into each, making sure they're evenly distributed.
- Form each into rough round shapes, push down, dust with flour and slice a small cross into the top.
- Place on a baking sheet lined with grease proof paper and leave to prove for a further hour in a warm place.
- Place in the center of a pre-heated oven at 220°C(200°C fan assisted) and bake for 30 minutes. Remove and place on a wire rack to cool.