Olive Bread

olive bread, originally uploaded by lclea.

Olive Bread
1c warm water
1 package rapid rise yeast
Dash sugar
Tsp salt
1 ½ c bread flour
1 ½ c all purpose flour
2 tsp diced rosemary
¼ c chopped pitted kalamata olives

Hold on, it’s not hard. Bloom the yeast in the warm water and I sprinkle just a little bit of sugar. Wait 5 minutes. This is how you make sure the yeast is alive. If it’s alive, it will get puffy and wonderful.

Then I start with 1c of each of the flours and the salt in a medium bowl. Add the water/yeast mixture to the flours, and add additional bread and all purpose flour until dough comes together in a soft slightly sticky ball. This is where I always had trouble when I first started making yeast breads. I find most of the time I don’t need all the flour a recipe calls for, but it can greatly vary depending on the dryness or humidity in the air. You can always add more flour when you knead. I knead it until it’s a soft and supple cohesive dough, usually 5-8 minutes. I like kneading it’s sort of meditative. When the dough is where you want it, then plop it in a greased (I use olive oil) bowl, cover it with plastic wrap. Put it in a warm place and let it rise until doubled. When the dough has risen, gently deflate it, and now it’s time to shape.

To add the rosemary and olives, I turn the dough out onto the counter and sprinkle the add ins on top. Then I gently knead them in until they are distributed sort of evenly. Some olives will try and pop out, just shove them back in. You can make one big rustic loaf, or small little loaves or rolls. I shape the loaves by flattening the dough into a rectangle. Then I take the top of the dough and bring it to the middle of the rectangle. Then I bring the bottom edge up to the middle and press the edges together. Flip it over and sort of zhuzh the dough into a loafy shape (For rolls, I just divvy up the dough and roll them into balls). I put a little corn meal down and let the bread rise on a cookie sheet. Cover in plastic and let rise until doubled. Heat oven to 375 degrees, when risen bake for 30-40 minute until golden. If you want the bread crusty, spray the loaf/oven with water several times during the first few minutes of baking.

You can let it cool or just spread it with some butter and eat it warm. Delicious. This dough is very versatile, you can add whatever you want to the dough or don’t add anything.

Now try it, it’s not hard and then you can brag to everyone that you made your own bread.  Na nanny boo boo, I can make bread and you can’t (that’s the chant), or if you brag, you might have to share.

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