Monday, May 23, 2011

Olive Bread

When we lived in Italy Phil used to eat olives like nobody's business. His favorite calzone that we would go to a specific restaurant to get was jam-packed full of them! When I ran across this recipe in Baking at Home I knew someday I wanted to make it for Phil.
I will warn you, this bread took pretty much all day to make.

1/2c pitted dry-cured olives, chopped
Cool water as needed
1 2/3 c bread flour plus extra as needed
1/2t sugar
1 1/2 t active dry yeast
3/4c room temperature water
1/4t salt
vegetable oil for greasing

Soak the olives in cool water to cover for at least 20 minutes and up to 1 hour to remove excess salt. Drain and blot dry before adding them to the dough.
In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour and the sugar. Add the yeast, water and sale and mix on low speed until the dough becomes smooth, elastic and very springy, 8-10 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat, cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel, and let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size, about 30 minutes. Add olives to the bowl. Fold the dough over on itself, pressing gently to release the gas, and repeat the folding until the olives are evenly distributed. Cover the dough and let rest until relaxed, about 30 minutes.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and round it into a smooth ball, pulling the outer layer taut and pinching the excess dough together at the base of the ball. Leave the dough seam side down on the floured work surface, cover it with a cloth and let rest for 15 minutes.
To finish shaping the dough, turn it seam side up and stretch it into a square. Fold the square in half from top to bottom, pressing lightly with your fingertips to tighten the outer layer of the dough. Fold the dough in half again, this time from side to side, and seal the 2 edges together. Round the dough, forming a taut outer surface, and place seam side up in a bowl or round basket lined with a floured clean, flat-weave cloth. Cover loosely.
Let the dough rise until it has nearly doubled in side and the dough springs back slowly to the touch but does not collapse, 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Turn the dough out seam side down onto the prepared baking sheet. Brush or mist the bread lightly with water. Cut a shallow X into the top of the loaf. Bake until the crust is crisp and well browned and the loaf sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom, 25-30 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack before slicing and serving.

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