My 2013 bread baking challenge continues. For inspiration I’ve been reading Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Fanncois’ Artiisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day and was excited to find this recipe that includes one of my favorite savory ingredients. This time it is taking on a Mediterranean twist with a rich olive oil based dough (using my stash of my own olive oil) as well as a generous helping of home cured olives. Since the recipe for the dough produces four full pounds of dough, it can easily be halved, or even doubled if you are a big fan of bread. The dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 12 days so you can make a batch of dough and use it as the base for several different types of bread.
OLIVE OIL DOUGH
2 3/4 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (1 1/2 packets)
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
OLIVE BREAD FILLING
1/4 cup high quality olives pitted and halved
- Mix the yeast, salt, sugar, and olive oil with the water in a 5-quart bowl, or a lidded, not air tight, food container.
- Mix in the flour without kneading, using a spoon, a 14-cup capacity food processor with a dough attachment, or a heavy duty stand mixer with a dough hook. If you are not using a machine, you may need to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.
- Cover (not air tight) and allow to rest at room temperature until dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top), approximately 2 hours.
- The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not air tight) container and use over the next 12 days.
COMPOSING THE BREAD
- Dust the surface of of 1-pound of refrigerated dough with flour. Using your hands and a rolling pin, flatten the dough to a thickness of 1/2 inch. Cover with the olives and roll up to seal inside the dough. Dust with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. Allow to rest and rise on a cornmeal-covered pizza peel for 1 hour.
- Twenty minutes before the baking time, preheat the oven to 450 degrees, with a baking stone placed on the middle rack. Place an empty broiler tray on the other shelf that won’t interfere with the rising of the bread.
- Just before baking, paint the surface of the bread with a cornstarch wash of 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch combined with 1/2 cup of water that has been microwaved on high for 1 minute. Slash a cross onto the top of the loaf using a serrated bread knife.
- Slide the loaf directly onto the hot stone. Pour one cup of hot tap water into the broiler tray, and quickly close the oven door. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the top crust is deeply browned and very firm.
- Allow to cool on a wire rack before slicing and eating.