Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Rosemary Olive Bread

This bread originated in class a couple of weeks ago. I froze the dough and took it home to bake, where I gave it a long, slow rise in the refrigerator. I can safely say that if you do not absolutely hate either olives or rosemary, you will enjoy this bread. It is unbeliveably soft with a full, but not aggressive, flavor. Doesn't that sound like I'm describing a wine? On top of the heavenly texture, it's beautiful to look at, so even if you're not an olive fan you can serve it to your friends. Rubbing the bread lightly with flour before slashing and baking gives it such a lovely, rustic look.
My neighbors were the recipients of about half of this loaf and they reported that it makes excellent toast. And with EoMEoTE coming up, it doesn't take a genius (or a gourmand) to see the possible applications of a good toasting bread.
Did I mention that this bread is a snap to put together? These instructions direct you to mix by hand, but you can also do it in a mixer with a dough hook.

Rosemary Olive Bread
3 cups bread flour (ap will work fine, too)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
3/4 cup warm water
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2-1 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and coarsley chopped

Combine yeast and warm water until yeast becomes creamy, about 10 minutes.
Add olive oil, salt, sugar, rosemary and olives into the yeast mixture and add flour 1/2 cup at a time, mixing until dough comes away from the side of the bowl. Move dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic.
Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, turn to coat, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400F.
Shape dough gently into a ball. Place on a baking sheet and let rise, covered with a damp towel, for 30 minutes. Dust the bread ligtly with flour, slash the top and put into the oven.
Bake for 35-45 minutes, until bottom sounds hollow when tapped.
Place on a wire rack to cool.