March 4, 2008

Olive and Herb Bread

If I'm home for the weekend, it's almost a given that I'll bake bread. I had some good quality olives on hand, so I had to try this Olive and Herb Bread. It smelled like pizza while baking in the oven and tastes great ... the olive flavor permeates the loaf without being overpowering.

Olive and Herb Bread
1 1/3 cups water
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cups whole wheat flour
3 1/4 cups bread flour
2 tsp. rapid-rising or active dry yeast
1/2 cup coarsely chopped, well-drained Greek olives

Heat water until warm, between 105ºF and 115ºF. Pour into large, warmed bowl and add yeast. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in the oil, oregano, garlic, salt, whole wheat flour and half the bread flour. Beat until smooth. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.

Slowly add remaining bread flour and beat until a soft dough forms. Knead until dough pulls away from sides of bowl and is smooth and springy but still soft to the touch. Knead in the olives. Remove the dough hook, and cover. Let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Punch down, and shape into 4 small circular loaves. Place loaves, smooth side up, onto lightly greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, 45 to 60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375
ºF. Using a sharp knife or a razor, slash the tops of the loaves. Brush with water. Bake 30 to 35 minutes until the loaves are golden. Cool completely on wire racks.

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