November 28, 2009

A belated "Happy Thanksgiving" and Olive Bread

For Thanksgiving this year I was responsible for bread and one drink.

I went a little overboard.

Basically, I couldn't decide what kind of bread to make, so I made them all! The no-knead bread came out beautifully, the best I've ever made. The crust got that lovely reddish brown color and the insides were full of large bubbles. I thought at first that the dough was too wet, but I guess not! I wasn't entirely pleased with my epi wreath - I cut my epis wrong. I knew I was doing it, too, I just wasn't thinking! Bad me! Finally, I made Stacey's Olive Rosemary bread, half as a boule and half as a braided loaf. As a side note, I reduced the amount of olives just to be different. Actually, I was just tired of chopping things up. But it worked out fine, and I'm not a huge olive fan anyway.


1 3/4 c warm water
2 t instant yeast
2 T honey
3 1/2 c bread flour
1/2 c whole wheat flour
2 t salt
1 T dried rosemary
3 oz pitted olives, rinsed, chopped rough, and patted dry

Blend water, yeast, and honey in a medium bowl. Add the flours and stir until dough forms into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and rest for 20 minutes.

Make a well in the middle of the dough and add the salt and rosemary. Stir briefly, just until the salt and rosemary are mostly mixed in. Turn out onto a floured counter and knead until the dough becomes smooth and tacky. Then pat the dough into a 12x6 rectangle. Press olives evenly into dough. Roll the rectangle into a log, pinching the seam shut. Seam side up, roll log into a spiral. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, spritz the top with spray oil, and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rise until it increases in size by 50%, about 1 hour.

Fold partially risen dough over itself. Turn bowl 90 degrees; fold again. Turn bowl again; fold once more. Cover and let rise 30 minutes. Repeat folding, replace cover, and let rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes.

Transfer dough to counter, being careful not to deflate. Divide dough in half, loosely shape each piece into boule, and let rest 15 minutes. For a braid, divide the dough half into three. Form each third into a boule and rest.

Complete the boule, pinching the seam shut. Or, for a braid, roll each third out to form a strand. If the strand isn't staying stretched, let it rest again. Once you have three equal length strands, carefully braid them together, pinching the ends firmly so that they do not seperate.

Transfer loaves to parchment paper or greased pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees at least 30 minutes before baking.

Bake 15 minutes, spraying oven with water twice in first 5 minutes, and then reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. Continue to bake until bread is deep golden brown and instant-read thermometer inserted into center of loaf registers 210 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to wire rack, discard parchment, and cool loaves to room temperature, about 2 hours.

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