Sunday, October 5, 2014
Olive Bread - Secret Recipe Club
I confess, I may have gone a little overboard with this month's Secret Recipe Club assignment. Instead of making one recipe, I tried EIGHT!!! But, seriously, if you were to go and browse Claire's blog, Claire K Creations, you would have done the same. She has so many amazing recipes that five is barely scraping the surface of all the yummy things I wanted to make. Definitely go and check out some of these other recipes on my to-do list: Dill Roasted Carrots, Greek Almond Crescent Biscuits, and Belgium Biscuits. You'll be glad you did. Just make sure to set aside an hour or two if you do because once you start looking at her blog, you won't want to stop.
Now, about Claire herself. Did you know she lives in Australia? So cool! She started her blog to share her love of food with others. And share it she does! You'll find recipes that reflect her country's unique foodie culture, such as Anzac biscuits and pavlovas. But, she doesn't only have Australian recipes, she makes food from all over the world. I felt like I was taking a little trip just browsing through it all.
Still, I had to pick one to share today. So, while I also ended up making her Condensed Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies, Orange Cookies, Chocolate Spiced Cookies, Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodles, and Hokey Pokey Biscuits, and loved them all, I might add, I decided to share the Olive Bread to start.
You know from my blog's title that I have a major sweet tooth. But, bread is and always will be my first love. I love all the types, especially the artisan breads and one that's always caught my eye in supermarkets is Olive Bread. I've wanted to try it for the longest time, but it's so expensive for just one little loaf that I've simply resisted. Then, I found Claire's recipe. It looked so simple and would cost so much less to make it myself that I just knew I had to try it.
The interesting thing about this bread is that you have to let it rise three times instead of the usual two. But, there must be some sort of magic about the third rise because I came out with a wonderfully soft, fluffy loaf. The only change I made was to use all-purpose flour since I had run out of bread flour. The salty bits of olive gave just the right amount of flavor to each bite and every mouthful was heavenly. I savored every piece of this bread and just wanted to keep on eating it. It would surely make some awesome sandwiches, but for now, I just enjoyed eating it on its own. I know it's one that I'll make again and again, and next time I'll even try it with the bread flour.
Thanks Claire for this super fantastic bread!
Olive Bread (slightly adapted from Claire K Creations)
3 c. bread flour (I used all-purpose flour)
2 tsp. active dry yeast (I used 2 1/2 tsp.)
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. chopped olives (I used Kalamata olives)
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/4 c. warm water (110F)
Combine the yeast, warm water, and a pinch of sugar and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add in the sugar and olive oil. Then, add in the flour, salt and chopped olives. Knead the dough on a well-floured surface until smooth and elastic. Put the dough into a well-greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a towel, and let rise 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
After the first rise, punch it down and knead again until smooth, about 5-10 minutes. Let rise again until doubled in size, about 30 minutes. After the second rise, form it into a ball and turn it out, seam-side up, onto a well-floured towel. Dust the top with a bit of flour and let rise again, about 20 minutes, until doubled in size.
Prepare your oven by putting a pan of water onto the bottom rack and preheating to 410F. Once the dough has risen a third time, turn it out, seam-side down, onto a parchment-paper lined baking sheet that has been sprinkled with cornmeal. Bake for 15 minutes at 410F. Reduce the heat to 340F and continue baking for 30 minutes, or till golden.