This was, for all intents and purposes, the beginning of my best loaf of bread to-date.
There must me something wrong about the way I knead dough. Perhaps I shouldn’t be thinking about stressful things while folding and pushing the dough, desperately trying to get the gluten doing what they are supposed to do in order to give me a proper loaf of bread. I shouldn’t compare myself to my grandma, at least not now, she had decades to perfect her whimsical ability to turn out the most remarkable bread and buns. I’ve made close to a dozen loaves. Maybe 20-odd attempts?
With the kids and their rapidly expanding appetites (especially Little Sister these days), I’m looking for heathy ways to trim the grocery bills. Baking bread at home, with total control over the ingredients, I figure I can save a couple of clams.
I found this bread on Nourish Network originally. However, the recipe would take 24 hours, or more to complete. I just don’t have that sort of time or dedication to a single loaf! So I took the combination of olives and rosemary and found a quicker (albeit still long) solution.
Ah yes, there’s a story to go with the rosemary too. I met hubby for lunch and we wandered around near the restaurant afterwards. I spotted a natural grocery store and pulled him inside. I found a few things, paid, and we headed out of the store. I also noticed the shrubs lining the edge of the parking area, they were rosemary bushes! Even better was the fact that new tender branches were poking out of the top of the bush on the way to the car. I pulled off a few leaves and lifted them to my nose, yup – it’s the real deal. I stole some rosemary. Hubby grabbed a whole tendril too! It’s not like we took a spade and dug up the plant, just trimmed the bush a bit. I keep killing my rosemary plants, so this bush-nabbing might become a habit.
Adapted from the New York Times Speedy No-Knead Bread
- 2 3/4 cups bread flour
- 2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (100ºF)
- 2/3 cup chopped kalamata olives
- 2 tbsp chopped rosemary
- sea salt
In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, salt, olives and rosemary. Drizzle the warm water into the bowl and mix to combine. The dough will be tacky and shaggy. Cover with plastic or a damp tea towel and let rise in a warm place, undisturbed, for 4 hours.
Place a dutch oven, cast iron pan, or other high heat pan/pot which has a lid in the oven and pre-heat to 450ºF.
Deflate the dough and fold it over itself once or twice on an oiled work surface. Cover with plastic for 30 minutes.
Carefully plop the dough into the screaming hot pre-heated pan. Sprinkle with sea salt and cut a slit in the top. Bake for 30 minutes, with the lid on. Remove the lid and bake another 15 – 25 minutes, until golden.
Note: I removed the loaf from the pan after it had baked for about 45 minutes and put it directly on the rack in the oven. Big mistake. The bottom of the loaf burnt. The remaining bread and the top were perfectly fine, scrumptious actually, I had to trim the charred crust though. I should have taken the darn thing out at 45 minutes.