Monday, September 29, 2008

In Knead of a Crust

My son K, loves Olives…actually so does his mom! K is the only kid I know that takes them to school as a snack and so I tend to buy a variety as each one has its own special flavor and use. Cured olives can broadly be classified by their color either black (purplish) or green. I’ve listed a few that I personally like…….

Kalamata – Smallish salty, flavorful, black and a bit bitter, you can find these popular Greek black olives in most large supermarkets. (my favorite kind)

Nicoise - A key ingredient in Salade Niçoise, these small purplish-black olives have a distinctive sour flavor.

Gaeta – These are small black Italian olives and are either dry-cured or brine-cured and a great substitute to the Kalamata.

Manzanilla – These green olives are often pitted and stuffed with pimento, garlic or cheese. These are the olives that garnish a martini cocktail.

Sevillano - This is a large, green, brine-cured olive, but not as large as the manzanilla and never stuffed.

Picholine - Green torpedo-shaped olives that are brine-cured and the ones made in France are marinated with coriander seeds and herbes de Provence while the American made version are soaked in citric acid, these make great martini olives as well.

Finally, the humble Mission - Common black sliced kind available at most supermarkets and the kind we see on a pizza or at the salad bar, this olive lacks flavor when compared to any of the European olives.

I’m passionate about bread…and the ones made with Olives are enjoyed by all at home, so I baked a simple Olive bread this weekend.

Simple Olive Bread

1 package active dry yeast

1½ cups warm water

3 –3 ½ cups bread flour, plus more for dusting1

½ tsp sea salt or kosher salt

3 tsp first cold press olive oil

¾ cup olives of your choice, chopped

Suji/cornmeal for dusting

Prepare yeast as per direction on the envelope. Sift flour with salt and add the olive oil. It is essential to use extra virgin first cold pressed oil as this flavors the bread. Mix it well. Add the frothy yeast liquid and warm water and mix until the dough is sticky. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead it for 8-10 minutes. Place in an oiled mixing bowl, cover with shrink wrap and allow it rest for 20-30 minutes. Remove from the bowl and knead the dough again, this time sprinkling some chopped olives as you go for about 6-8 minutes and shape into a smooth ball. Place the dough an oiled (2-3 quart) pyrex bowl, sprinkled with suji/cornmeal. Cover with dampened tea towel and allow this to rise once more, about 45-80 minutes. Put the lid on the bowl (this yields a nice chewy crust) and bake in a 375 degree oven for 35 minutes. Remove lid and bake for another 5-10 minutes until when knocked on the side it sounds hollow. Remove and allow to cool. Serve warm with butter.


I would like to submit this for the JugalBandits event, Click-Crusts


bee said...

beautiful bread. thank you for the entry.

Beatrice said...

Which type of olives do *you* use in the bread? (I'm thinking kalamata or nicoise?)

A Virtual Vegetarian said...

Hi Beatrice, You are correct...... I used oil cured Kalamata olives! I prefer these in baking as the taste/flavor is more intense and they are crunchy and fleshy...the kind that one would like to bite into.