I apologize for not having posted this recipe earlier – it’s been a busy last week before my vacation starts, so I haven’t had too many opportunities to post. Now that I’m free from work, I can get back to my regular posting schedule.
This is quite possibly the best bread I’ve had (at least that I’ve made myself). It was pretty low maintenance as far as bread goes, although the day long wait for the fermented dough to be ready was a little agonizing. This proved to be the perfect accompaniment to chicken salad, eaten outside on a picnic blanket, of course.
The day before, make the fermented dough. Mix 2 teaspoons active dry yeast with 1/2 cup warm water, and stir until the yeast is dissolved. In another bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour with 2 generous pinches of salt. Pour in the dissolved yeast and mix together. Knead until it forms a smooth ball of dough (it will be sticky at first), place in a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Leave in a warm place for 1 hour, then refrigerate overnight.
Note: the recipe calls for only 10 oz of fermented dough, and the above recipe makes about 12 oz. Just weigh what you need and throw the rest away (unless you have a use for approximately 2 oz of fermented dough).
1 tsp active dry yeast
4 tbsp warm water
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
a generous pinch of salt
2 tbsp butter, softened
10 oz fermented dough (see above recipe)
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add the dissolved yeast, butter, and fermented dough and bring it together to form a ball (make sure all of the ingredients are fully incorporated). Turn the ball out onto a floured surface and knead for 15 minutes or until the dough becomes smooth. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
1/3 cup pitted green olives
1/3 cup pitted black olives
1 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
4 tsp olive oil
Chop the olives roughly and mix with the chopped rosemary and olive oil.
Back to the bread:
Roll out the dough on a floured surface to a rectangle that is about 3/8 inch thick and slightly larger than a sheet of computer paper. Spread the olive mixture on top. Roll the dough, starting with the long side, to make a large sausage, then place it join side down on a piece of parchment paper. Using a sharp knife, cut deep slits in the dough to reveal the layers of olives, but don’t cut all the way through (I did one slit down the middle and then one on each side – see the above picture). Cover again with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 475°F with a baking sheet in the middle and a roasting pan at the bottom. Once the oven is at temperature, slide the bread onto the hot baking sheet (still keeping it on the paper) and pour a glass of water into the roasting pan. Bake the loaf for 5 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 400°F and bake for another 20-25 minutes, until golden (the insides of the slits may look a little moist – don’t worry, this is from the olive oil in the filling). Transfer to a wire rack and serve. I like to tear chunks off of the loaf rather than slicing it myself – it makes the whole experience feel très parisienne, non? Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from The Little Paris Kitchen.
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