Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Rustic Thyme and Olive Bread

As I mentioned in the last two posts, my mom came to visit my siblings and me for about ten days. Sadly, she left this morning, in the wee hours but not after I was able to spend the last two days with her, bonding and cuddling. I spent the Sunday morning before I went to see her baking some things to send her off with, things I know she'd appreciate, and some cookies as well for the plane. (More on the cookies a bit later...) Knowing my mother loves olive bread (having made it for her more than once a couple years back), I decided that that's exactly what I was going to make. When I found the fougasse recipe in The Art and Soul of Baking, I also spied a recipe for Rustic Thyme and Olive Bread. The recipe was perfect as it called for thyme and olive oil, which I had from the fougasse and some olives that my roommate graciously let me use. And then I was all set to go. I made the poolish the night before and let it ferment into the early afternoon. Nothing new from there out. It was nice to knead some dough, though. I keep thinking I should do it more often. Back to the recipe. I cut the recipe in half and made one loaf. How I wish that I had Brotty with me to shape this loaf beautifully, but since it's sitting in my room in America, I knew my own two hands would have to do. I slashed with the sharpest knife I had and was pleased to see the slashes opened up somewhat nicely. I wish I had a lame.... but with my Global by my side, I really cant complain. Anyway, I baked the loaf directly on the stone, and the oven spring was nice. The final loaf smelled wonderfully of thyme and olives and both my sister and mother were appreciative of it. They both gave their approval- my sister enjoyed it with some cottage cheese and my mother had it plain. I'm sending this loaf to Yeastspotting

Rustic Thyme and Olive Bread (full recipe)
barely adapted from The Art and Soul of Baking

1 cup warm water
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 1/8 tsp instant yeast
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 cup chopped green olives

The night before baking, stir all of the poolish ingredients together in a smallish bowl. Cover and let ferment at room temperature overnight. This is how my poolish looked the next day, nicely riddled with bubbles.
The next day when you're ready to bake, place all of the ingredients into a large bowl.
Knead until a shaggy dough is formed.
Cover and let rest for twenty minutes.
Knead the dough until a smooth, elastic ball is formed. Spray with pam and turn to coat. Set aside to rise about two hours or until doubled in size.
Here is my doubled dough.
Shape the dough into a tight round and place on a parchment lined baking sheet that has been turned over. (This will help you slide the loaf onto the baking stone.) Rub the dough ball with oil.
Allow to proof for about two hours or until well expanded and light. Towards the end, preheat your oven and baking stone to 425.
Using a sharp knife or a lame, slash the dough into the pattern of your choice. Using the baking sheet as a peel and a shaking motion, slide the parchment off of the baking sheet and on to the stone.
Bake until a thermometer inserted into the sides of the loaf registers about 200 degrees, approximately 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Wait at least an hour before tearing into it. 

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