Monday, December 11, 2006

Olive Oil Bread

I have made bread before, and was so smitten at the process (reflective kneading of soft dough, dough mysteriously growing to twice its size, the unbelievably wonderful smell as it bakes) and the results (something I had at one time only purchased in stores magically coming out of my oven, the kitchen smelling like a bakery, and, of course, eating warm, delicious, freshly baked bread), that I told myself why buy bread ever again? Well, I did discover the answer to that question -- between work life and personal life, sometimes there is little time left over for bread life. Which is not to say that one can't have a bread life at all...just that at some points in your bread life, you will have to replenish at the store...

But, moving on, this post is not about store bought bread, it's about olive oil bread. Home baked olive oil bread to be exact. I was back in the bread baking saddle again! This particular recipe comes from Tessa Kiros' enchanting book Falling Cloudberries.

an aside: I love this book...Tessa Kiros is a lyrical writer and weaves a delightful web of memories around the recipes she shares. It is perfect for dreamers like me, whose cooking and baking is really more aspirational than professional. Also, it has recipes from her life in Finland and Greece, two places that have touched my own life (as well as stomach) greatly.

I had to change the recipe a bit simply because I had no fresh yeast, nor oven roasted tomatoes. Also, I decided to bake the bread in a loaf pan instead of in 2 smaller baguettes (mainly so I could make sandwiches).

Olive Oil Bread
(adapted from Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros)
  • 1 packet instant yeast
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 400 grams flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- In a large bowl mix together the yeast, olive oil, sugar, and 1 cup tepid water. Leave for about 15 minutes, until it starts looking frothy.
- Add the flour and the salt and mix with your hands or a wooden spoon until it comes together, then turn out onto a floured wooden board or work surface and knead for about 10 minutes, until firm, smooth, and elastic.
- Place the dough back in the bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave in a warm, draft-free spot for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until it has doubled in size.
- Punch down on the dough and give it 1-2 scant kneads, form into a loaf, and place in a loaf tin that has been oiled slightly (it is at this point, after punching down, that the original recipe mixes through the oven roasted tomatoes and divides into can also use other ingredients you think would be good). Cover once more with a tea towel and leave to rise for 30 minutes.
- Pre heat your oven to 220C (425F)
- Remove tea towel and bake loaf for about 20 minutes (bottom of loaf should sound hollow when you knock on it).
- Cool slightly before slicing.

The bread was good, especially fresh (it did make for a great toast as well). It was soft, with a nice tang, although the olive oil flavor was not as pronounced as I would have liked. And because I decided to make a loaf out of it, it did not take on the rustic appearance I would think an "olive oil bread" should have. I will try making a more free form loaf out of it next time, instead of sticking it in the tin...and I will definitely try adding those oven roasted tomatoes! (I may also try that intriguing "no knead bread" that has been making the rounds...)

note: this is the bread you see sliced in my post on mangosteen jam...


christine said...

Ooh Jo, nice job with that bread! I've been wanting to try Garrett's Olive Onion bread, ( looks and sounds so good so I saved the recipe. Yum, I can already imagine your olive oil break and his olive onion bread as great dippers for olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or to spread with roasted red pepper/cream cheese or sun dried tomato pesto. OK, I need a bib!

wysgal said...

Wow that looks great! I tried making bread once ... and it pretty much refused to rise. But we ate it for dinner anyway, and fed the rest to our dogs. =)

Brilynn said...

That loaf looks perfect, I can almost smell it from here... I think I have to make bread again today.

Mae said...

Wow, Joey, that looks great! I've only ever baked bread once and it's now nearly a year... :(

I'm glad you like falling cloudberries - i have a copy too. It's so beautifully done. There's a few recipes i noted but never got round to making them apart from the pistachio ice cream.

Ah, well, hopefully i see more here!

Shelly said...

I can almost smell it! Very nice! It is so true what you say about buying bread. Everytime I bake it I say to myself why would I ever buy this again!

JMom said...

what a beautiful looking loaf! That is the same dough the girls and I have been using for pizza. We've been obsessed with making our own pizza lately. They like it 'cause they can customize their toppings.

I love the smell of freshly baked bread!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful photo, I can almost smell the scent of freshly baked bread. I bet this would make marvelous sandwiches.

I have a loaf in the oven right now, you're right: there's something amazing about the whole process of making, kneading and baking dough.

Ari (Baking and Books)

Baking Soda said...

Coincidence? Or a bloggers buzz? I've been baking a whole wheat Olive oil bread today, (Beth Hensperger)!

Midge said...

Hi, Joey! That is one absolutely beautiful loaf. I just realized that the dough recipe you mentioned is so similar to my foccacia recipe (sans the herbs and with a bit more oil, though).

You ought to try the pane al cioccolato recipe I posted a few weeks ako, too. I tried a bit of mangosteen jam on a dusky slice and it was fabulous!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Nens! Thanks! I know that bread and have saved that link too because it does sound so good! :) I need a bib just from your have a mini-appetizer menu going here already! :)

Hi Wysgal! Thank you :) You probably had some recalcitrant yeast! But I'm sure it was good anyway :)

Hi Brilynn! Thanks :) Would love to see your loaf too :)

Hi Mae! Bread is great to make, if a bit long in procedure...Falling Cloudberries is really beautiful...I deinifitely want to try more recipes and I'll post them too (but sadly not any ice cream ones as I don't have a maker) :)

Hi Shelly! Thanks :) So true!

Hi Jmom! Thank you :) Pizza dough! I'll try that next!

Hi Ari! Thanks :) It does make pretty good sandwiches. I'm sure your loaf came out wonderful too...hope you posted about it! There truly is a magic in bread baking :)

Hi Baking Soda! Ah...the infamous bloggers buzz! I will go over there right now to check our your olive oil bread! :)

Hi Midge! So you mean I am close to baking foccacia already? Hooray! :) I'll check out your pane al cioccolato! Sounds heavenly!

Mila Tan said...

The no-knead bread is still a project on my to do list. However, was just reading some other bakers who have countered that the recipe that's going around may be too watery. Plus our humidity may make it harder than it looks. Ah well, time to get grubby and experiment.

Socky said...

Hi, Joey. Am so impressed with your bread life and am so feeling inferior that my bread is mostly the store bought type. One day I will bake my own bread... promise!

MrsA said...

that is a darned perfect loaf joey, gotta try that too once the holidays are over.. yummy

ChichaJo said...

Hi Mila! I'm curious to try the no knead bread too...mainly because they all look so crusty, something I can't ever duplicate. Maybe in january...things are getting pretty busy around here :)

Hi Socky! I don't always get to bake bread...but I love it when I do :) It's actually a great stress reliever!

Hi Mrsa! Thanks! :)

MrsA said...

joey, what brand yeast did you use and was that flour all-purpose? thanks

ChichaJo said...

Hi Mrsa! I used Dr. Oetker yeast from Santi's...everything in the package is in a different language so I had to confer with the salesperson first. It's called "Hefe Levure" and there is a picture of a challah on it. I got it because I couldn't find Fleischmann's or Red Star in the groceries. Anyways, it worked :)

The flour was King Arthur all purpose flour :)

canDIshhh said...

Looks good! :)

Lori said...

I love how your loaf has those "stretchy" parts -- reminds me of gluten in action. Ay, homemade bread -- there's nothing better! As for that Tessa Kiros book, was going to buy it but CJ said that you beat me to it! :p

gattina said...

what a simple yet delicous bread! I like this recipe which has flexiblity to go from here to more elaborated.

oggi said...

Bread! I love bread specially homebaked, and the mangosteen preserves, my favorite:D

ChichaJo said...

Thanks Candishhh! :)

Hi Lori! Yes, love those "stretchy parts"...very "up, up, and away!" :) As for Tessa Kiros' book I actually was the one who told CJ to order it! But I'm sure she ordered more than one...I am always bugging her, heehee :)

Hi Gattina! Yes, I am already excited to try different versions! :)

Hi Oggi! I am a bread lover too, both making it and eating eat...heehee :) The mangosteen jam was really easy to make!

angelika said...

Oh thank you, Joey, for this particular post. I have just added it to my favorites in order not to forget... Tanna and Karen aka Baking Soda (and now you !) have inspired me so much as for baking bread that I will have to do it in my new kichen - soon to come ! And we share the love for Tessa Kiros, I own her book (but it has been lying around, only partly read by me, for months - but that's not Tessa's fault at all...) called "Apples for Jam" and I can also recommend it. I have not tried any recipes out of it (next year, next year....hope next year will be long enough) but I agree with you regarding her dreamy approach - and the book design is gorgeous. Here's to more books that both of us love ! ;-) All the best from Vienna, angelika

Nicole said...

Your bread is beautiful...I can almost smell it! No matter how many times I bake my own bread, I am always amazed by the feels like magic! It's one of the most rewarding things one can do in the kitchen :-)

Pam said...

That looks and sounds absolutely dreamy!!!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Angelika! I am glad you've enjoyed thia post :) I also have Apples for Jam! I like it as well, especially with her childhood memories and those of her daughters...who are so adorable! I too never get to try as much recipes as I'd like, but here's to the joy of trying :)

Hi Nicole! Thanks for your nice words :) I agree, bread baking is very rewarding!

Thanks Pam! :)

Zarah Maria said...

Gaah! that is one PRETTY bread! Must make...

ChichaJo said...

Hi Zarah Maria! Thanks :)