Sourdough Olive Bread, page 287, August 21, 2015

My olive-aficionado sister is coming for a visit and I have been planning to make this loaf for her.  This recipe is actually a variation of a sourdough raisin bread in the book.  The author writes that by reducing the salt and replacing the raisins with a mixture of black and green olives you can easily adjust this loaf.

Yesterday, I took 1/2 cup of my sourdough starter from the fridge.  To that, I added 3 cups each of water and flour in a ceramic bowl, mixing with my dough whisk.  I then covered the resultant sponge and waited until it was fully active again.  (This took about 15 hours.)  I also added another cup each of water and flour to my stored starter and put it back in the refrigerator.

When the sourdough sponge was ready, I first had to prepare the canned olives.  I halved 1 1/4 cups pitted black olives and 1/2 cup pitted, pimento-stuffed, green olives.  I then drained these for about 30 minutes on paper towels.

Into the pan on my bread machine, I placed 1/2 cup of my sourdough sponge, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup fat free milk, 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons of butter (cut into pieces,) 3 cups of bread flour, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon SAF yeast.  I programmed the bread machine for a basic loaf with a dark crust and pressed start.  When knead 2 began, I gradually added in the pitted, halved and drained olives while the machine was kneading.  It was taking a while for the olives to be incorporated into the dough, so I used a rubber spatula to help it along. Due to residual moisture in the olives, the dough was looking sticky, so I added another 3 tablespoons of flour while everything was kneading together.

As I have learned, sourdough breads are sometimes slower to rise, so I checked the bread machine just before the bake cycle was to begin.  I decided the bread needed more rise time, so I unplugged the machine before it could start baking and allowed the rise to continue for another hour.  At that point, the dough ball was risen perfectly, so I plugged the machine back in and started the “bake only” cycle.

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When the cycle completed, I transferred the loaf to a rack to cool completely before wrapping it up to send it home with Becky.

I will be sure to let you know what she thinks.

NOTE:  If you are interested in the original, Sourdough Raisin recipe, the following needs to be changed.  Increase the salt to 1 1/2 teaspoons and replace the olives with 1 1/2 cups raisins that have been soaked in hot water for 1 1/2 hours at room temperature and then drained well on paper towels.

I got word from Becky today on how the taste test went for this loaf.

” Awesome awesome texture, I love the little twangs of olives there. I think with warm olive oil and herbs would be delightful.”

“Very good! Would be excellent with pasta dish. Or served with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Or with cream cheese, endless possibilities.”

“Would be a yummy addition to spaghetti! I like it a lot, very good.”

“So yummy, my favorite so far; I’ll take a whole loaf.”

Sounds like this is another keeper.

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Black Olive Bread, page 342, July 10, 2015

Today I am making a black olive bread.  I am really anxious for it to be finished because I bought some heirloom tomatoes at the store the other day and think this is going to make a really great sandwich. This recipe allows for you to use whatever kind of olives you prefer.  I decided to use some Greek Kalamata olives for a stronger flavor than I would get from standard canned black olives.  The author also mentions the use of a mixture of green and black olives, or use of garlic stuffed green olives.  I am getting the idea you could do a lot of different things with this bread. The one thing to remember when baking this bread is to thoroughly drain your olive pieces on paper toweling before adding to the dough.  This will help to remove most of the brine.  If you find your dough looking too wet after the incorporation of your olives, you can add additional flour, one tablespoon at a time. Ingredients for this 2-pound loaf are:  1 1/3 cups fat-free milk, 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 1/2 tablespoons honey, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 3 1/4 cups bread flour, 3/4 cup rye flour, 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons of gluten, 2 1/2 teaspoons SAF yeast and 1 1/4 cups pitted olive pieces. I added the ingredients in the order I listed them, holding off on the olive pieces until the machine signaled between the first and second rise.  This loaf uses the medium crust and French bread settings. Ms. Hensperger includes the following tip:

“If you like big chunks of olives, press Pause at the beginning or Rise 1 instead, remove the dough, pat it into a rectangle, and sprinkle with the olives.  Roll up the dough and gently knead a few times to distribute the olives.  Return the dough ball to the machine and press Start to resume the rising.”

I didn’t bother with these extra steps an just let my machine do its thing.  The dough was a little damp looking, so I added another tablespoon of flour while it was kneading in the olives.  I thought I would try taking a photo during the kneading process but chose the wrong option on my phone.  I ended up with a crazy slow motion video that looked like an undulating lumpy black and white blob and sounded like some kind of monster.  I will wait and take photos after it is done baking, rather than subject you to that.

Image-1 (2)This photo is a little misleading; this is not another crater loaf.  Because I used the ingredients for a 2 pound loaf as opposed to my usual 1 1/2 pound, it rose a little too much and mushroomed over the sides of the pan and to the top of the bread machine.  This bread is light and fluffy.  It is tender and delicate with lovely bits of olive throughout.  Is has a very light purple tint, from the olives, but not enough to look weird.  The only thing I might do differently if I made this bread again is to use a little less salt.  The olives are quite salty and I think the 3/4 teaspoon of added salt could have been even less.  Because of the interaction between salt and yeast, this could affect the texture and rise of the bread, but I think I would enjoy it a little more.  The other option would be to rinse the olives and drain them again to remove even more of the brine.  All in all, it baked up well, but it is not my favorite bread.  (It did make a great base for my heirloom tomato sandwich, though.)