Olive and Rosemary Bread
There’s something deeply satisfying about making bread. Something about squelching all that dough in your hands and waiting for the miracle of yeast to work its magic … twice. Then the smell and rapture of freshly baked bread, steam rising as the knife crunches through the crust, cleaving the airy centre. Butter or oil soaking into the feathery dough. While any sort of bread is nice to make, and the antediluvian pleasures of its baking and eating quite universal, if I go to the effort I like to attempt something flavoured. I’ve always had a knack with yeast cooking. Yeast likes me and I like it, so we work well together. This one is particularly tasty – a slightly wet and pliable dough that makes a well-risen free-form, focaccia like loaf, bursting with some of my favourite flavours.
3 cups plain flour
¾ tablespoon of bread improver
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 sachet (8g) instant dried yeast
¼ cup olive oil
1 ¼ cups luke warm water
1/3 cup pitted black olives, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary spikes/leaves
2 tsp coarse salt extra.
Combine flour sugar yeast and salt in a bowl and pour the water and oil into a well in the centre. Stir to combine ‘til it comes together and turn out and knead for 4-5 minutes. Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with cling wrap and stand in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in size. Inch it back and knead again for a few minutes and form into a rough rectangle on a tray lined with baking paper. Stud the olives and rosemary over the top and leave to prove for 30 minutes. Brush the top with a little oil, spinkle the extra salt on top and bake at 220°C (fanforced) for about 15 minutes or until golden on top.
I also cut into very thin slices and toasted it the next day for a satisfying and crunchy snack with drinks.
(Recipe inspired by SFI March 2006).