Olive Bread

I recently posted my favorite bread recipe from Jim Lahey.  This olive bread is an extension of that recipe.

Following are the instructions for the regular loaf.  For olive bread, just add chopped kalamata olives when you are mixing the flour and water.

Olive Bread

The night before (around 8pm)

3 cups bread flour
1/4 teaspoon yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt

Stir ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.  Add 1 1/3 cups warm water.  Stir until the dough comes together.  ADD 1/3 cup chopped kalamata olives.  The dough will be sticky.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside to rise overnight.

The next day (about 2pm)

The dough is ready when the surface is dotted with bubbles.  Carefully remove the dough from the bowl and place on a lightly dusted surface.  Shape the dough into a ball.  Use just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking.  Place the ball of dough on a lightly floured dish towel or plate (I actually put the dough on a plate that has been coated with olive oil or lightly dusted with flour).  Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for about 2 hours.

About 3:30pm

To bake this bread you need a pot with a lid.  The pot needs to be able to withstand temperatures of 450 degrees.  I use Corningware's French White 2 1/2 quart (2.3 L) pot with lid.

Place the empty pot and lid into the oven.  Preheat to 450 degrees.

About 4pm

When the pot is hot and the oven has reached 450 degrees, carefully remove the pot and then pour in the dough.  Place the lid on the pot and return it to the oven.  Bake for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove the lid from the pot and continue to bake for 15-20 minutes.  Carefully remove the bread from the pot and place on a cooling rack.  Allow the bread to cool before slicing.

Any leftover bread can be stored in a plastic bag.  (Note:  the crust becomes soft when the bread is wrapped in plastic).