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Rosemary-Olive Bread

Contributor: Michael Riley

This recipe for Rosemary-Olive Bread was inspired by Marcella Hazan’s magnificent cookbook, “Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking”.

Notes and Special Equipment:
  • Helpful tools: stand mixer
  • Ingredients shown in italics are optional. I add them only to promote loftier, lighter dough development. This recipe was inspired by Marcella Hazan’s magnificent cookbook, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.
Prep Time: Active: 20 minutes | Total: 2 hours, 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 – 30 minutes approximately, Rest 30 minutes after baking
Servings: 1
Ingredients

Bread:

  • 2 cups liquid drained from olive jars plus warm water (110°F)
  • 2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast (2 packages)
  • 2 6.7 oz bottles of pitted and chopped Kalamata olives
  • 5 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
  • ½ cup vital wheat gluten
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3+ Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary (all leaves from one package)
  • 6 drops of food-grade rosemary oil
  • 1/4 tsp. Ascorbic acid
  • 1 Tbsp. Lecithin powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp. salt

Dutch Crust (for an extra-crunchy top):

  • 3/4 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 packs active dry yeast
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 3/8 cup rice flour
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/3 cup warm (110°F) water
Instructions

In a bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water; let the mixture stand until bubbly, about 10 minutes. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine the olives, flours, rosemary, ascorbic acid, lecithin, and salt with the yeast mixture. Knead on medium speed until the dough is soft and smooth, 10 to 12 minutes. Turn out onto to a lightly floured surface, knead by hand for three minutes, and shape into a ball.

Return the dough to the bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place (e.g., an oven with a “proof” setting) until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch the dough down, divide in half and put each half into a bread baking pan dusted with corn meal. Let rise until at least doubled, from at least one and a half hours to overnight.

Stir crust ingredients together to a thick paste. Let rest in warm place until doubled and bubbly (about 30 minutes). Stir down and let rest 15 minutes, then stir again. Spread topping evenly over top and sides of the loaf. Let rise for 15 minutes, then bake.

Preheat an oven to 400°F. Bake until the loaf is golden and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Once the bread has reached an internal temperature of 205°F to 210°F, remove to a cooling rack and allow to sit for 30 minutes before slicing.

Dutch Crust Variation

Alternatively, use a sharp knife to make a slash (1/4 in. deep) across top of loaf. Use a piece of parchment in the base of the pot, and lower bread loaf into heated Dutch oven. Cover; bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until bread is deep golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped, 15-20 minutes longer, partially covering if browning too much.


Contributor Mike Ryan is a semi-retired adman, entrepreneur, husband and father, cat lover, curmudgeon, and the son of a Sicilian mother who taught him how to love to cook like an Italian.

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