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Apulia's Olive Bread

OK Marcella, you got me again.

I've made non-breadmaker bread many times, albeit a few years ago. So I wasn't expecting any glitches in making my ultimate recipe for this project - figured I could whip it up the day before, take a few pics, post my report the evening before & schedule it to appear early the next morning. Easy peasy.

Pretty simple ingredients - unbleached flour, olive oil, olives, salt, yeast. Well, after all it is bread. What could be simpler?

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OK, gotta make a starter - called a biga - some yeast, water, flour, olive oil. Oh, oh, it's supposed to rise 14 to 18 hours - so that's why this recipe didn't appear earlier today. Also there's a big mystery concerning the biga, which I will explain later.
The risen biga below:

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The bread dough below, including water, yeast, half the biga, some of the flour, the salt, the rest of the flour, some water & the olives. I used a wooden spatula to mix the ingredients together.

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One of Marcella's directions calls for occasionally lifting the dough out of the bowl with the spatula & slapping it back in. I liked that part.

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After rising for a few hours, the dough is flattened and lightly kneaded. Then it is shaped into a ball and allowed to rise again under a bowl. before baking in the oven at differing degrees for about an hour.

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The final result. Best olive bread I've ever made - also the first.

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The biga mystery? Well, the directions call for using half of the starter at an early stage, but no mention of the other half. I read & re-read Marcella's directions several times to see if I missed something. So the final result is a very good loaf of olive bread & half of the biga.

What I liked about this recipe:

It's been a long time since I've made bread - enjoyed the experience. Also, I liked using my wooden spatula, keeping the hand kneading to a minimum.

What didn't I like about this recipe:

Two days to make a loaf of bread?

Will I make it again?

Perhaps. The final result is very good.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 31, 2011 9:58 PM.

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