Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Easy Kalamata Olive Bread

I wrote a play. And started another. As I try to increase my writing output (while I still have something resembling a brain), I look for ease in the day-to-day stuff. This kalamata bread is as easy as bread gets. Briny, crusty and pliable - this is what you want in January. It's not a boon to my waistline but it certainly elevates the mood as we watch the thermometer plummet.

Paul and I simply spread butter on slice after slice after it came out of the oven (who needed to wait for dinner?). But someone mentioned that this would be tasty with some olive tapenade. And I agree. Next time. This is from The Wanderlust Kitchen and I would keep most everything as is - except maybe increase the salt and garlic powder a wee bit.

It needs only two rises, so you don't have to decide at 6 a.m. that you would like fresh bread. The mixer does the kneading and you don't need specialty flours - so even if you're snowed in, you can make this. No more standing on line for the requisite bread and milk every time the weather promises a blizzard. (Yes, East Coast - I did feel for you.)

Ingredients for Kalamata Olive Bread
1-1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup lukewarm water
1/2 teaspoon salt (I would increase that a bit)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (go whole hog and use a teaspoon)
1/2 cup pitted, chopped kalamata olives (can use more)

1. Combine first six ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Roughly combine the ingredients. Let rest for fifteen minutes to activate the yeast.
2. Fold in the olives. Attach the dough hook and mix (knead) for five minutes. If the dough isn't releasing from the sides of the bowl, you can sprinkle in a bit more flour (I didn't need to).
3. Transfer kneaded dough to an large, oiled bowl. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place for sixty minutes. (I actually put mine on the stovetop where I had the oven on very low because it was one of those Polar Vortex days.)
4. Punch dough down and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Shape into a loaf and let it rise for another 60 minutes.
5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place a second baking sheet on the bottom rack. Dust your dough with some flour and make three shallow cuts on the top of the dough.
6. Place the baking sheet with the dough in the middle o the oven. Pour 1/2 cup of water in the baking sheet below. Bake for thirty minutes.
7. Supposedly you let it cool on a wire rack before slicing. Let me know how that works for you.

White Bear Lake finally did freeze over and the ice fisher-people rejoiced. I manage a winter walk on most days (because: bread and waistline). One of my resolutions that I made last July was to try and embrace winter. I love the looks of it. I love the rosy-cheeked glow. I am good with winter white. And I spent three years working on a play that went back and forth to the arctic. Somewhere around Draft 12, the arctic got into my system and I said, "All right. You can stay."

And below - is a cat - for no reason. Except he's kind of cute. Happy January!


Whats Cookin Italian Style Cuisine said...

Been waiting to see this beauty! LOVE LOVE LOVE this bread!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Love olives in bread! Never made this though for some reason -- really need to. In a few months, after we've lost some of the holiday bloat. :-( Anyway, really nice recipe -- thanks.

Torviewtoronto said...

delicious combination looks wonderful

Angie's Recipes said...

What a fantastic bread! I love to add olives in bread too.
Have a marvelous day,Claudia!

Frank said...

Looks wonderful, Claudia! Personally I think tapenade would be gilding the lily—I bet this bread makes for wonderful eating just on its own.

Marcelle said...

That bread looks beautiful! Sounds amazing with olives in the loaf. Thanks for sharing the recipe

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

What a gorgeous loaf of bread and I love olives in bread. Right now I could eat the whole loaf :)

Sprigs of Rosemary said...

Looks like a perfect antidote for writer's strain!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I agree with Frank. I'd skip the tapenade when you have bread with olives inside. A schemer of butter as you and Paul did would be perfect. I want this right now! (with a glass of wine).
Keep posting the cat pictures. love them!

Beth said...

I love step 7 of the recipe - I can relate! Recipes that tell me to wait until they've cooled (or cookie recipes that tell me to store the batter overnight in the fridge) always give me a good chuckle.

This Canadian can't complain about our winter at all. After two cold, snowy winters in a row, I'm quite delighted to be living through a mild one. (Knocks on wood.)

Roz | La Bella Vita Cucina said...

You're compelling me to bake some hearty bread now. . . and like your husband and you, must spread tons of butter (or dip in fragrant olive oil) while still warm from the oven. Watching all of the political coverage in Iowa right now, we're seeing lots of snow up there. Do stay warm and cozy inside . . . with your delicious, comfort food bread, Claudia!

Kathy said...

Claudia, Such a gorgeous looking bread! I have several hearty breads that I have ear marked for this winter...I better get started before winter is over! Love the cat...very cute!!

chow and chatter said...

this looks great and its good to embrace winter :0)

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