Thursday, June 21, 2012

Olive-Olive bread

First of all, a confession: I'm not really that crazy about olives. Ok, I like kalamata olives, but pretty much all other varieties make me want to puke. Black olives in a can? Yuck. Green olives? Blech! Green olives stuffed with something else? Forget you.

Back to bread. I've made bread with olive oil in the dough before, and have liked it pretty well. The crust is crispy and chewy and oily. The crumb has a nice, moist texture to it. I've had bread with kalamata olives mixed in before, too, albeit about 15 years ago now, but my memory is sharp enough to recall vaguely liking it. Or something.

On a trip to my local meijer to pick up stuff for my husband to make a fancy dip, I noticed a small jar of kalamata olives on sale for $1. "IN THE CART, YOU!" I shouted. Now, for a word of warning: If you are going to go to the trouble of making a loaf of bread from scratch, by hand and not in a bread-machine, please, for the love of god, do not use $1 olives. As the ever-wise judge Marilyn Milian of the People's Court always says, "the cheap comes out expensive."

Ugh. Even the label looks cheap. I really, really should have known better.
It's not that these olives are necessarily bad, or that they taste funny, but I think olives from, say...the olive bar at Whole Foods would have been money more well spent. Also, these cheap-os are not even pitted, so that added another fun step to the process. Nothing says fun like trying to pit olives while keeping your 1-yo entertained. FUN with a capital F-U!!

Anyway, it goes like this: mix together your olive oil dough ingredients and let the dough rise for 2 hours. After two hours, come back and roll it out to about 1/2" thick, and smatter your lovely pitted and halved olives on top. Roll up your dough and olive mess and shape into a ball. Let rest in your baking dish of choice for 1 hr, then bake for 35 minutes at 450, which seemed like a really high temp.

By this time, it was nap time for the babe, and I found it very difficult to jump up and take the bread out of the oven when the timer dinged as said babe was sprawled out across my lap. So, as a result, my crust got a little...brown. Not burned, but not golden brown like they talk about in all the recipe books.

The Result:

Another note: I would have more-finely chopped the olives instead of just halving them so there are more olives per square-inch of bread space and so that when you DO get a hunk of olive, it's not so overwhelming.

The Verdict: Good. On a scale of 1-10, I'd give it a 6. Higher scores would have been awarded if not for the dark crust and huge chunks of cheap olives. Definitely on my list to make again. 


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