When Things Go Right – Cheaters Olive Bread

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by Michael on October 30, 2012 · 1 comment

in Bread,Recipes,Technique

I had planned to write-up a pasta dish; rigatoni with roasted butternut squash, garlic, sage  and shiitake mushrooms. But along the way I decided to make some bread. It was noon and that seemed like an idea too late.

About two years ago I had read a no kneading simple bread recipe but I forgot about it since it needed 12 to 18 hours to rise. Who has 18 hours? And it sounded just wrong. Mix up flour, water, salt and yeast in a bowl and let it sit. Bake it in a Dutch oven and done. Perfect crust. Perfect texture. Bread baking is hard. Right?

Here is the article by Mark Bittman http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/081mrex.html?_r=0 and you should probably check out Jim Lahey at The Sullivan Street bakery: http://www.sullivanstreetbakery.com He came up with the basic technique.

Anyway, what I wrongly remembered was that it was quick. And with the gloom and doom of Sandy washing in, I thought filling the house with the smell of fresh olive bread might make the family happy. The other thing I know is that I don’t bake – too many rules. It’s not that I can’t, it’s just the weighing and timing and all that. With cooking, I can fake just about any technique. Not that I do, but I can. Baking? Not so much.

But now, I can cheat baking as well! Well not really. But for a good loaf with a perfect crust and texture? Yup. This still needs several hours, but little work. It works. For basic bread, just use 1 1/2 tablespoons salt and replace the brine with water.

Cheaters Olive Bread


2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup semolina flour
½ cup chopped kalamata olives
1 tablespoon garlic salt
½ cup olive brine
1 ¼ cups water
1 ½ 2 packets quick rise yeast (it has to be quick rise) 10.5 grams.
1 oven proof Dutch oven with a lid – required.

Reserve for the last part:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup semolina flour


Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.
Cover with damp kitchen towel and let rise for 4 hours or so in a 70 degree spot.

Make sure to use a cloth and not a terry towel.

Lay out the towel  and flour the center with half of the flour and the semolina flour.
Turn out the dough onto the towel and cover both sides with a bit of the mixed flour.
Add more as needed.
Fold the dough in 1/2 twice and form into a round
Cover with the towel and let rise ½ hour.

Place the Dutch oven in the oven and turn on to 450 degrees

When the oven reaches 450. Fold the dough into the pot and cover.
Bake for 30 minutes and remove the lid.
Bake for another 15 minutes and remove

Let the loaf cool on a rack for at least 15 minutes before cutting.

Other than the cooking time, time is flexible. If it needs to rise for 8 hours, let it rise. And really, once it’s in the towel, it can rise for up to 2 hours.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Ally Muscarella November 5, 2012 at 1:23 AM



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