The first thing I baked in 2013 was this bread, and I promptly ate half of it. While I don’t make resolutions, I do plan to eat more carbs this year, so I’m certainly off to a good start. Here’s to a delicious 2013.

Olive Rosemary Bread

Fresh bread for the new year

Olive and Rosemary Bread
From Baking Illustrated

Sponge

  • 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 cup water, at room temperature
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour

Dough

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface, hands, and dough
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary leaves (1/8 cup dried)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup oil-cured black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
  1. For the sponge: stir the yeast into the water in a medium bowl until dissolved. Mix in the flours to create a stiff, wet dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for at least 5 hours, preferably overnight.
  2. For the dough: mix the sponge, flour, water, honey, and rosemary until smooth, about 15 minutes, adding the salt in the last 3 minutes. Add more water as needed – the dough should be smooth but sticky.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and gently knead in the chopped olives until incorporated. Return to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let double until tripled in size, at least 2 hours.
  4. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and dust dough with flour. Lightly press the dough into a round and transfer the dough, smooth side down, to a baking sheet. Let rise for another hour.
  5. While dough is rising, set oven to 450F. Place a small baking pan, filled halfway with water, on the lowest rack.
  6. Once dough has risen, cut a large X into the top of the dough. Bake at 450F for 30 to 40 minutes. Bread will be dark brown and a thermometer inserted into it will register 210F.
  7. Store bread at room temperature and reheat at 450F.

I love a good crusty loaf in the wintertime. It’s filling on its own, but even better with a bowl of hearty soup.

This olive rosemary bread takes a bit of patience, but it’s so worth it to pull out this beautiful brown boule from the oven. A stand mixer is a huge help for this one since the dough is so sticky, so make sure you liberally flour everything as you go along. Underbaking is this bread’s worst enemy – it’ll get gummy and chewy instead of crisp and tender, so make sure the bread is brown all over before you remove it from the oven.

This bread is really a huge confidence booster for any baker – forget the bakery, you can make your own delicious crusty bread at home!

Olive Rosemary Bread Dough

Stages of the sponge and the dough

Olive Rosemary Bread

X marks the spot

Olive Rosemary Bread

A hearty, crusty bread with olives and rosemary

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