Olive and Herb Bread

3.5/5 rating (2 votes)
  • Complexity: easy
Olive and Herb Bread

If you have never made your own bread before that is a shame. Many say 'well if it so easy to go and buy some, why bother with all the fuss and complication of making it?' Well, if you ever find yourself with a little spare time and a clear head making bread can not only be therapeutic but also very rewarding. We all know what it can be like trying to fill the time you'd previously be spending on drugs, making bread is a firm favourite for many who have left residential rehab and are now their own masters.

Yes making bread takes time, but it’s not fussy and it’s not complicated and you get a work out as well. Ever thought about taking your frustrations or excess energy out on a ball of dough? You'll wonder why you hadn't tried it before.

The bread kneading work out is tough, you have to commit to bread kneading, less than 10 minutes and the bread won't turn out right. Ideally you should aim for around 20 minutes of dough bashing. For those that commit they will be rewarded with some delicious bread by the end of it.

 

Ingredients

  • • 2lb of strong white flour
  • • 1 pint tepid water, (previously boiled not straight from the tap)
  • • 1oz fresh yeast
  • • 2 spoons of sugar
  • • 1 spoon of salt
  • • A handful of chopped black olives
  • • A handful of dried herbs, (I used rosemary and basil)
  • • A couple of cloves of garlic, (crushed)
  • • Freshly ground black pepper
  • • More salt
  • • Olive oil

Directions

  1. Put the flour into a large bowl and make a well in the centre.

  2. Pour half of the water into the well, and then add the yeast, sugar and spoonful of the salt and stir with a fork, leave for about 5 minutes. Slowly bring in the flour mixing it with the yeasty water until you get a stodgy, porridge like mix, and then add the remaining water.

     

  3. Continue to mix you can be more aggressive, bringing in all the flour, making the mix less sticky. Flour your hands and push the dough together until all the flour has come together and you have got a dough ball. Put the dough ball on a clean surface and get stuck in with the kneading. Push, fold, slap and roll the dough around, over and over, for anything up to 20 minutes until it is silky.

  4. Sprinkle flour on top of your dough. Put it in a bowl, cover with cling film, and allow leave it somewhere warm for about half an hour until doubled in size Once the dough has doubled in size, knock the air out by bashing it and squashing it. This time a couple of minutes should do, but this time, work in the olives and dried herbs as well.

    Shape your dough, for this loaf I go for a flat square shape, I also rub the crushed garlic over the top, sprinkle with pepper and salt and brush with olive oil.

    Leave it for a second time for 30 minutes to an hour until it has doubled in size once more.

     

  5. Gently place your risen bread dough on to a flour-dusted baking tray and into a preheated medium hot oven.

  6. A loaf will take about 30 – 40 minutes, rolls about 15 -20. Test by tapping the bottom, if it sounds hollow it is done, if not pop it back in and keep testing.

This is a recipe for olive and herb bread, but you can leave it plain if you want, or use other ingredients such as cumin and coriander seeds for a more aromatic loaf. Raisins and nuts, cheese, just add what you want or not if you want a simple loaf.

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