This is the first bread I learned to make, that’s how easy it is! It’s also a great recipe to experiment with, use it to test your preferences for different flours and herbs. This week I decided to make a hearty version with three different flours in equal portions (rye, white wheat, whole wheat). The flours, herbs and toppings can all be adjusted to your own preferences. I suppose stand mixer can be used, I still knead by breads by hand.
Grease a large mixing bowl and set it aside.
In another large bowl mix together:
1 cup of flour
1 cup of water
1 packet (or equivalent) of yeast
a pinch of sugar
Combine this until it’s smooth.
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup chopped rosemary
1/2 cup sliced kalamata olives
2 cups of flour
Once you have most of the flour mixed in, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it until it’s smooth. Place it in the greased bowl and turn it over so that all sides are greased. Cover the bowl and let it rise until in a warm place it’s doubled in size.
Now you have to decide how you want to shape it, one large round or oval or smaller loaves. Place the dough on a greased baking pan or a baking stone that has been prepped with corn meal. Using your hands, gently shape it into the desired round or oval shape. Press your knuckles into the top, creating a pattern of divots. Spread the top of the loaf with extra virgin olive oil and then consider toppings. My favorite is freshly cracked pepper mélange and sea salt.
Let the bread sit for 15 minutes before baking, don’t let it rise too much, it’s meant to be flat. Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes, depending on the size and shape. The bottom will likely brown before the top of the loaf so take care not to over bake it. When it’s done it will have a hollow sound when you tap it.
After it cools a bit, serve it with pasta, salad, or slice it down the center and turn it into a sandwich. You can also use it as a thick pizza crust and spread your favorite toppings on it.
Until next time… Release YOUR Bon Vivant and Savor Your Life!