Sourdough Olive Loaf

As promised, we are back with a super delicious sourdough bread recipe!

Sourdough is an exercise in patience. The time it takes to make a loaf  can vary by hours depending on temperature and the activity of  your starter, the good news is the slow pace makes it easy to fit into your day, it takes just a few minutes here and there. But you will want to start early if you want to have fresh bread by dinner!IMG_2043

I usually take my starter out of the fridge the night before, feed it and let it sit out over night. In the morning I stir it down, take what I need for that days baking and then feed the remaining starter in the jar. You want to make sure you are replacing the quantity you have taken each time you bake before returning the starter to the fridge.

Because different brands of flour may vary slightly and your starter is also adding some hydration, if you find the dough is too wet when mixing you can add an extra tablespoon of flour. If it seems a bit dry and you are having trouble getting it together you can add an extra tablespoon of water.

I bake this bread in an old dutch oven, but have also had success with other covered oven safe dishes. The steam created inside the closed chamber will help keep the dough soft, that combined with scoring the top of the loaf will help achieve optimum oven spring.

When the bread is still warm inside it can be difficult to slice neatly, it’s still so soft and squishy. If that’s what you are after, dig in. I recommend some olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping. If you have more self-restraint than I do, wait until the next day to cut the loaf. The crumb will be more firm, the crust softer and you can cut it neatly for sandwiches. You can of course make this bread without the olives for a plain sandwich loaf.

Sourdough Olive Loaf

This recipe produces 1 loaf.

Ingredients:

2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
½ cup Active Sourdough Starter
1 ¼ cups Room Temperature Filtered Water
2 tsp. Salt (without additives)
1 tsp. Sugar
½ cup Sliced Green Olives
1 tsp. Olive Oil
2 tbsp. All Purpose Flour (for dusting)

Directions:

  • To a mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer add the flour, water, starter, salt and sugar.
  • Mix together by hand and then knead for 8 to 10 minutes or;
  • With your stand mixer on low speed and dough hook attached, bring the dough together and then let it knead for an additional 5 minutes.IMG_2044
  • Use the olive oil to grease a clean bowl.
  • Shape the dough into a ball and place in the greased bowl. Cover it loosely with a lid, plastic wrap or a clean tea cloth.IMG_2045
  • Place the bowl in a relatively warm place free from drafts, and let rest until the dough has doubled in size. This time may vary depending on the activity of the starter and the temperature.
  • When the dough has doubled, dust a workspace with flour and press the dough flat with you hands, similar to stretching pizza dough.
  • Strain your olives and dry them gently with a kitchen towel.
  • Layer the flattened dough with the olives, and then gently begin to cover the olives by stretching a section of dough and folding it into the center. Continue all the way around the dough, and then repeat for a second rotation around the dough.
  • Flip the dough over, and gently shape into a ball.

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  • Dust the dough with flour and place it in a parchment-lined bowl. Allow the dough to rest again in a relatively warm draft free place until it again doubles in size.
  • Place your Dutch oven or roasting pan side-by-side with its lid on the bottom rack of the oven, preheat the oven to 4250F
  • When the oven has reached temperature wait another 25 to 30 minutes. Then working quickly, remove the heated Dutch oven or pan, and using the edges of the parchment gently lift the loaf into the baking vessel. Score the top of the loaf. Cover with the lid and return to the oven.
  • Bake covered for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the crust is a deep golden brown.
  • Remove the baked loaf from the oven and let cool for a minimum of 30 minutes on a baking rack before slicing. The loaf should have a hollow sound if you flip it over and tap the bottom.
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