For this flavorful, crusty bread, the hardest worker is the yeast, and they work overtime (literally). All you need is the time it takes for the bread to rise and gain flavor, about 12 to 18 hours. For best flavor, use flavorful ripe olives in brine from a jar.
It's an excellent bread for sandwiches, and it makes a fabulous bread to serve with a pasta dish or a bowl of stew or soup.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Rising Time: 15 hours
Total Time: 15 hours, 15 minutes
Yield: Makes 1 Loaf, 1 3/4 Pounds
- 16 ounces bread flour, about 3 1/2 cups using spoon and sweep method*
- 1 1/2 cups water, room temperature, 12 ounces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoons salt (the olives add some salt as well)
- 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, optional
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups well drained sliced ripe olives, such as kalamata
Put all ingredients in a large bowl and stir with a wooden spoon or by hand until you have a soft, shaggy looking dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it stand at room temperature for 12 to 18 hours.
Flour a piece of parchment paper and your hands. Coax the dough out of the bowl and onto the floured parchment paper. With floured hands, fold the dough over on itself about 4 times to form a round loaf. Position it on the floured parchment seam-side down. Sprinkle with flour and put a lightweight kitchen towel over the loaf. Let it rise for another 2 hours.
Position the oven rack in the center of the oven. Place a heavy Dutch oven*** -- about 4 to 6 quarts in size -- in the oven.Do not include the lid when preheating. Preheat the oven to 500° F.
Carefully remove the hot Dutch oven from the oven and place it on a metal rack. Reduce the oven temperature to 425° F. Lifting it by the ends of the parchment paper, put the dough, parchment paper and all, in the hot Dutch oven. Place the lid on the pot and put it back in the oven.
Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on. Remove the lid and bake for about 20 minutes longer. The bread should register at least 200° F on an instant read thermometer inserted in the center.
Remove the bread and place it on a rack to cool before slicing.
* If weighing the ingredients isn't an option, try to measure the flour and water as accurately as possible. The dough should be quite soft and a little shaggy looking, unlike the typical yeast dough.
*** I used an enamel coated cast iron Dutch oven, but a large oven safe pot with lid would work.
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