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Country Olive Bread

A rough-looking, open textured olive loaf, ideal to serve with thick soups, antipasti and dips like hummous and guacamole. 

Preparation method

Combine the flour, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a large electric food mixer.  Gradually work in the water using your hand or the dough hook attachment of the mixer (use low speed) to make a soft but not sticky dough.  If there are dry crumbs or the dough feels stiff and hard to work  add a little more water.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured worksurface and knead thoroughly for 10 minutes until very elastic and pliable.  The dough can also be kneaded in the mixer using the lowest speed for 4 minutes.  Chop the olives, by hand with a large sharp knife, or in a food processor; they work best when they are neither too fine or too coarse.   Work into the dough and knead for a minute more so they are evenly distributed.  Return the olives to the bowl and cover with a snap-on lid or slip the bowl in to a large plastic bag and leave to rise in a warm spot until doubled in size – 1 to 1/2 hours depending on the room temperature.

Gently turn out the risen dough onto a lightly floured worksurface – do not punch down to deflate (as usual) but gently knead to dough into neat ball shape; with this dough you want to keep the irregular air holes to give an open texture to the baked loaf.  Transfer to the prepared baking tray and slip the tray into a large plastic bag and leave to rise as before until doubled in size.  Towards the end of the rising time heat the oven to 230C/450F/Gas 8.  Put an empty metal baking dish in the oven to heat.

Uncover the loaf and put into the heated oven.  Quickly pour cold water in to the hot metal dish to create steam in the oven then bake the loaf for 15 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 200C/400F/Gas 6 and cook for a further 20 minutes or until a good golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped underneath.  Cool on a wire rack. 

what you will need

Makes one large loaf

600g Marriage’s Organic Country Fayre Malted Brown Flour

1 x 7g sachet easyblend dried yeast

1 teaspoon salt 

About 375ml tepid water

75g stoned black olives, roughly chopped

A baking tray, lightly greased