If there are two things that go so well together in bread, they are rosemary and olives – especially kalamata olives! I am crazy about olives anyway and the slightly sour taste it brings into the bread is priceless!
One of my best friends since childhood, back in Turkey, has a strange phobia: he’s scared of olives.. I’m sure he will read this blog post and send me an email later on. But I actually do not judge him because of his phobia, because I have so many more of those myself. Though olives are not one of those, frankly I cannot think of life without olives – of any kind, any colour.
Whenever I tell my mother that I tried a new bread recipe, she tells me about one olive bread that my cousin baked many years ago. She told me this story so many times that now I can sense the story coming so I tell my mother to stop! Apparently she loved that bread very much.. I cannot blame her, can I?
This bread is really easy – just like any other no-knead bread. The secret of success in this kind of bread is to leave it at least overnight, from 12 to 18 hours, to rise. There is a significant difference between bread dough that was left for so long hours to ferment and dough that did not wait that long.
Another important thing is to bake the bread, especially one that is no-knead like this, in cast iron pot with a lid. The first 30 minutes in which the dough is baked with lid on creates a second oven environment inside the oven, and when you open the lid to bake more for especially better crust, you see a huge bread which rose perfectly. As usual, creating a steamy environment inside the oven by putting boiling water inside a pan suitable to go into oven and by putting that pan at the base of the oven is crucial – this is actually crucial in any kind of bread making..
When you are working with olives, there is one thing you should be very careful about, and that is the saltiness of olives. When I baked this bread, you will see in the ingredients list that I did not use any salt because the olives themselves were quite salty. However, according to olives that you will be using, you might have to add salt separately. Just taste one olive and decide if it is salty enough for all the bread or not. And yes, you do not have to use kalamata olives in your bread – any type of olive would be great!
Difficulty: ★★☆ (Medium)
makes 1 boule
3 cups / 7.5 dl. spelt white flour (white wheat flour works too)
1 tsp / 5 ml. dry yeast
1 1/2 cups / 3.75 dl. kalamata olives (or another type of olives), pitted and chopped coarsely
3 tbsp / 45 ml. chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 cups / 3.75 dl. cool water
Salt (needed or not, according to the saltiness of olives, please see the text above)
1. Put flour, yeast, olives and rosemary into the mixing bowl and stir just a little.
2. Add water and continue stirring until all the dry ingredients get wet and you get a sticky dough. Cover with a stretch film and let it rise for 12-18 hours.
3. Flour a surface and put the bread dough on this surface. Adding a bit more flour needed to get the dough smooth, try to keep the dough together and slightly firm. Cover the base of a big mixing bowl with corn flour and let the dough go through proofing for another 2 hours. In the meantime, during the last half hour, heat the oven to 220C and put the iron cast pan inside the oven while it is warming up (without the lid; do not heat the lid in the oven.
4. Take the dough out of the bowl after proofing and cover with some flour.
5. Once the dough is ready and oven has the right temperature, take the hot pan out of the oven and spread some corn flour on the base of it. Put the rather soft no-knead bread dough fast inside the pan. Score the bread however you wish. Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on, then 15 minutes more without the lid. When you have a nice crust and a hollow sound when tapped, your bread is done! Cool it down completely on a wire rack before cutting and eating the bread..