Olive bread recipe -- from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day --
I use the French Boule recipe in the book. This master recipe can also be found on http://www.italianfoodforever.com
. This makes two nice round 2 lb. loaves of bread -- or four 1 lb. loaves. This is a no knead recipe.
3 cups warm water
1 1/2 TBSP yeast
2 tsp. salt (their recipe called for 1 1/2 TBSP Kosher salt but I thought that was too salty for me)
6 1/2 cups all purpose or bread flour or a combination of 5 cups white flour and 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
Cornmeal for a pizza peel or cutting board or a greased baking/cookie sheet
Pizza stone or unglazed ceramic tiles (if using a cookie sheet these aren't necessary, but the stone/tiles will give you a better crust)
In a very large bowl or large cover-able plastic container--
add yeast to the warm water, add salt to water/yeast mix. Measure off 6 1/2 cups flour (do not pat down in the measuring cup - just scoop, swipe excess off the measuring cup and pour) into the water/yeast mix. Mix until all the flour is moistened. Cover loosely and let the whole mess sit for 2 hours or more on the counter at room temperature until it falls in on itself, or you can't wait any longer. Stir down and place in fridge. Use it the next day -- if you can wait that long -- or let sit for about 3 hours in the fridge.
The next day or when you want fresh bread (or three hours later) -- flour your hands, sprinkle some flour on top of the spongy mass, and take out 1/2 the dough for a 2 lb. loaf (1/4 of the dough for 1 lb. load). Flour your work surface. Roll out the dough with a floured rolling pin to about 1/2 inch. Place 1/4 cup (or 1/2 cup if you like) drained olives that have been cut in half, all over the dough. Roll the dough like a jelly roll and then shape into a ball, flatten the ball a little into a disc. Put about 2-3 TBSP of cornmeal on a pizza peel, cutting board or cookie sheet and place the dough on the corn meal. Let it sit and rise for about 60 minutes (it won't get very high but trust me it will 'jump' in the oven). At about 30 minutes into the rising time, place a pizza stone or unglazed ceramic tiles to make a continuous baking surface, on the middle rack of the oven. Place a broiler pan in the bottom rack (it will hold water later to steam the bread and give you a nice crust.) Heat the oven to 450F for 20 minutes. Now, back to the bread, after it has finished its rise, make a paste of 1/2 tsp corn starch and a bit of water, add 1/2 cup more of water and microwave for 30-60 seconds. Paint the cornstarch slurry on the top of the loaf of bread. Slash the loaf with three slashes across the top (no more than 1/8 to 1/4 inch deep). Open the oven and place about 2-3 cups of water in the broiler pan for steam. Slide the loaf onto the baking stone or tiles (if using a cookie sheet, simply place the cookie sheet with bread on it in the oven on the middle rack). Bake 30-35 minutes for a 1 lb. loaf, 45-50 minutes for a 2 lb. loaf. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 1-2 hours (if you can wait that long.) The rest of the dough can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. When you want another loaf of bread, take it out, shape and bake as outlined above. You can vary this recipe -- add chopped rosemary, roasted garlic or whatever herbs you like. It's also good just plain and baked as outlined here(without the shaping into a jelly roll, just shape into a ball/disc.