Thursday, April 10, 2008

And then olive us broke bread

My friend BH (not the same as the BH from this entry) decided to host a potluck brunch in her apartment several weeks ago, because she had become "a hater of winter" and wanted to celebrate how "the days are getting longer which means spring is near." Sounded good to me! I volunteered to bring a loaf of bread, and since it was for a special occasion (meaning I was actually baking for people not myself and my family), I decided to fancy things up a bit by making an olive loaf.
I figured I would go with the recipe I usually use and then just throw in some olives when I shaped the bread for its second rise. (I never did try the "No-Knead Bread" recipe again; after making "Simple Crusty Bread" several times, it always just seemed less fussy.) The olives came from my local Trade Fair supermarket, and they hadn't been pitted. Which I didn't think was a big deal…until I spent a painstaking hour hunched over my cutting board, paring away the bits of briny flesh with a knife to create a suitable pile of purple and green chunks.
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For some reason, my dough was much wetter this time than it usually is, which made it hard to incorporate the olives. With the first one, I ended up just kind of slapping and smushing the dough around until I felt reasonably certain that the olives had made their way in evenly. With the second loaf, I made sure I floured my hands and the dough more thoroughly so that everything wouldn't be so sticky.
Despite my manhandling, both loaves still baked up beautifully. I cut a slice from one that night while it was still warm and found it delicious, though saltier than I liked—I hadn't compensated for the high salt content of the olives when I had mixed the dough, and I should have. I had already been contemplating cutting the salt in the master dough anyway, from a tablespoon and a half down to one tablespoon, and next time I definitely will (with or without olives). Aside from that, though, the bread was awesome.
Just look at that gorgeous, chewy crumb.
This makes us look like beasts
The next day I brought the bread to BH's apartment, where it shared a large wicker basket with a pile of bagels, some chocolate croissants, and a batch of delicious honey-almond scones made by MT. As you can tell by the photo above, the aftermath of the brunch wasn't pretty. What can I say, we are beasts!


  1. Wow, that bread looks delicious. I saw it on tastespotting. Love reading your blog. Interesting and great pics! Can't wait to see future posts. I have an invite for you, I hope you join our group. Lots of interesting foodies. Just go to the link at the bottom and give them my name as a referral, Kimi,
    Hope to see you there.

    oh, I never get pitted olives (except for martinis). Just push on them with the side of a chef's knife and they will split apart easily. Hope that helps!

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  2. I feel you...I had to pit olives once too. I definitely didn't think it would be as hard as it was.