Tag Archives: Bread

Outrageously Olivey Olive Bread

I have recently been on holidays in Italy (yet again), drawn back by the lure of bread, cheese, pizza, pasta and gelato. I just love holidays in Italy, being able to chill out on a beautiful beach with a book, take breaks for ice-cream (it’s holidays okay…), dip into a seaside restaurant for fresh fish for lunch with a bottle of local wine, more sunbathing, then pre-dinner drinks followed by a big plate of fresh pasta heaped with seafood, butter, herbs and prawns, and more wine, and bread… Lots of bread. Okay I’m getting a little distracted and hungry again just thinking about it.

Beautiful Fresh Salty Olive Bread... Mmmmm!
Beautiful Fresh Salty Olive Bread… Mmmmm!

One of my favourite things to eat there is a Caprese salad with fresh, local buffalo mozzarella, juicy tomatoes and basil mopped up with crusty bread. While I was in Puglia I had some of the most incredible olive breads and decided that I had to make one as soon as I got back. So off to the market I trotted and filled up a bag of salty, black olives. While my bread looks brown it’s actually white, all the kneading of the olives into the dough coloured it. You could always add the olives into the bread after kneading for a dramatic contrast.

This bread is made using fast-action yeast and so is very quick and easy to make. Why not make it this weekend and enjoy it with some fresh mozzarella and a good bottle of red?

Olive Bread Slathered With Hummus Is Beyond Delicious
Olive Bread Slathered With Hummus Is Beyond Delicious
So Good I Bit A Chunk Of It Off Before I Finished Taking Pictures
So Good I Bit A Chunk Of It Off Before I Finished Taking Pictures

 

Ingredients

500g white bread flour

1 large handful black olives chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

1 pinch salt

1 sachet of fast action yeast

300ml warm water

1 heaped teaspoon of brown sugar

  1. In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar, salt and oil. Give it a quick stir and then stir in the yeast.
  2. Now stir in the water and stir for a minute until all ingredients are combined. You can either add in the olives now, or after kneading so that the bread is less brown in colour.
  3. Knead the bread on a clean, floured surface for at least 10 minutes, or if you have an electric mixer with a dough hook you could throw it in that for half the time.
  4. Shape the dough and coat it with a little olive oil. Pop it into an oiled bowl and cover in cling film. Leave it in a warm place until it has double in size which can take between 1.5 – 2 hours.
  5. When the dough has risen bake in an oven, preheated to 220c for 35-40 minutes. A trick here is to throw a few ice cubs or half a glass of water into the oven 5 minutes before putting the bread in, the steam will help create a nice crust on the bread. I like to slash a blade or sharp knife across the top of the bread too before putting it in the oven to allow the steam to escape.
  6. The baked loaf should sound hollow when tapped underneath. Let the bread cool on a wire rack and enjoy with some butter, cheese or hummus!
Knead The Dough For Ten Minutes
Knead The Dough For Ten Minutes
Leave The Bread To Prove Until Doubled In Size
Leave The Bread To Prove Until Doubled In Size
A Nice Big Chunk Of Fresh Olive Bread Hot From The Oven
A Nice Big Chunk Of Fresh Olive Bread Hot From The Oven
Delicious Soft Salty Olive Bread With Crispy Crust
Delicious Soft Salty Olive Bread With Crispy Crust

Ciabatta

The Arbutus Ciabatta
The Arbutus Ciabatta
My Ciabattas
My Ciabattas

This week I started a four week bread making course with Arbutus Breads, and it was something I have been looking forward to for ages and ages. Food is one of my favourite things about coming home to Cork, and Arbutus is one of the best artisan food companies around, it’s certainly the best bakery in Ireland. Their Latvian Rye with caraway seeds is my favourite, but all their breads are amazing, you really have to just taste them to understand where are the hype is coming from.

Declan Ryan was the first Michelen star chef in Ireland with his famous Arbutus Lodge restaurant which he ran for many years. After retiring from the restaurant business he started up the Arbutus Bread Company which is now a household name in Cork for the best in artisan bread. He trained with some of the most famous French bakers using traditional methods. The Arbutus Breads course is ran with his son Darragh one night a week for four weeks, and we will be doing a couple of breads a week.

The first class was really educational and it was so nice to listen to Declan’s stories of how he learn the art of traditional French bread making from great names in baking such as Pierre Nury and Xavier Honorin. He even had an old photo album of pictures of the bakeries he learnt in, the types of bread he made and methods he used which was amazing to get to see.

This week we made Ciabatta which is so handy to have in your repertoire.  I think successful bread making at home is all about confidence. It seems really intimidating at first but you just need to keep trying and not be disheartened by the fact that your first attempt may be an epic fail, and the second may not exactly win a beauty pageant. But persevere and you’ll get the knack quickly enough!

Declan Sharing His Baking Stories From His Travels
Declan Sharing His Baking Stories From His Travels
Declan Showing Us The Treats That Have Been Proving
Declan Showing Us The Treats That Have Been Proving
Darragh's Danishes
Darragh’s Danishes

Ingredients:

420g (approx) T65 or Type 00 flour (Strong white unbleached will do, but try a good deli for some of the T65 or Type 00)

7g salt

64g sourdough starter (for recipe on how to make starter click here)

4g Fresh yeast (Or 2g dried yeast)

190ml water (tepid)

1. Mix ingredients together in a mixer with a paddle attachment, or by hand for 5 to 10 minutes. It’s a very wet loose mix so don’t worry that it looks a bit sloppy. Declan suggested mixing it until it becomes glossy.

2. When all ingredients are combined put the dough in a large container, cover it and let prove  (sit) for around two hours, in a warm area if possible. It should double in size.

3. Take out dough and it knock back on a floured surface. This is as simple as patting down the dough, you can’t knead it again as the loose mixture won’t allow it.

4. You can either leave the dough as is or portion it into smaller pieces for ciabatta buns. Let the dough prove on a floured cloth for another 30 to 60 minutes.

5. Pop into a hot oven at 250C for about 15 minutes or so. Declan said not to get too worried about time, and just go with your gut “When it’s done, it’s done”. It will be done when it sounds hollow when you tap it. You can always make a batch and freeze some smaller individual portions when baked for use when you need.

Ciabatta After First Prove Ready To Portion
Ciabatta After First Prove Ready To Portion
Portioned Ciabatta Ready For Second Prove
Portioned Ciabatta Ready For Second Prove
Yes We May Have Started Eating Them Straight Away...
Yes We May Have Started Eating Them Straight Away…
My Attempt At Home
My Attempt At Home
My Ciabattas
My Ciabattas
Nice And Holey On The Inside
Nice And Holey On The Inside
Worth It For The Smug I Made It Myself Factor
Worth It For The Smug I Made It Myself Factor