I've been trying to create a connection between successive posts just in case potential readers plan on having a food theme party or what not. No, actually, just kidding.. the reason why I'm engaging in this is mainly because I know..from the bottom of my heart that there's someone out there who wants to make things from scratch. (aand it really comes in handy for figuring out recipe order..nhe). So just in case you want to be responsible for having provided all the ingredients necessary for the previous recipe, i suggest you go tomato picking and starting up the oven to make some bread! (I am serious about this last one. Related, planting some herbs like rosemary or basil in tiny pots and growing them in the kitchen is both a cute and practical idea.)
This particular bread recipe works well on its own too. I have the tendency to pig out half a bread loaf even before it touches the ground after I take it out of the oven. Yes, it's that gud. My not-so-very-fond-of-me-grandma even dared affirm that I am eligible for marriage after having a bite of this now famous bread. (word)
You know how people freak out and never make bread at home? And when they taste your home-made bread they go "you have one of those..bread-making machines, don't you?". Um, no.. I like getting dirrrty :D (you know...flour all over). Either way, bring out the sexy in your housewife persona and wear an apron. If the "baking process" occurs mid-summer, feel free to wear only that. The point is.. making bread isn't difficult at all, it's but a relaxing pastime. One way looking at it is comparing it to writing your personal statement (sorry for bringing it up again).. time consuming. But, in the end, we just have to admit it was time spent constructively, aka for the future, delishusness and our tummies' well-being. Here comes the hailed recipe, preceded by yet anudder fascinating piece of advice: arm yourself with patience.. and olives.
You will need:
1 1/4 cups warm water
2 teaspoons yeast (I used the fresh type)
2 teaspoons caster sugar
3 spoons olive oil (+ some extra for coating pans and such)
3 cups flour (+ some extra for flowering your work surface)
2 teaspoons kosher (Bailey had an engine..) salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
handful of olives
Preferably, start by heating up your.. kitchen. Remember how you woke up on Christmas Eve only to find your mother/grandma walking about, using everything from the then empty pantry? Most certainly, this fuss was created for the sake of the oh-so-festive pound cake. This is pretty much what to expect when starting up the bread-making. Not only you'll end up with something to eat, but also with a cute and cuddly kitchen. This image was all I had in mind this morning while making my way home through the blizzard. The first thing I told my mom was to get out of the kitchen as I was determined to have some foccacia for supper.
After everything is nice and cosy, grab a small bowl and a wooden spoon. Break the yeast into pieces, add the sugar, and start mixing until it turns liquid. Add your three tablespoons of olive oil and incorporate everything thoroughly. Pour in the water, give it a whirl or two and set the mixture aside in a warm spot for about five minutes. This is just a guideline, as you have to wait until the composition becomes frothy and bubbly. As I've heard, this is quite an unusual way to prepare the yeast, but as far as I'm concerned I'm not going to change anything as long as the outcome totally owns other bread recipes.
Carrying on, get hold of a medium (maybe even largeish) bowl. Sift your flour in this container and add half of the salt. Make some sort of a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture. You'll want to start mixing with a wooden spoon, but once you feel it's getting harder to stir, it's time to roll up your sleeves and take business into your own hands. Flour your work space (eg. kitchen table or counter), and start kneading the dough on the prepared surface. Do so for about ten minutes, continuing to add small amounts of flour if the mixture is still sticky. When kneading, be firm, but don't squeeze the mixture. The correct way of doing this is by lifting sides of the dough with your fingers and pressing them to the centre with the back of your wrist. Use your left hand to help shape the dough into a ball. Coat a bowl with oil and place your resulted ball in. Cover with a cloth and store in a warm place for about 45 minutes, or until it has doubled in size. After the 45 minutes have elapsed, preheat your oven (if you haven't done so yet). Knead the dough for two more minutes on the freshly floured surface, and don't worry, this wont harm the puffiness of your bread.. especially since you have to let it prove for 20 more minutes, this time after placing it in the baking pan you'll prepare for it by brushing it with olive oil. So cover it up and let it sit in the same warm spot. The 20 minutes having passed, press dimples into your bread, brush it with a little olive oil, season with a little bit of salt and oregano and press in the olives. You can have them whole or sliced, just make sure you've taken out all the seeds. If you also want to have olives inside your bread, follow this next step before placing the dough in the oiled baking pan: roll it out like a pizza dough, sprinkle on the olives and roll it back, like you would a pergament. After having all this done, place the pan on the middle rack of the oven for about 30 minutes, or until golden-brown.
As you may have noticed, i do not specify gas marks or the temperature needed for baking "the goods". That's because my oven is part of this rly rly old stove that keeps putting itself off when I least expect it. So.. tiny inconvenient there. But if my ancient oven can do it, your kickass one should be able to pull this recipe off too. Now get back and munch on your olive bread, either simple, turned into a feta sammich or bruschetti. :)
P.S.: This amount of batter only makes for one loaf but but.. i doubled the composition for my famished family. Sorry if the pics befuddled anybody.
P.P.S.: Free samples Monday at school for the nonbelievers!