There is nothing like the aroma and taste of homemade bread. This savoury Black Olive & Tomato Bread is perfect for dipping into olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Bread is one of my favourite things to eat. Making homemade bread isn’t as hard as it may seem. For me it brings on a sense of accomplishment. Knowing that my baba made bread from scratch ALL the time, it was time to step up to the plate and make some myself.
I am a bread fanatic. Seriously if I had to choose 3 things to take on a desert island to eat, one would be bread (the other 2 would be wine ?and cheese ?).
I love artisan breads, and the more savoury the better. Dense sort of loaves filled with pieces of olives, tomatoes and herbs. We love nothing more than breaking into that fresh bread and dipping it in oil and balsamic vinegar. That to us (along with some wine) is the perfect way to spend an afternoon chatting with friends.
As a child I remember my baba always making bread from scratch (that and everything else she cooked). You could smell the bread baking as you got close to the house. Waiting for it to come out of the oven and cool enough so I could get a nice thick slice slathered in butter. That was THE BEST after school snack going!!
We all get busy and baking bread gets put on the “to make” list for one day. I decided today was that day. It was a labour of love that came with the satisfaction of making something wonderful. It isn’t as hard as you think, and the results are so worth the effort.
I just love breads filled with lots of chunks of goodness, to me bread is all about the ingredients. This Black Olive & Tomato Bread is exactly up my alley. Loaded with olives and sun-dried tomatoes with the addition of fresh rosemary, this bread shows off your bread making skills and gets your mouth watering as you smell the aroma while it bakes.
Making bread takes a little work and a lot of patience. You mix/knead your ingredients and then it really is all about the rising/waiting and baking. It’s something you cannot hurry along, it is ready when it’s done!
I think the big thing that scares people about making bread is failure, perhaps it won’t rise or it won’t bake properly. You will never know if you don’t try. Yes I do agree that people like my baba could do this with their eyes closed because they know how the dough should feel. Once you do this a few times you will get to know that feeling too.
I have a few books on bread baking so I looked though them to find one I would like. My Black Olive & Tomato Bread was adapted from a recipe in Making Fresh Bread.
I chose black olives, sun-dried tomatoes and rosemary as my ingredients. I mixed everything together, kneaded until it was smooth. Put it away for about 1 1/2 hours to rise. Divide the dough into 2 balls and place them on a baking sheet and let them rise some more. When they were ready I made some cuts in them, brushed them with egg and baked for about 40 minutes.
Oh the house smelled wonderful as these baked. I could not wait to break into these little beauties and dip them in oil.
If you want the satisfaction of doing something that is a labour of love, head into the kitchen and bake some Black Olive & Tomato Bread. Once you have, I just know you will be going back to bake more!!
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Black Olive & Tomato Bread
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (and some for dusting)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp envelope of active yeast (or 2 1/2 tsp. if in a jar)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary (chopped)
- 1 cup lukewarm water (or just under)
- 4 tbsp olive oil (extra for brushing)
- 1 cup black olives (sliced)
- 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil (drained and sliced)
- 1 egg yolk (beaten)
In a large bowl sift flour and salt.
Add in yeast, sugar and rosemary and mix.
In a cup mix the oil and water.
Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the oil/water mixture.
Stir with a wooden spoon until dough comes together.
Using your hands, knead until it holds together.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface, and knead a few times.
Flatten slightly and layer on olives and tomatoes.
Roll like a jelly roll, then continue to knead for about 5 minutes until dough feels smooth.
Shape into a ball.
Brush bowl with oil and place dough into bowl.
Cover with plastic or damp dish towel and let rise in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours (or until dough has doubled in size).
Dust cookie sheet with flour.
Turn dough onto floured counter, punch down and cut in 1/2.
Shape each 1/2 into a round.
Place them on the cookie sheet, and cover with plastic or damp cloth.
Allow to rise for another 45 minutes in a warm place.
While the dough is rising turn oven to 400º F.
When dough is ready, make 3 shallow slashes across the top of each loaf, and brush with beaten egg yolk.
Bake in preheated oven for about 40 minutes until golden brown and the loaves sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Remove from pan onto a wire rack to cool.