One of the best inventions for we foodies (and aspiring foodies) was the grocery store olive bar. No longer limited to everyday pimiento stuffed green olives and ho-hum canned black olives, I took to these new offerings with gusto.
Of course, I’m not one to remain satisfied for long . My husband does still search gourmet shops near and far, looking for jars and cans of even more exotic olives, just waiting to grace my Christmas stocking.
But in the meantime the fridge usually has a pretty good selection of black, green, brined and oil soaked olives. Working on this assumption I decided to combine two of my favorites, bread and olives, to round out a meal of garden overflow and crust-less quiche. So I was a bit disappointed when it came time to add the olives and I could only find large citrus-stuffed green Greek olives and some California blacks. Nonetheless, into the dough they went and the bread turned out great. Yes, Kalamatas would have been better, but there is no such thing as a bad olive!
- 2 cups sourdough starter
- 1 tsp salt
- 5 cups flour (I used a combination of Kamut®, white whole wheat, and all-purpose)
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup olives, cut into large pieces
In a large bowl or stand mixer bowl, combine the starter and water. Add the flour(s) and salt and mix until combined. Knead until you have a smooth but soft dough. Add the olives and mix until just incorporated into the dough. Let rise in a greased, covered bowl for about 2 hours.
Divide dough and shape into 2 tight balls, being careful to fully enclose the olives in the dough. Place seam side down on parchment paper and let rise another 2 hours. Preheat oven and baking stone to 450 degrees. Slash the top of each loaf and slide onto the hot stone. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the internal temperature is about 205 degrees. Move bread to a cooling rack and let cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing.
OR form into one large loaf. Bake in a clay baker, following manufacturers directions. (I baked the loaf for about an hour at 450 degrees, or until the interior was 205 degrees.)
Serve dipped in a good quality extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
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