Triple Rise Olive Bread

A few years ago, my husband was asked to travel to Paris for work the week of our wedding anniversary. Being the awesome guy he is, he arranged for me to go along, and we tacked on a few days of sight-seeing (during which I forced my husband to hike Montmartre while jet-lagged and hungry and then made him walk about 5 more miles before I let him sit, but that’s a story for another day).

While we were in Paris, we enjoyed some fantastic food. To be honest, I couldn’t get enough duck confit or crepes. And then there was this fantastic olive bread that was the perfect mix of smooth and salty and it’s been almost five years and I’m still thinking about it, it was that good bread.

I’ve been searching for a good olive bread recipe since. And there are plenty of them out there. But none were exactly right, for whatever reason. Yesterday, I broke down and created my own (and the results are pretty darn close to its Parisian counterpart). So, without further ado, here’s my recipe for Triple Rise Olive Bread.

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Triple Rise Olive Bread

(Yield: 1 loaf)

Ingredients:

3 cups unbleached flour

2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

2 teaspoons sugar

7 oz. container Kalamata olives, halved, and oil reserved (I recommend using olives packed in oil)

1 1/4 cups warm water (115 degrees F)

Instructions:

1. Mix sugar and water and add yeast to proof. It usually takes ~8-10 minutes to get nice frothy bubbles. While you wait, prepare the olives by pouring off the packing oil into a reserve container and halving the olives.

SONY DSC2. Mix flour, proofed yeast, 3 tablespoons reserved oil, and diced olive until all ingredients are incorporated.

3. Turn out dough on a floured board and knead until it’s elastic and smooth. Let rise for 45 minutes or until it doubles in size.

4. Punch down dough and kneed until smooth. Cover and rise for 30 minutes or until it doubles in size.

5. Punch down dough and form into a round ball. Let rise, seam side up, for 20 minutes or until it doubles in size.

6. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place dough seam side down on paper and brush top with remaining reserved oil.

SONY DSC7. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes, the reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake an additional 30 minutes (or until you tap on the crust and it’s crusty). Cool before slicing.

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A few notes:

✒ I’m a firm believer in proofing yeast before mixing dry ingredients, but I know there are people who would prefer to mix all the ingredient together and if that’s your thing, go for it.

✒ To help my bread rise, I like to create a proofing oven. I turn the oven on and let the temperature get up to ~150 degrees F before I turn the oven off. This creates a nice, warm, un-drafty area for the yeast to get to work. I usually cover my dough with a bit of plastic wrap and drape a kitchen towel over it, making sure to use a large enough mixing bowl so that the bread has room to rise.

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✒ Don’t add salt! You’ll notice that unlike most bread recipes, there is no salt added to make this dough. The Kalamata olives are briny enough to season the loaf, and unless you’re hoping to bake a salt lick, don’t add any more salt. I found that diced olives from a 7 oz. container was the right salt-level for me, but if you want to tone it down, add fewer olives and use regular olive oil in place of the reserved oil.

Comments, suggestions, etc. are always welcome. And if you decide to try some Triple Rise Olive Bread for yourself, please let me know how it turns out. Happy baking!

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