It seems that I cannot go more than one week without baking some bread. This was my last enterprise, taken from Hamelman’s bible. I was immediately attracted by the idea of making a loaf loaded with olives. The same dough gives simply amazing olive focaccia. So amazingly good that it did not survive long enough to be photographed.
The method is a little time consuming but, believe me, highly rewarding. There is a discrete amount of whole-wheat in this loaf, too. And it is sourdough-based. Plus, the olives contain plenty of the good fats we all seem to be after lately.
PANE ALLE OLIVE (Hamelman’s olive levain)
You need: 369 g (13 oz) liquid levain*, 369 g (13 oz) water, 648 g (1 lb + 7 oz) bread flour, 91 g (3.2 oz) whole-wheat flour (I used Graham’s), 14 g (0.5 oz) marine salt, 230 g olives, pitted and drained**.
How to: Step 1. Combine the levain with the water, add the rest of the ingredients except the olives and mix on first speed for 3 minutes. Mix for further 3 minutes on second speed. Add the olives and mix on first speed until incorporated (I did that kneading quickly by hand). Step 2. Let rest, covered with plastic wrap, for 2 and 1/2 hours, folding the dough after the first 1 and 1/4 hour. Step 3. Divide the dough: either shape two medium small loaves or 1 loaf and a focaccia. Step 4. If you choose to make a focaccia***, let it rest, covered, for 1 hour. For the loaf (or loaves), after shaping, let rest covered for 1 and 1/2 hour and then “retard” in the fridge for 12 to 18 hours. Step 5. Brush the focaccia with olive oil and bake with steam at 230 degrees (Celsius, 450 Fahrenheit) until it looks brown and crunchy on the outside. And the bread? Hamelman does not say it, but I baked with steam for 40 minutes, lowering the temperature from the initial 275 degrees (Celsius, 527 Fahrenheit) to 230 degrees (Celsius, 450 Fahrenheit).
*liquid levain: the night before baking, take out 34 g (1.2 oz) of 100% hydration active sourdough starter and mix with 204 g (7.2 oz) water plus 165 g (5.8 oz) of bread flour. It can be used 12 to 16 hours later.
**draining olives: also the night before baking, drain the olives from their liquid and let rest in a colander in the fridge. In the morning, place in a clean kitchen towel and drain completely.
***shaping a focaccia: place some baking paper on a (not too big) round or square baking plate and flatten the dough gently with your hands (it still has to be quite tall, surely taller than a pizza) directly in the baking plate, being careful not to deflate it.
CONSIDERATIONS: I really loved making this loaf and the olive focaccia. The focaccia goes wonderfully alone, while the loaf is well complemented by soft, mild, cheeses. Guess what was my favorite match? Pane alle olive and mozzarella… yum! Grateful to Hamelman to have made me discover liquid levain. By simply diluting your sourdough the day before mixing the final dough you can obtain an extremely mild sourdough bread. And for those of you who do not like the sour taste: there is no way you could have sensed it in this loaf. Oh… and if you don’t have sourdough starter… would gladly send you mine (and actually can, if you live in Sweden). Otherwise, my post Dirty Laundry and Sourdough Starter will help you to make your own. It lasts forever (still have the culture described in last August’s post) and makes very good bread. Wish you a pleasant week-end.
Submitted to YeastSpotting