I recently made my first loaf of bread. It was something I had always wanted to do but never did. The process intimidated me so. In my desire to try things new and step outside of my comfort zone I decided to give it a try. After all, worse came to worse and I ruined it I would simply toss it. I'd never know if I could or couldn't if I didn't give it a try. So I did, and I couldn't get over how incredibly easy it was! There are many different recipes out there and really the hardest thing about them all is not the mixing of ingredients, but letting the dough sit long enough to rise! This recipe is simple. Hands on time is minimal, the wait time is fairly significant - you have to let the dough rise twice and then another hour to bake... but you know what they say about those who wait... and this is something worth waiting for! The recipe below is adapted from Williams-Sonoma's Rosemary Olive Bread.
Makes one loaf
2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast (1 package)
2 cups warm water
1/2 cup of olives, pitted and chopped (I used an assortment of black and green olives for color and flavor)
6 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
3 Tbs. Italian Seasonings or Herbes de Provence
2 1/2 tsp. salt
In a bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water; let the mixture stand until bubbly, about 5 minutes.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine the olives, flour, herbs and salt.
When the yeast mixture is ready add to the flour mixture.
Knead on medium speed until the dough is soft and smooth, about 5 minutes
Remove from bowl and lightly grease bowl (I used an olive oil non-stick spray)
Return dough to bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch the dough down and let rise until doubled, 45 to 50 minutes.
Preheat an oven to 400°F
On a lightly floured surface, press the dough flat; stretch the sides of the dough down and roll back into a round shape, if necessary pinch the seam underneath the loaf closed.
Using a serrated knife, cut a large, shallow X on top of the loaf.
Cover and bake until the loaf is golden and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, about 1 hour.