A new year meant a new Great British Bake Off calendar! I didn’t actually end up baking the last recipe of my 2013 calendar as I didn’t have time but I was really excited to start baking from this one. The first recipe is for an olive loaf. I love to try my hand at making my own bread and the house smelling of delicious home made bread. The recipe calls for pimento-stuffed green olives but my preferred are Greek kalamata so I went with those instead, I also chopped up my olives so that they would be more evenly distributed throughout the loaf.
Olive Loaf Bread
- 400g strong white bread flour, plus extra for optional pattern
- 100g wholemeal bread flour
- 2 tsp sea salt flakes
- 7g fast-action dried yeast
- 350ml lukewatm water
- 3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for kneading
- 115g pimento-stuffed green olives
- 50g Manchego cheese, diced
Baking paper, a baking sheet, a roasting tin, a doily to decorate
Mix both flours with the salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the dried yeast. Add the water and the oil to the flour and work in with your hand, mixing just enough to make a shaggy-looking soft, damp dough. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly oiled worktop. Lightly oil your hands, then knead the dough for 4 minutes only. Cover the dough with a sheet of clingfilm and leave to rest for 20 minutes, then knead for another 4 minutes.
Combine the olives and cheese, then gently work them into the dough. it should still be soft but not stick to your hands or the worktop. Transfer the dough to a sheet of baking paper cut to fit your baking sheet and pat out to an oval 1.5cm thick and about 20cm x 30cm. Cover the loaf loosely with clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm place for about 40 minutes until doubled in size.
Towards the end of the rising time preheat the oven to 230C. Put the baking sheet in tp heat up and place the empty roasting tin in the bottom of the oven.
Uncover the risen loaf. If you’re going to make a pattern lay the doily gently on top. Sift strong white bread flour liberally over the doily, then carefully lift it off the bread, without smudging the shape. Pull the hot baking sheet out of the oven, on its shelf, and carefully slide the loaf, on the baking paper, onto the sheet. Slide it back into the oven. Pour cold water into the hot roasting tin to create a burst of steam and quickly close the oven door. Bake the loaf for about 20 minutes until a good golden brown. Cool on a wire rack and eat warm the same day.