No-Knead Olive Artisan Bread

The No-Knead Olive Artisan Bread is a delightful twist on traditional artisan bread, incorporating the rich, savory flavors of olives into a rustic and hearty loaf. This recipe stands out for its simplicity and the minimal effort required, making it accessible even to those new to bread baking.

The process begins with the preparation of the dough, which is a simple mix of all-purpose flour, a touch of whole wheat flour for a nuttier flavor, salt, yeast, water, and, of course, olives. The olives can vary in type, from Kalamata to green olives, or even a mix, each imparting a unique flavor profile to the bread. They are typically pitted and roughly chopped to distribute their flavor evenly throughout the loaf.

One of the key characteristics of this recipe is the long fermentation or proofing time. The dough is gently mixed, ensuring not to overwork it, which aligns with the no-knead aspect of the recipe. Once combined, the dough is left to rest and slowly rise. This slow fermentation, often lasting from 12 to 18 hours, is crucial. It not only allows the gluten to develop without the need for kneading but also enhances the flavor of the bread, giving it a slightly tangy, complex character.

After the initial rise, the dough is shaped into a round loaf. This is often done with a gentle folding technique, maintaining as much of the air and bubbles formed during fermentation as possible. The shaped dough then undergoes a shorter second rise, often in a well-floured proofing basket or a bowl lined with a linen cloth, to give it its final shape and size.

Baking is where the magic happens. The oven is typically preheated to a high temperature with a Dutch oven inside. The high heat and enclosed space of the Dutch oven mimic a professional bread oven, creating a steamy environment that contributes to the bread’s rise and develops a wonderfully crispy and chewy crust. The bread is carefully transferred into the hot Dutch oven, covered, and baked. After a period, the cover is removed to allow the crust to achieve a deep golden brown, often with a slight sheen and a crackly texture.

The final product is a beautiful, artisanal loaf. The exterior boasts a rugged, crackly crust, while the interior reveals a soft, tender crumb interspersed with the salty, tangy bites of olives. Each slice offers a balance of textures and flavors – the chewiness of the crust against the softness of the inside, and the earthy taste of the bread complemented by the briny, rich olives. This bread pairs wonderfully with a variety of foods, be it a simple swipe of butter, a hearty soup, or as a base for a flavorful sandwich. The No-Knead Olive Artisan Bread not only brings the joy of homemade bread to the table but does so with a gourmet twist that is sure to impress.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1/3 cup chopped olives

Preparation

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, yeast, and salt. Add water and olives, stirring until a shaggy dough forms.
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 12-18 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C) with a Dutch oven or heavy pot with a lid inside.
  4. Once the oven is preheated, carefully remove the pot from the oven and remove the lid. Sprinkle flour or cornmeal on the bottom of the pot to prevent sticking.
  5. Gently shape the dough into a ball and place it in the pot. Cover the pot and return it to the oven.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on, then remove the lid and bake for an additional 15-30 minutes, until the bread is golden brown.
  7. Remove the bread from the pot and let it cool on a wire rack before slicing and serving.

Enjoy !

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