Sunday, 27 March 2011

Fresh From the Oven - Olive and Herb bread

This months Fresh From The Oven challenge was set by the lovely Helen from Fuss Free Flavours and was ‘To bake something yeasted, using flour where you know either where it was grown or where it was milled’.

I did try to find a local supplier of flour but unfortunately didn’t manage to get very far, but then luckily I remembered I had bought some lovely flours bought at a food show from Gilchester Organics. They are based in Northumberland, and both grow and mill their own grains and produce fantastic, flavoursome flours! I remember talking in depth with them about dough and they really were both lovely and helpful to deal with, advising on what would suit my baking style best. Though lugging 3 bags of flour home after on the tube was not so good!

I used a mixture of 4 parts Pizza and ciabatta flour and 1 part Farmhouse flour to make a sort of focaccia style bread; made with basil infused extra virgin olive oil and stuffed with green olives and finished with a little grated Parmesan, sprinkling of Maldon sea salt and a generous pinch of dried Italian herbs.

320 ml warm water
½ tsp sugar
2 tbsp basil infused extra virgin olive oil + extra for finishing
8 green olives, roughly chopped
1 tbsp grated Parmesan
500g bread flour – see above for my combination
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
Good pinch salt flakes for finishing
7g fast action yeast

Combine the water, yeast, sugar and oil, set to one side

Sift together the flour and salt, make a well and stir in nearly all of the liquid, leave a little back as you don’t want the dough too wet but I find different flours can be thirstier than others, you can always add more if needed

Turn out onto the counter and knead*, you shouldn’t need any extra flour; the dough should be pliable, springy and soft, without being sticky. Add a little extra liquid if its too dry. You can either knead by hand for 10 minutes or in a mixer for about 5 minutes, though I do prefer to knead by hand, I find it relaxing!

Form the kneaded dough into a ball, cover and allow to rest somewhere warm for 1-2 hours or until at least doubled in size. I find the airing cupboard most useful for this part!

Knock out the air, you can now shape and garnish with the oil, herbs olives and cheese as desired, leave to rest for up to a further hour or until it has puffed up a little further.

Bake for about 18-22 minutes at 170 fan/ 190o, depending on size of bread, check its cooked through by carefully tapping on the bottom of the bread, it should sound hollow.

Allow to cool on a wire rack and serve with salted butter if desired. Is very good for dipping into the sauces left from dinner! Best eaten on the day of making.


  1. Lovely! Thanks for rising to the challenge Anne!

  2. ooh that looks lovely and I've just realised that I've missed FFO again!

  3. at least you had success with yours... mine was very flat... but this looks totally yummy x

  4. I haven't made focaccia in ages and this looks really tempting with the cheese and olives. So interesting to discover new flours and producers through this challenge too.

  5. Oooh yummy yum yum! That does look good!

  6. Your bread looks and sounds totally scrummy - olives and bread together are just so good.

  7. Helen - glad to finally submit something!

    Janice - its been a while since I took part! Was glad to finally remember, and bake in time for the challenge! Am sure you will remember next time :)

    Dom - mine did come out a little flatter than hoped but it was a chilly day, still good though!

    Sally - the olives and cheese add a lovely twist to the bread :)

    Jan - glad to hear! It didn't hang around very long!

    Choclette - they really do work so well together :)

  8. Oh that looks so much nicer than mine. I have been meaning to have a go at focaccia type bread.


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