my mom has been in a book club for as long as i can remember. they
alternate where they meet (always at someone's home for lunch) and what
kinds of books they read. the truth is my mom doesn't read books that
were written after about 1900. unless they're mysteries. or thrillers.
or game of thrones. but she mostly avoids modern fiction. which means
she frequently doesn't even bother reading the books her book club has
chosen. unless they were written before about 1900.
when i graduated
from college and moved to brooklyn i lived with a friend who joined a
book club. she was constantly making delicious snacks i couldn't eat
because they were for her book club. i thought it was overly mature of
her. 22 year olds weren't supposed to be in book clubs! we were supposed
to unabashedly order jack and diet cokes at horrible manhattan bars and take the
subway late at night and go on disastrous dates and sleep in on the
weekend and then spend all the money we hadn't already spent buying work
clothes at H&M on brunch so we could feel fancy. book clubs were
for grown up grown-ups. not brooklyn grown-ups. every day i wake up and i
think THANK GOD I AM NOT 22 ANYMORE. there is not a single thing i
miss about it (except qualifying for my dad's health insurance) and
everything is better now that i am 30. for example, i'm grown up enough
to be in a book club, too.
this summer while we were staying with my parents, my mom's book club
came over to meet rapha and my mom and i made a delicious lunch
together to feed everyone. she made a cold carrot ginger soup (it was
one of the most disgustingly hot and muggy days of the year) and it was
so good i ate it for breakfast for days afterward. (we discovered the
soup when my wonderful mother-in-law brought it to brooklyn to nourish
us right after rapha was born.) in my opinion, soup, even cold soup,
needs bread. (my opinion is correct.)
there i was again, with endless
granite counter space to work on, so i decided to make olive bread, which is one of
the best breads because it has olives in it. i've been meaning to make
olive bread for a long time and i decided to try a very basic
recipe. it turns out all basic olive bread recipes are no-knead recipes,
which seemed interesting. i also noticed a lot of recipes called for
baking in dutch ovens and i'd never done that before and was curious. i
chose this one
and i don't quite remember why since my brain has essentially been mush
since april 23rd. happy mush. sometimes productive mush. but mush.
this recipe is easy, but it takes a lot of planning because you have to wait for the dough to rise overnight, which is like, forever. you also need a heavy 4 1/2-5 1/2 quart pot.
you can use a le creuset, but be sure to unscrew the handle on the lid
before you put it in the oven.
3 cups bread flour
1-2 cups roughly chopped pitted olives*
3/4 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 cups cool water
1 teaspoon salt**
sea salt and olive oil to top
optional: rosemary can be baked in the
bread or put on top and cornmeal can be used for dusting the bottom,
though i used flour and it worked fine.
*depends how olive-y you like
it. i'd go for 2 cups. you can also choose the kind of olives you'd
like to use. i used kalamata but i think a mixture would work well, too.
**the recipe didn't call for salt because it claimed the olives would
make the bread salty enough. i didn't actually find this to be so and
i'm definitely going to add a teaspoon of salt the next time i make it.
1. stir the flour, olives, and yeast and then add the
water and mix with your hands for about 30 seconds. the dough will be
wet and sticky. if you're adding rosemary you should do it during this
2. cover the bowl with a tea towel or cloth napkin and let it rise for
12 to 18 hours. i made the dough in the
late evening and then started working with it again late morning.
after 12 to 18 hours generously flour your counter and scrape the dough
out of the bowl in one piece. use your hands to make it a round shape
but don't knead it.
4. dust your tea towel or cloth napkin with either flour or cornmeal and
place the dough on it seam side down. loosely fold the towel or napkin
up over the top to cover it and put it in a warm spot to rise for
another 1-2 hours. it should almost double during this rise.
5. half an hour before the end of the second rise, preheat your oven to
475 degrees F and place the rack in the lower third of the oven. put
your pot in the center of the rack with the top on. when the rise is
complete, carefully remove your pot from the oven and gently put your
dough in the pot by inverting it from the towel or napkin so the seam
side ends up on top. brush it with olive oil and sprinkle it with sea
salt and/or rosemary. do not burn yourself! cover the pot and bake it for 30 minutes.
6. remove the lid and continue baking until the bread is a deep brown
but not too dark. the recipe said this would take about 15-30 more
minutes but it took much less time for my bread for whatever reason, so keep an eye on it. you'll
know when it's ready because it'll be perfectly gorgeous. gently lift
the bread out of the hot and place it on a rack to cool.
7. dive in! the crust should be crunchy and the dough perfectly chewy.
writing this really makes me want to bake this bread again right now! but instead i'm gonna go for a walk with this guy, because he's even yummier than olive bread...
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