Luckily they all survived and are well. Seven of my cookbooks that is. New cookbooks. Perfect, glossy pages are now stained, pasted together or torn. I forgot seven books in my terrace, on a glorious sunny day, and then it rained. It poured to be more precise. I have a habit of leaving piles of cookbooks lying around everywhere, side of my bed, my office, chairs, the terrace. I like well used books, especially when it comes to baking. But this was a bit of a stretch. They´re like young soldiers that hadn´t even realized what was going on before they were sent home. Now, they´re veterans if you judge them by the shape they´re in. My heroes. So, I´m going to treat them as such and cook a lot from them. To compensate. I digress.
I wanted to make a pork sandwich, with pickled eggplants and Italian bread. So, in the spirit of everything being homemade I started with the bread. And then made a chocolate cake. How did that happen? Where´s the sandwich? I guess I have homework for tomorrow before the bread disappears. Because it will be eaten fast. A bread with a great crust, crumb and lots of olive oil. You do the math. In mine the result is zero. As in none left.
The dough is wobbly, very focaccia-style. But the result is just what the picture advertises. Without the photoshop. Or the professional photographer. Of course. I suggest a stand mixer, otherwise it´ll be messy. The rest is just waiting and waiting, and waiting. Let´s face it, when it comes to bread the waiting part is a big deal. This has two rises, one additional in-between, and the final one. Then it´s just salty, crackly, olive oil-y goodness. Simple and easy to make.
The sandwich and the chocolate cake are coming up soon. But first our bread.
OLIVE OIL BREAD
from Martha Stewart´s Baking Handbook
Note: I originally wanted to make rolls, which are described in the recipe; but seeing the dough was sticky I decided to go with just one round boule the first time. Good decision. This recipe has been submitted to Yeastspotting
2 cups water, room tº
1 1/2 pounds (about 41/2 cups) bread flour, (680g)
1 oz (28g) fresh yeast (I used 1 Tbs dry yeast)
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbs coarse salt
Cornmeal, for dusting
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the water, flour, yeast and olive oil; stir with a wooden spoon until all ingredients are incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 hour to 1 hour and a half. It took mine 2 hours or a bit more, because my kitchen was pretty cold.
Attach the boel to the mixer fitter with the dough hook. Add the salt, and mix to combine on low speed. Raise the speed to medium, and beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl but is still sticky, about 3 minutes.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead it for 1 minute (I simply beat it another minute in the stand mixer), then transfer to a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled i bulk about 1 hour. Again, it took mine 1 1/2 hours.
Return the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Fold in the following fashion: Fold the bottom third of the dough after each fold to release excess flour, and pressing down to seal. Flip the dough seam side down on the work surface, and cover with oiled plastic wrap; let rest for about 15 minutes.
Dust a large wooden peel or baking sheet with cornmeal; set aside. Transfer dough to a clean work surface. (If the dough is overly sticky, you can lightly flour the surface) To shape the dough, cup it between your rounded palms; roll it in a circular motion, pulling down on the surface of the dough to form a tight, smooth round. (The bottom of the dough should `catch´ or drag a bit on the table as you roll; this will help it take shape).
Transfer the round of dough to the prepared peel or baking sheet, and drape with a piece of oiled plastic wrap. Let the dough rest until slightly puffed, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, place a baking stone, if using, on the floor of the oven.
Preheat the oven to 450ºF / 220ºC
With a lame or razor blade, make four slashes on top of the loaf to form a square. Slide the loaf onto the stone if using a peel, and bake until the crust is dark golden brown, about 35 minutes. Bottom should sound hollow when tapped with fingers.
Place bread on a wire rack to cool before slicing.