Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Sourdough Wheat Bran Olive Loaf

This bread turned out so beautiful I was tempted to shellac it as a decorative effect. Really, would you look at that colour?

You Will Need:


1 cup fed sourdough starter
2 cups water
2 cups bread flour (strong)

Mix together and let rise about 4-6 hours.


Mix in 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1-2 cups chopped olives of your choice
1/4 cup wheat bran

Slowly mix in enough whole wheat flour until you have a dough that is holding together. It will be sticky-that's OK. Let it sit 30 minutes.

Knead dough as much as you can to incorporate the olives. Generously oil a very large bowl and place dough inside. Cover, and let rise at least 12 hours. It is useful to arrange this for an overnight rise. Say you start the sponge at noon, then put the dough together at dinnertime, you can leave it until morning to complete next day-that's how I work it on my schedule-yours may vary. At any rate, you need to let it rise slowly. If your house is too warm, stick it in the fridge. The dough should double (sometimes even more).

Next Morning:

Carefully invert bowl taking care not to deflate dough too much. Let it rest ten minutes before very carefully shaping (I mean, just fold it into shape-you don't want to overhandle it).
Place it on a baking sheet generously dusted with cornmeal. Dust with flour if you like, then cover lightly with a towel. Let rise until doubled (about 3-4 hours).

About an hour before baking, preheat the oven to 485 degrees f. Place a pan in the bottom of the oven, or use whatever method you like to create steam. Slash loaf, steam oven and load bread into oven. Bake 20 minutes. Carefully open door (steam, remember?) and rotate the bread pan. Remove the pan for the steam. Continue baking another 15-20 minutes or until the bread reaches an internal temperature of around 205 degrees f. Turn off oven, pop the door ajar, and let it cool down another five minutes. Remove to a rack and cool completely several hours before slicing.

This bread stores best in large paper bags for the first couple days, plastic after that. I like the 2 gal. size twist-tie bags rather than zipper bags as they keep out more air.

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