It’s the last week of school for Brian and I. 6 months ago, I thought this day would never come, but suddenly it’s the middle of June. Anyway, after the students left at 11 on Monday, the faculty had a potluck lunch. I like going to potlucks, but I never know what to bring. There are just too many options and I’m really bad at being decisive. Brian suggested that I made a couple loaves of bread and bring those. So I did.
I’m in love with the No-Time Bread recipe featured on The Kitchn a while back. I’ve made it several times, it’s always turned out great and everyone I’ve made it for has been impressed. If you need bread for something, or you want to impress your friends (parents, future significant other, boss, etc) you should make this bread, even if you’ve never made bread before (I never had). This time around, I decided (at Brian’s encouragement) to mix things up a bit by adding whole wheat flour, sun-dried tomatoes and Italian seasoning. I was really pleased with the result. Having made the original recipe several times, it was much easier for me to change it. Usually I don’t experiment with recipes too much, but this was definitely worthwhile…more experiments to come?
Wheat Sun-dried Tomato No-Time Bread
Adapted from The Kitchn
Two packets active dry yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 3/4 cups water
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
- Put the yeast, sugar and water in the bowl of your stand mixer.
- While the yeast does its thing, heat the oven to 450°F. Put a Dutch oven (or an alternative, listed on the Kitchn) in the oven to warm. Get out the rest of your ingredients. Mix together the whole wheat and all purpose flour.
- Once the yeast has bubbled up, add 3 cups of the flour, plus the salt and vinegar and beat for several minutes with the paddle attachment.
- Switch to the dough hook attachment, add the last 1/2 cup of flour and beat for 4 minutes. After the 4 minutes are up, add the sun-dried tomatoes and Italian seasoning, and beat the dough for another 3. The dough for this bread is wet, it should clear the sides of the bowl but still stick to the bottom. This recipe seemed much less goopy than the regular recipe, but either way the end result was awesome.
- Oil a microwave safe bowl with vegetable oil. Add the dough to the bowl and roll it lightly in the oil. Cover the bowl with a wet towel. Cover the whole thing with a dry towel and put in the microwave. Microwave on HIGH for 25 seconds.
- Let rest in the microwave for about five minutes.
- Microwave on HIGH for another 25 seconds, then remove.
- Let rest and rise for another 15 minutes.
- Shape into a ball and plop into the preheated pan. Quickly slash the top with a knife. Cover and bake for about 30 minutes, then remove the cover and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the internal temperature hits 210.
For the second loaf, Brian wanted me to make “the really good olive bread”. I had to remind him that I’ve never made olive bread. The bread he recalls was served to us by the mother of one of our friends during our vacation in February. Of course, the bread was so good, I copied the recipe out of the cookbook (warning to friends: if you have me over, I will steal your recipes, apparently). I can’t remember what the title of the cookbook was, it was about Greek cooking, but here’s the recipe nevertheless.
Makes 2 medium loaves
2 lb strong white bread flour (I just used All Purpose Flour…sorry, bread making purists, but it tastes good to me!)
1 envelope dried yeast
3 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
3 tBS olive oil, plus more for brushing
2.5 cups warm water
8 oz Greek olives, pitted and chopped
1. Put the yeast, flour, 2 tsps of sesame seeds, salt and oregano in a large bowl and mix. Add 3 TBS of olive oil and, using a wooden spoon, gradually add the water to form a firm dough
2. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes, until smooth. Put the dough in a clean bowl, cover with a clean, damp dish towel and let rise for about 1 hour, until doubled in size
3. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly to knock out the air then knead in the olives. Divide the dough into 2 pieces and shape each piece into a smooth round. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and set in a warm place for about 30 minutes until doubled in size.
4. Using a sharp knife, make slashes across each loaf then lightly brush with oil and sprinkle remaining sesame seeds on top. Bake in a preheated oven 425 degrees for 10 minutes then reduce the temperature to 375 and bake for a further 25 minutes or until rise and brown and the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cool on a wire rack.
I used my Kitchenaid to knead the dough in Step 2, and when all was said and done, wished I’d used it to add the olives in Step 3. The bread turned out fine, but the olives could’ve been more evenly distributed. Also, you may want to pat your olives dry with a paper towel if they’re as wet as mine were.
The olive bread was the first “real” bread I’ve made (it actually needed time to rise!) and it came out great. Hopefully this summer will allow for the opportunity to try out more bread recipes!