Olive Cheese Loaf

 

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This is my favourite, no-fuss, no baby-siting bread. The recipe calls for bread flour which gives a chewy artisanal texture but I have made it with regular flour and it turns out just fine, just a little fluffier. The magical part of this bread is how it’s cooked. Baking it in a dutch oven creates steam inside which is what creates that thick crust just like a commercial bread oven. If you don’t have a dutch oven, try cooking it in a heavy pot but be sure to use the parchment paper so it can’t stick and don’t use a pot with plastic handles or parts 🙂

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups bread flour, plus more for work surface 
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt 
  • 3/4 teaspoon instant or active-dry yeast 
  • 1  3/4 cups 1/2-inch cubes aged cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups pitted 1/4-inch-thick slices green olives (buy good ones!)
  • 1 1/2 cups cool water (55 to 65 degrees), plus more as needed

METHOD

  1. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, salt, and yeast; stir in cheese and olives. Add water and, using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until a wet, sticky dough forms, about 30 seconds, adding additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until dough has doubled in size and surface becomes dotted with bubbles, 12 to 18 hours. The dough very stick and loose!

  2. Generously flour work surface; scrape dough onto work surface. Lightly flour hands, a bowl scraper, or a spatula and lift edges of dough toward the center. Nudge and tuck edges of dough to make round. 

  3. Place a piece of parchment paper on work surface and generously dust with flour. Gently place dough on parchment, seam-side down. If dough is tacky, lightly dust top with flour. Cover dough loosely with parchment paper and two clean kitchen towels. Let dough stand in a warm, draft-free spot until almost doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours. 

  4. Gently poke dough with your finger; dough should hold the impression. If it springs back, let rise 15 minutes more. 

  5. Ten minutes before dough has finished rising, preheat oven to 475 degrees on a conventional oven (450 degrees on a convection oven) with a rack in the lower third. Scrunch up a piece of parchment and unfold and shape into the shape of your pot, set aside. Place a covered 3 1/2-quart cast-iron or enameled cast-iron Dutch oven (with plastic handle removed and screw hole plugged with aluminum foil) in center of rack. 

  6. Using pot holders, carefully remove preheated Dutch oven from oven and uncover. Place your shaped parchment in the pot. Uncover bread and loosen bottom with a large spatula. With the aid of the parchment paper it rose on, invert bread into preheated Dutch oven so that it is seam-side up. Cover Dutch oven and transfer to oven; bake for 25 minutes. 

  7. Uncover and continue baking until bread is dark brown but not burnt, 15 to 30 minutes more. Using the parchment, gently lift bread from Dutch oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

This recipe is from Martha Stewart Baking. If you want to watch her video to understand the process a little more visually, click here. After I made it the first time, I modified it so that you have your dutch lined with the parchment to make it easier to remove and prevent any sticking from melting cheese. It also browns a lot more evenly.

It’s very delicious!

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