Kalamata Olive Bread

It's totally not fall here yet. 

I've seen a few other blogs already bringing in the pumpkin goodies and then there's me, laying on the beach in my bikini. I know that other places might already be having fall weather (my mom posted photos of her snowy Calgary neighbourhood on facebook! Yikes!) but over here on the west coast of Canada, it's still lovely and warm. 

Don't get me wrong - I love fall and winter. Love it. I don't like summer that much, to be honest. Sweating is not my thing. Tanning (or should I say burning) is not my thing. Summer is nice and all, but it's just not my thing. I love ice cream, but you can eat ice cream year 'round.

While I love the colder months, I'm not going to be hopping on the cozy train until I'm ready. I'd feel like a big ol' liar if I posted warm, comforting, winter desserts while I'm hanging out in a tank top and shorts and drinking lemonade before I head to the beach (again). I'm going to take my sweet time transitioning to fall and winter because once I do, you better watch out. I mean, I've already blogged about how much I love Christmas. I'm that eager.

So if you're still hanging out in your flip flops, enjoy this bread. Yeah, I know you have to turn on your oven for this, but just imagine some beautiful heirloom tomatoes, crumbled feta, and a drizzle of olive oil on top of this salty olive bread. I think that makes it worth it.

Kalamata Olive Bread
Recipe adapted from Flour Water Salt Yeast

850 g all-purpose flour
150 g whole wheat flour
780 g water, 90 to 95 F/ 32 to 35 C
20 g fine sea salt
0.8 g instant dried yeast
175-200 g kalamata olives, pitted and halved
1/2 lemon, zested

Combine the 850 g of all-purpose flour and 150 g of whole wheat flourwith 780 g of water in a 12 quart (or equivalent) tub. Mix by hand until just incorporated. Cover and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes.

Sprinkle the 20 g of salt, the 0.8 g of yeast, olives, and lemon zest evenly over the top of the dough. Mix by hand, wetting your working hand before mixing so the dough doesn't stick to you. Reach underneath the dough and grab about one-quarter of the dough and gently stretch and fold it over the top to the other side. Repeat three more times with the remaining dough, until the salt and yeast are fully enclosed.

Use the pincer method (described in the 80% Biga Bread) to fully integrate the ingredients. Fold the dough over itself a few times, then repeat, alternately cutting and folding until all the ingredients are fully integrated and the dough has some tension in it. Let the dough rest for a few minutes, then fold for another 30 seconds or until the dough tightens up. The target dough temperature at the end of the mix is 77 to 78 F/ 25 to 26 C. Cover the tub and let the dough rise for 12 to 14 hours.

The dough needs two or three folds, preferably within the first hour and a half after mixing. This is best for maximum gas retention and volume in the finished loaf.

In the morning, moderately flour a work surface about 2 feet wide. Flour your hands and sprinkle a bit of flour around the edges of the tub. Tip the tub slightly and gently work your floured hand beneath the dough to loosen it form the bottom of the tub. Gently ease the dough out onto the work surface without pulling or tearing it.

With floured hands, pick up the dough and ease it back down onto the work surface in a somewhat even shape. Dust the area in the middle where you'll cut the dough with a bit of flour. Cut the dough into 2 equal size pieces.

Dust two proofing baskets (or equivalent) with flour. Shape each piece of dough into a medium-tight ball (described in the 80% Biga Bread). Place each seam side down in its proofing basket. Lightly flour the tops of the loaves, set them side by side, and cover them with a kitchen towel. 

Let them proof for about 1 1/4 hours, assuming your kitchen temperature is around 70 F/21 C. If your kitchen is warmer, the loaves will proof faster. Preheat the oven at this time, 475 F. Place your Dutch Oven on the middle rack with the lid on while the oven is preheating.

Use the finger dent test (in my basic bread dough recipe) to test if the loaves are proofed. If you only have one Dutch oven, put the second loaf in the fridge 20 minutes before you bake the first one.

Be very careful with the extremely hot dutch oven in this next step. Invert the proofed loaf onto a lightly floured countertop, keeping in mind that the top of the loaf will the side that was facing down while it was rising - the seam side. Remove the preheated Dutch oven from the oven, remove the lid, and carefully place the loaf in the Dutch oven seam side up. Cover and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and continue to bake for a further 20 to 30 minutes, until at least medium dark brown around all the loaf. Check after 15 minutes of baking uncovered in case your oven runs hot.

Remove the Dutch oven and carefully tilt it to turn the loaf out. Place on a wire rack to let it cool, about 20 minutes. Put the Dutch oven back in the oven for 5 minutes to preheat it, then bake the second loaf in the same way.