Cypriot Herbed Olive Bread

Cypriot Herbed Olive Bread

I’ve always pre-heated the Dutch Oven (DO) for 45 minutes before transferring the dough into it and when I saw a recipe that didn’t ask for pre-heating the DO, my curiosity got the better of me. Moreover, with ingredients like EVO oil, black olives, fresh coriander, fresh mint and fresh spring onion leaves, this seemed like a delicious, savoury bread with contrasting flavours. And my curiosity was well rewarded – everyone @ home loved this bread and this recipe gets added to my list of ever-expanding favourites. The bread has a thin, crackling crisp crust with a gorgeous sheen and an olive and herb studded crumb that’s soft due to the generous amount of EVO oil. Here you go:

600 gms APF / maida
1 3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp instant yeast
2 cups ice-cold water
3 Tbsp chopped fresh coriander / cilantro leaves (I think this should be doubled)2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves (I think this should be doubled)2 Tbsp chopped fresh spring onion leaves / chives (I think this should stay the same)
1/4 cup EVO oil
1 cup drained, chopped and pitted black olives
3 Tbsp Rawa / semolina / cornmeal for dusting the baking pot

1) Bulk Ferment: In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt and yeast. In another bowl, whisk together the water and the fresh herbs. Stir the water and herb mixture into the flour and mix till the dough has no dry spots. Add the Olive oil and mix well till well blended. Gently stir in the chopped back olives till evenly distributed. Brush the top with oil and cover with a lid (not air tight). Let it rise overnight at cool room temperature for 12 to 18 hours. I let mine rise for 13 hours and this is how it looked when I had a peek the following morning

2) Proof: Using an oiled rubber spatula, loosen the bottom portion of the dough taking care not to deflate the built-up gases. Dab some oil on your palms and gently lift, stretch and fold about a third of the dough from the bottom onto the top. Give the bowl a quarter turn and repeat the process (about 4 times) till you have an unevenly shaped ball that can be slid off the bowl. Brush the inside of a DO with olive oil and dust the inside evenly with the semolina / cornmeal to form a uniform layer. gently invert the bowl into the pot and shake the pot to centre the dough. Don’t worry about the shape of the dough as it will sort itself out while its being baked. Brush the surface of the dough with olive oil and top the DO with its lid. Here’s what it looked like when I did it:
Let it rise in a warm space for about 90 minutes or till the finger dent test shows it’s ready for the oven.

3) Bake: About an hour after the above step, pre-heat the oven to 250°C. When the dough is proofed,dust the surface of the bread with semolina and transfer the DO into the oven. Reduce the temperature to 225°C and bake with the lid on for about 50 to 60 minutes till crisp and lightly browned. Remove from the oven, take the lid off and brush the loaf with olive oil. Transfer back into the oven and continue baking for 10 – 15 minutes till the top is well browned and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out with just a few crumbs on its tip. Cool on wire rack and enjoy with some butter or your favourite cheese.

Here’s what my experiments looked like:
IMG_2467_2 IMG_2468_2
And here’s one final closer look at the crumb. Happy Baking!

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Eva Rosenberg

Eva Rosenberg

Welcome to Eva's Kitchen where I share my adventures in cooking. My creations may not always turn out Pinterest perfect, but I usually end up with a funny picture or an interesting meal. Thanks for stopping by!


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