Kalamata Olive and Thyme Sourdough

For this recipe I stole a bit from Julia Child and a bit from the Mark Bitman No-Knead Bread recipe.

Originally published by Mark Bittman in the New York Times
Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
Time: About 1½ hours plus 26 hours rising

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1.5 cups of water
3/4lb of pitted Kalamata Olives, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons of fresh thyme

In a large bowl combine the flour, yeast, salt and water. Mix it all around, till combined. It will be a shaggy and loose in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 24 hours in a warm place (at least 70 degrees, my kitchen usually does a bang up job of being just a bit warmer than that). By letting this sit longer than the 20 hours in the Bittman recipe and upping it to 24 the dough has a chance to develop a wonderful sourdough quality to it that I absolutely adore.

After 24 hours flour your counter and fold your dough over several times. Let it rest for a few minutes (covered). I usually chop up the kalamata olives and fresh thyme at this point.

After the short rest I fold in the olives and fresh thyme, I work it through the dough attempting to get an even distribution. There will be bits and pieces that poke through, and this is ok. It is not going to look so pretty.

Place the dough on a towel (non-terrycloth) and cover with another (non-terrycloth) towl. Leave the dough to rest for 2 hours, shortly before the dough is done with it's final rise I turn the oven onto 450 degrees and place the roasting tin inside.

The orignal recipe calls for using a LeCruiset, but I am poor and therefor have no fancy dancy LeCruiset. It does suggest that you can use a pyrex dish that has a pyrex lid, I've used mine but found a much better alternative- my roasting tin. I know it is thinner than both the pyrex and the LeCruiset but I've found it does a wonderful job, so don't be afraid to use yours for this recipe.

Once the oven is pipping hot and to tempature remove the roasting tin. Drop the dough into the tin, sometimes I attempt to flip it over like the Mark Bittman recipe says to but I've also had times where I just sort of plopped it in there without the flippage. Either way it has turned out just fine.

Put the roasting tin lid back on and return to the oven. Bake at 450 for 30 minutes.
Remove the lid and bake another 15-30 minutes. I had to check mine twice for doneness, I found it was averaging about 22 minutes baking with the lid off, but my oven is notoriously craptastic so keep an eye on your loaf.

I'm also going to show you what a regular loaf looks like when you don't add the olive or the thyme. I enjoy it both ways but have gotten far more compliments on the olive version, in fact one coworker compared it the olive bread from Big Chimney- the now defunct bakery that kicked some serious ass while it was open here in Athens.



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