The May Daring Kitchen challenge was brought to us by Tandy of Lavender and Lime, who provided us with a beautiful bread recipe and a fun twisting technique to shape it. I used to bake bread almost weekly, and this was a nice reminder of how much I like doing it. Homemade bread really is magical, especially when it looks this pretty.
I made this bread after a rather catastrophic fail at another recipe (watch for that post in the next few weeks), so I was really pleased with how easy it was and how well it turned out, despite my forgetting to add the sugar to the dough at the start of the recipe and having to knead it in at the end. The dough is wonderfully soft and smooth and easy to handle, and the shaping technique is pretty fun too: all the filling stays on the inside, except for a few spots where you get a hint of what’s inside this beautiful bronzed bread wreath. I riffed off of Tandy’s original recipe with sundried tomatoes and rosemary, replacing the tomatoes with olives and adding a sprinkle of grated parmesan. It could probably have used more parmesan (things can almost always use more cheese, in my opinion) but otherwise, this bread was great: soft and delicious inside, crusty outside, punctuated with salty olives and savoury rosemary. And it smelled INSANE baking in the oven. We ate it with soup, but it would also be great as the bread component of a big family meal, or served alongside an antipasto platter with meats, sliced cheeses, olives and marinated grilled veggies.
Olive, Rosemary & Parmesan Twist Bread
In the bowl of an electric mixer, stir together:
680 g all purpose flour
15 g instant yeast
50 g granulated sugar
In a liquid measuring cup, mix together:
375 ml room temperature water
1 egg yolk (save the egg white for the egg wash later in the recipe)
60 ml olive oil
Pour the liquid ingredients into the flour and with the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until the dough forms into a shaggy ball.
Turn off the mixer and let the dough rest for about 20 minutes – this is called “autolyse” and it helps allows the liquid to fully hydrate the flour and activate the gluten.
After 20 minutes of rest, add 22 g kosher salt to the dough and knead on medium speed for 5-7 minutes, until the salt is fully incorporated and the dough is soft, smooth, and elastic and it cleans the bottom and sides of the bowl.
Gather up the dough into a ball and take it out of the bowl. Grease the bowl with a tiny bit of olive oil, then put the dough back in and turn it over a few times to coat it with the oil.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it somewhere warm to rise for 1 hour, until doubled in size. Punch down the dough gently to deflate it, then cover again and let rise for another hour.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled surface and shape it into a rectangle, about 10″ by 16″. Top the dough with:
50 g grated parmesan
150 g mixed olives, pitted and roughly chopped
5 g chopped fresh rosemary
Roll up the dough tightly from one long end and pinch the seam closed to seal it. With a large sharp knife, cut down the middle of the roll but not all the way through to the bottom, allowing the two halves to fall open slightly.
Grasp the dough from one end and begin twisting so that the filling stays inside and the dough resembles a rope.
Bring the two ends together, wrapping one inside the other, to form a circle, and transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes.
While the dough rises, preheat the oven to 375˚F (350˚F convection) and make an egg wash of the reserved egg white whisked with 1 tsp water and a pinch of salt.
After 30 minutes, brush the dough with the egg wash.
Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated 375˚F (350˚F convection) oven, then reduce the heat to 350˚F (325˚F convection) and bake for another 45 minutes, until deeply bronzed on the outside.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a rack before slicing (if you can resist cutting into it while it’s still warm!).