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July 27, 2008 / Tony

French Bread with Kalamata Olives and Thyme


This is a pretty quick and very satisfying loaf.  The emphasis in the recipe is on the addition of some salty Kalamata olives and some earthy-flavored thyme.  Those two additions are good enough to make an otherwise pretty ordinary loaf extraordinary.  And it’s fabulous with some good olive oil.  Give it a try, it’s a lot of payoff for not too much work.  Enjoy!


French Bread with Kalmata Olives and Thyme, from Epicurious here


1 cup whole milk


2 teaspoons butter


2 teaspoons sugar


1 cup water, room temperature


2 teaspoons active dry yeast (for do-ahead version) or quick-rising dry yeast (for same-day version)


3/4 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives or other brine-cured black olives (about 4 ounces pitted)


2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme


2 teaspoons salt


4 cups (or more) all purpose flour


Olive oil


1 egg white, beaten to blend


Bring milk to simmer in small saucepan.  Add butter and sugar; stir until butter melts.  Pour mixture into large bowl.  Add 1 cup room-temperature water and cool mixture until lukewarm (85°F to 95°F), about 10 minutes.  Add yeast; stir to blend.  Stir in olives, thyme and salt.  Add 1 cup flour.  Using wood spoon, stir until flour is incorporated.  Add 3 cups flour, 1 cup at a time, and stir vigorously with wood spoon until incorporated after each addition.  If necessary, add up to 1/2 cup more flour until dough is smooth and begins to pull away from sides of bowl. Oil large bowl.  Transfer dough to bowl; turn to coat with oil.  Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap.  Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 45 minutes (do not punch down dough).


Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 500°F.


Oil large baking sheet.  Turn dough out onto floured work surface (to avoid deflating, do not punch down dough and do not knead dough).  Divide dough into 2 equal pieces.  Gently form (do not knead) each piece into baguette 15 inches long by 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 inches wide (dough will not be smooth).  Transfer baguettes to prepared baking sheet, spacing evenly apart. Cover loosely with plastic wrap.  Let rise in warm draft-free area until slightly puffed, about 30 minutes for refrigerated dough and 15 minutes for room-temperature dough.  Brush top of each loaf lightly with egg white.


Generously spray inside of oven with water (about 8 sprays); immediately place loaves in oven. Bake 10 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 400°F and continue to bake until loaves are deep golden and sound hollow when tapped, about 35 minutes.  Cool on rack.




One Comment

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  1. Anna / Jul 28 2008 12:18 am

    Thank you. I’m going to try this. It sounds very, very good.

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