I saw several recipes in the Internet using cheese with olives in bread, and thought I would combine what I felt would turn out nice, and make this bread. I chose Gruyère cheese as this was firm and easy to cut (and not too expensive), and large pitted green olives. You need to rinse the olives a couple of times in fresh water to reduce the saltiness of the brine in which they were soaked. You can also use Pecorino cheese, but this is more expensive. Below is the line up of ingredients.
The Starter. Made 12 to 16 hours before.
1/2 Cup All Purpose flour (A.P. flour)
1/2 Cup filtered water
1/8 tsp dried yeast
Dough. Made next day.
All of the Starter
2 1/2 Cup All Purpose flour
1/2 Cup plus 1/3 cup filtered water.
1 tsp sea salt (the olives have salt already)
1 tsp dried yeast
1 1/2 cup Gruyère cheese (chopped into small cubes)
1 1/2 cup sliced green olives
Extra All Purpose flour for dusting
1 shaping basket
The night before you bake the bread, mix the starter, and leave this standing at room temperature for 12 to 16 hours. The next morning or afternoon, mix all of the starter and the rest of the A.P. flour, water, yeast and salt into a KitchenAid bowl. Run the mixer for 7 to 10 minutes to knead the dough until the dough is smooth , elastic, and comes off the wall of the bowl. If the dough is too wet, add in, by the teaspoon, more A.P. flour to obtain the right consistency. Add more water, by the teaspoon, if the dough is too dry. When you arrive at the desired consistency, mix in the sliced olives and the cubed cheese. Mix the whole till evenly distributed, and transfer the dough to a floured surface to fold a few times. Let this rest for 15 to 20 minutes, and then fold again and shape to form a ball.
Transfer to dough to a shaping bowl (banneton basket) and let it proof for about 45 minutes or till almost double it’s size. Meantime heat up your oven to 240˚C. with a shallow metal tray on the baking stone for steaming.
When the dough has risen, transfer this to a baking sheet, mist spray and score the surface of the dough, and then place it on the hot baking stone in the heated oven. Add in 1/2 cup of boiling water to the metal tray to produce steam. Spritz water into the oven three times in the first 10 minutes.
Bake the loaf for 25 to 30 minutes at 240˚C. In the last 5 minutes, open the oven door a little allowing moisture to escape so as to dry the crust. When the loaf is nicely brown, transfer the loaf to a metal rack to cool before slicing.
I must say that I was extremely pleased with the end result and could not wait until the next day to sample the bread. As soon as it cooled down, I sliced and tried it. The fragrance from the bread was so delicious. It was so tasty that I was tempted to eat a quarter of the loaf by myself in that one sitting! The juiciness and salty taste of the sliced green olives combined with the flavours and aroma of the cheese in the chewy crumb was delightful. I would definitely bake this bread again!
“I would say to housewives, be not daunted by one failure, nor by twenty. Resolve that you will have good bread, and never cease striving after this result till you have effected it. If persons without brains can accomplish this, why cannot you?”
’Housekeeping In Old Virginia’ Marion Cabell Tyree ed. (1878)