Olive You…

Stephan and I are big fans of olives. We eat them in salads, in pasta dishes, standing in front of the open refrigerator with a fork and the jar… it doesn’t matter. We love em. A couple months ago, I received a fabulous sampler of olives and other goodies from AJ Gourmet. They are truly some of the best olives I’ve ever eaten, and come with a variety of stuffings. We have agreed that the Parma Cheese Stuffed is both of our favorites. The Orange Stuffed would be my close 2nd favorite. I just ordered a 6-pack of olives… they are that good.

I’ve been wanting to blog about the olives, but I wasn’t sure you all wanted to hear how good it is to eat these directly out of the jar. So I was eyeing the last jar of olives, and decided to bake an olive bread with them. I used a combination of Calamata and Habanero Pepper Stuffed olives, and the outcome was fabulous. The habaneros made it nice and spicy without being overpowering. Very good stuff. The only thing I wish I did was make sure the olives were dry before stuffing it into the bread. The extra moisture and olive oil made the bread separate a little in some places, but it was still tasty.

Olive Bread Recipe (adapted from Culinary School B & P Class)

8 oz water, 110 degrees
1/4 oz yeast, dry
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
15 oz bread flour
2 oz olive oil
4 oz onion, diced
6 oz olives, green or black, diced

1. In a mixer bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in 110 degree water and let develop for about 5 minutes. Add 4 oz of the flour, stir well, cover and let the sponge rise for about half an hour.

2. Add the remaining flour, salt and olive oil and knead with the dough hook on medium low speed for about 15 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball, place in an oiled bowl, cover and let the dough rise for 60 minutes.

3. Saute the onion in a little olive oil until translucent. Remove from heat and add the chopped olives. Once cooled, spoon the mixture into a small bowl lined with a paper towel to ensure there isn’t too much oil/moisture.

4. Punch down the dough and place on a floured surface. Press into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Spread the onion/olive mixture over the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch thick border. Roll up the dough into an oblong loaf and press the ends to seal.

5. Place on a parchment covered sheetpan, cover with a clean cloth and let rise for 60 minutes. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 35-45 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool completely before cutting.

Note: All of the dry ingredients in this recipe are measured by weight.