Hello everyone - This is Caralee, I am thrilled today for the opportunity to guest post for the wonderful author of The Forward Home. I have known Stef for quite some time and am constantly inspired by her! I'm pretty sure that's the general consensus of everyone though!
Bread and I, well we go way back. Some 20 odd years or so..My Mother is an amazing connoisseur of bread (especially 100% whole wheat) which she tried very hard to pass on to me and my brothers and sisters. She would pull out these amazing loaves of deliciousness that we all loved. And then we would try, which many times resulted in what we called "brick bread." Yep, loaves hard as a rock! Baking with wheat can be a little tricky. Breadmaking is definitely an art, but anyone can learn! I think I finally figured it, enough to take some prize winning bread and rolls to the county fair as a teenager!
My recipe today is from the book The Bread Bible beth hensperger's 300 Favorite Recipies it's an excellent book, I highly recommend it! So here we go...
In a small bowl pour in 3/4 a cup of warm water, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon (1 package) of active dry yeast and a pinch of sugar. Let it sit about ten minutes, or until foamy. If your kitchen is cool try sitting it in the microwave or a spot thats warm.
Get a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer) and add the following: 1 1/2 cups warm milk, 1/3 cup olive oil (I used Bertolli), the yeast mixture, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour. Beat hard until creamy. (Use paddle with mixer)
Add the remaining 3-4 cups of flour 1/2 a cup at a time. I know it sounds tedious but since flour can differ by the batch sometimes you use more and sometimes less, so the best way to use the right amount is to add a little at a time. Don't worry if you use more flour then it calls for, keep mixing until you have a ball of dough that you can handle without getting really sticky.
Place on a nice surface (or if you have a large bowl you can even use that, I do that if I don't feel like scrubbing off the counter top!!) and knead for 4 minutes. If it starts to get sticky add a little bit of flour as needed.
If kneading with the machine switch to the dough hook and knead 3-4 minutes.
Dough will be smooth and springy. Then you can place it in a greased bowl, turn to coat, cover with plastic wrap and let raise 1 1/2 hours.
Gently deflate the dough, divide in half (or if you're a perfectionist like me and own a food scale you can weigh until they are perfectly divided ;))
Pat the dough into two ovals and scatter over the top a mixture of one cup spanish style pimiento stuffed green olives, halved, and two cups pitted black olives, drained, patted dry and halved. Use a rolling pin to encase the olives.
Shape the dough into tight rectangular loaves and place in two greased 9 by 5 inch loaf pans. (You can also use clay pans if you have them). Cover with plastic wrap and let raise forty-five minutes. Twenty minutes before baking turn on the oven to 375 F. Bake loaves for 40-45 minutes or until bread is browned to your liking and sounds hollow when tapped.
Cool completely before slicing, if you can!
So far I have used it to serve sloppy joe's, and then my husband cut a slice and dipped it in garlic oil. YUM!