Three Olive Mediterranean Bread: Dutch Oven Magic
The aroma of fresh-baked bread brought out our recently increasing population of feathered visitors, perhaps hoping for a few crumbs or strips of discarded crust. But that won’t happen with this bread. Not today. Because this Three Olive Mediterranean Bread is a keeper, crust and all. Nary a crumb will be remaining for these beggars, that much I know. The flavor and texture were every bit as good as I had hoped, and for those of us that have a thing for both artisanal style bread and olives, well, this was a little slice of heaven. But now, it’s time to tell you about this Dutch Oven Three Olive Mediterranean Bread, as I suppose I’ll be making more of it soon, and you may want to as well.
It all started by running across a youtube video about an easy way to make artisan bread at home. Skimming the comments, I noticed that everyone loved their results, agreeing that it indeed was one of the easiest and tastiest bread recipes they had used. Well, I like easy recipes that are tasty, and got to wondering if I could replicate this awesome bread on the grill. So I started gathering the ingredients since we had most of them around the house anyway. For starters, grab yourself 3 cups of bread flour and 12 ounces of room temperature tap water.
Next, you’ll want to have olive oil, instant yeast, thyme, lemon zest, and your favorite olives. I used green olives with pimentos intact, sliced black olives, and pitted kalamata olives. Use what you like, substitute for those you don’t…easy! (The original recipe also included 1 1/2 tsp of salt, but I omitted this due to the salt content in the olives – Your call)
Pour that bread flour in a large bowl, and then in separate steps, add in the yeast, thyme and lemon zest, blending ingredients in between each step.
Now add all of those olives. I like different sizes and textures, so as was suggested in the recipe, I used sliced black olives, halved green olives with pimentos, and then the bigger kalamatas were cut in thirds. Give it all a thorough mixin’.
Pour in the olive oil and water and stir all ingredients until a loaf shaped ball of olive filled dough starts to form.
You’ll end up with a lumpy but shape-holding ball of raw olive dough Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it on the counter or table to allow the yeast to do its thing and get the dough to rise. You’ll need a minimum of twelve hours and up to twenty-four, depending on your schedule. I was able to let it go for about fifteen hours.
After rising, you’ll be treated to a bowl full of goodness, sticking to the sides with all its gluteny wonder. Tipping the bowl and gently rolling it out onto a floured counter will prove easier than expected, with the dough clinging to itself and releasing from the bowl in one big ol’ glob. Yes, that’s the scientific term.
Use just enough extra flour to roll this dough ball up into a more structured form, being gentle so as to not strangle the last bit of air out of the dough. Roll it around, push it forward and pull it back with open hands to get it to form a loaf shape.
For a second proofing, an hour and a half or so, I positioned the bread on parchment paper in a cast iron pan and covered it with sack cloth. Later I’ll use the parchment paper to lift the dough and put it into the dutch oven.
You can’t relax yet, because while that second proofing is happening, you should set up your grill for a two-zone fire to start preheating the dutch oven on the indirect side. Maintain a temperature of 450°.
After the second proofing, pick up the dough and drop into the Dutch Oven, sliding the cover on.
At somewhere around the twelve or thirteen-minute mark, take a quick peek and rotate the Dutch Oven to guarantee even baking.
At the twenty-five minute mark, go in and take the cover off. Rotate the dutch oven once again. Leave the cover off now so we can start getting that beautiful color on the crust. And if you want to add a smoke element, toss a chunk or some chips on now, while the bread is exposed. Go lightly, the bread will accept it more readily than meats. Let it go another ten minutes, and yes, rotate it after the first five.
Lordy, that freshly baked olive bread aroma is enough to curl your toes, but this method made an aesthetically pleasing loaf as well. Look at that crust and the colorful display of olives!
A quick turn shows a beautiful bottom crust as well. Nice browning without burning, but what’s the inside look like you ask?
Olives in every bite of this soft, pillowy bread with a deliciously chewy crust. Perfect for a dip in seasoned olive oil, or, in this case, eaten right off of the cutting board immediately after being sliced. No birds allowed.
Because Life Is Better Wood Fired
Three Olive Mediterranean Loaf
- Charcoal grill
- parchment paper
- large dutch oven
- 3 cups bread flour
- 12 oz cool tap water
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp instant yeast
- 1 tsp fresh thyme
- 1 zest of lemon
- 2 1/4 oz sliced black olives 1 small can
- 3 oz green olives wit pimentos
- 3 1/2 oz kalamata olives, pitted
- 1 1/2 tsp salt, if desired I omitted this due to salt content in olives
- First proofing should last 12 – 24 hours. Second proofing lasts 1 – 2 hours.