Olive and Rosemary

Olive and Rosemary loaf.

Pretty much a standard loaf, with some rosemary (and thyme) added to the dough before kneading, Just before forming the loaf, I folded in a couple dozen castelveltrano olives. And dropped it into a recently bought basket, (as you can no doubt tell from the tracings in the flour.)

This was baked inside a cast iron pot for the steam, and I have guess it was the damp olives that provided a bit of extra, as this was the best oven spring I’ve ever gotten.

I’ve been playing and experimenting with kneading styles and such and I’m prepared to be definitive that getting the large bubbles inside a loaf has more to do with the manner of kneading than anything particular about the flour or yeast or hydration or whatever. If you knead in a manner that traps air, you get bubbles. If you knead like a potter, you don’t. Certainly the size of those bubbles is aided by the relative amount of water in the recipe, (more steam, more inflation,) but the presence of those bubbles is mechanically created.

The classic French kneading method consists of grabbing the bread, slapping it down on the counter, grabbing the near end and whipping the near end over the far end, catching some air and sealing it shut. Then turn 90° and repeat until the elasticity makes it too hard to stretch. Even the slow “stretch and fold” does the same thing, though with less dramatic flair. The no-knead variant trades uneven mixing for deliberate air trapping, but the end result is pretty much the same.

I think it’s looking at me funny…

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