Ingredients: 600 – 650 g wheat flour, 1 pkg. sourdough extract (15 g), 1 pkg. dry yeast (9 g), 2-3 tbs tomato paste, 350 ml water, 2-3 tbs oil, dry tomatoes in oil (100 g drained weight), black olives (150 g drained weight, with stones), 1 tsp salt
Middle of July, when the summer reaches its peak, and our sprightliness reduces to slow motion, thoughts wander to procrastinating under an umbrella in the sun, somewhere on the shore of some infinite, serene blue water. Food must come in tiny, concentrated bits of light, aromatic, and colorful nutrition charges. I came up with this bread, which is a meal in itself, and you might need nothing else, or very little to add to it, to feel happy and fed.
To begin with
Mix with a whisker the dry yeast, the sourdough extract, and 100g flour with 350 ml of lukewarm water in a bowl that should be at least double as big as the mixture together. Cover with foil, pinch two or three tiny holes in it and let it rest six to eight hours.
How to make
Add 450 g flour, the concentrated tomato paste, and knead a nice, smooth dough. Add the olives – without stones, as well as the dry tomatoes, all of them shredded in tiny, irregular bits. Of course, you can use as many olives and tomatoes as you like, this is your choice.
Add two or three tablespoons of olive oil – I am using the pickle oil from the tomatoes glass, because it has a lot of herbs in it, and it would be a pity not to use all that tomato aroma that it was infused with.
The dough will be now a bit oily and moisty. Powder another 50 g of the flour over it, knead carefully again. If your fingers will be still covered in a thick layer of dough, it means it is still too moist, and you’ll have to add the other 50 g of flour too. Knead again, cover, then let it rest for ten to twelve hours. If you’ve done everything right, the dough will rise quite quickly in the first two hours and will threaten to spill over the edge of the bowl. At this moment, refrigerate it.
Take it out from the fridge two hours before baking. When one hour has passed, knead again, and form a nice, round ball. Place it on the baking tray, and let it rest for another hour. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Put a tray or a pot with water in the lower part of your oven. Bake the bread at 175°- 180°C for 50 minutes, then remove the pot with water. Leave the door of the oven open: just a 2-3 cm gap. Bake for the last 5-10 minutes at 200° – 220°C. It depends on your oven, so don’t go away, keep observing what is going on, or the crust might get burned.
When it is ready, place on a grill to cool down. If you want a perfect crispness, listen to Raymond Blanc and wait another hour before you cut the first slice.