[caption id="attachment_2651" align="aligncenter" width="680"]Olive Oil Bread Olive Oil Bread using an Oblong Covered Baker[/caption]

This loaf has a wonderful crispy crust and is a simple recipe all about the flavour of delicious olive oil in a delightfully crusty white loaf.  The olive oil gives it a light even texture, which goes wonderfully with olives and cured meats. Be wary of over proving, you are far better slightly under proving than over proving.

I do have some more advice about this loaf… because I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a bread disappear so fast as this one.  I popped it in the bread bin, returned an hour later and it was gone. At first I thought it was a joke and someone had hidden it, but on quizzing my husband and children I found that they had eaten it … all of it.  “You can’t blame me” said my husband with a please don’t be cross with me look, “...and you are going to bake such delicious bread then of course we will eat it.” I’m a pushover so I baked another.  So my advice when baking this loaf is firstly use an Oblong Covered Baker, it makes a far better more structured bread, and use the best quality olive oil you can like our fantastic Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Pelia. If you are not sure why it is worth getting good olive oil, see this article.

[caption id="attachment_2668" align="aligncenter" width="680"]Covered Oblong Baker My oblong baker has seen a lot of use![/caption]

I really like using my Oblong Covered Baker (as you can see from the photo, mine is used several times a week!) and thought that, since I am writing a recipe for two loaves, I'd bake one in it and one on a baking stone and show you the results. The main photo above is of the baked loaf using the Covered Baker and the one just below is baked straight in the oven. Both work, but I am always impressed at the improvement in the crust, colour and structure of the loaf baked in the Covered Baker. Somehow the colour looks more vibrant and inviting.

[caption id="attachment_2652" align="aligncenter" width="680"]Olive Oil Loaf Olive Oil Loaf Baked on a tray[/caption]


Makes: 2 800g loaves.



Sprinkle the yeast into the water and allow to dissolve. In the meantime blend the three flours and the salt. Add the flour to the water and yeast then mix to a sticky dough.  Do not panic about it being sticky.  Cover and leave for about 30 minutes.

Mix in the olive oil and turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth for about 10 – 12 minutes.  Alternatively you can do this in a stand mixer – it takes about half the time.

Cover with a damp cloth and prove for about 1 hour, or until half as big again in size. Turn out onto a floured surface; gently tuck the corners under themselves into a ball shape, keeping the seams down, before rolling gently into shape.  Try and keep the centre thick and taper the ends to get a French style bâtard look.  Don’t worry if it doesn’t look perfect the first time, it takes time.  The important bit it keeping your hands really light, so as no to knock all the air out and keep your hands well dusted so you don’t stick to the dough.

Place your bread either on a peel dusted with semolina, and cover again or on a couche cloth if you have one.  Leave for about 45 minutes until it has almost doubled.  In the meantime pre-heat the oven  to 220°C. When ready, transfer your dough to either to a preheated oblong baker or baking stone. Bake the bread for 20 minutes on the stone or 30 minutes in the oblong baker then turn the temperature down to 200°C and cook for a further 15–20 minutes, with the lid removed, until the crust is golden, and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Turn out on to a cooling rack. This bread will stay fresh for up to 3 days - if you can keep others away.