Sunday 16 November 2008

Olive and Parmesan Bread

Pin It Now!

I had my first dinner party since moving into my flat last night. Just a lovely, informal night with six friends, good food, some G&Ts and plenty of wine. As my friend J. wasn't too sure what time he'd arrive, due to be on putting-the-kids-to-bed-duty, I wanted to cook something that I could pretty much make ahead and then finish when everyone got here. I decided on making a lasgane and bake some bread to go with it, as I could get everything done in the morning and just had to quickly make a bechamel sauce to pour over the top, sprinkle it with cheese and stick it in the oven. Pudding, in the form of a wonderful Eaton Mess, was provided by my friend E. and B. brought a great salad along.

I dare say that everyone enjoyed themselves and the food and it wasn't until about 2.45am that I was facing mountains of dishes. When I woke up this morning I'm glad I did clean up before I went to bed, even though at the time I would have given anything for a dish washer!

The bread was supposed to be a ring, with olive and parmesan swirls running through it, but I must have kneeded so much air into it that it just kept on rising and the hole that I had left in the middle, was soon taken over by the ever expaning dough. It was lovely and fluffy as a result though. I bet it also would work great with crisp bacon and onions, fried mushrooms and herbs, or peppadew peppers.


Olive and Parmesan Bread

5 1/2 cups flour
2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon dry yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt 5 1/2-6 cups flour

1 cup kalmata olives, pitted and chopped
3/4 cup parmegiano regiano, grated
milk, for brushing

Measure the flour into a large bowl and make a deep well in the middle.

Carefilly pour the warm water into the well, and add the sugar and dried yeast to the water. Give it a stir, without collapsing the well. (A bit of the flour will 'fall in', but that is fine.)

Cover and put in a warm place. Allow the yeast to proof, it'll be ready when the surface has gone all frothy, it should take about 10-15 minutes.

Add the olive oil and salt and using your hands mix everything together until you get a dough.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and kneed for about 5-8 minutes. If the dough is too sticky to handle properly and keeps sticking to the counter, you might want to add a little more flour, one heaped tbsp at a time.

Once finished with kneeding place the dough into an oiled bowl and make sure it gets coated with a little oil all round.

Cover and leave it in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size. This usually takes somewhere between 45-60 minutes.

Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface again. Roll it out into a large rectangle about 3/4 inch thick.

Sprinkle with the chopped olives and 1/2 cup of parmesan, or whatever your filling of choice is.

Roll up from the long side of the rectangle, swiss roll style, and place onto a baking tray. You can bring the ends together and form a ring, or leave the bread in a log shape.

Cover with a clean tea towel and put in a warm place again for a final rise, approx 30 minutes.

In the meantime, pre-heat your oven to 180C/Gas 4.

Brush your risen loaf with a little milk and sprinkle with the rest of the parmesan before placing it in the oven for about 40-45 minutes. The loaf will be done when the top is golden and it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.


I baked this bread not just because my friends were coming round, but also because the lovely Rosie from Rosie Bakes a 'Peace' of Cake, tagged me for a cause that is well worthy of support.

Breadline Africa is a registered charity in South Africa that is seeking to put an end to poverty in South Africa and further afield in Africa. Their aim is to break the cycle of poverty and help communities to achieve long term self-sustainability. Breadline Africa was founded in 1993 by social workers and communities in South Africa with minded colleagues in Europe, (who were well placed to source out donations). They are geared to help fund small ground level projects in Africa which are most likely to succeed with financial help.

On Blog Action Day Breadline Africa launched their Worldwide Blogger Bake-Off campaign. The aim is to raise $1 million in funds for a project to convert shipping containers into locations for food production and distribution in Africa. It is hoped that these sustainable community kitchens will not only provide food such as bread and soup to those in need, but also opportunities for skills development within poor communities.


Bloggers can download the Blogger Bake off widget and tag five other bloggers to do the same.

I hope my five chosen people, don't mind being tagged for this, I know you like a challenge:

Marie from A Year at Oak Cottage
Jan from What do I want to Cook Today
Nic from Cherrapeno
Sam from Antics of a Cycling Cook
Fiona from A Cottage Smallholder



Maggie said...

That is a really beautiful loaf of bread. Nothing beats homemade and yours looks extremely delicious.

Jan said...

Oooh a lovely loaf you've made there Sylvie!
Glad you all had a good time last night.
Thank you for choosing me as one of the people for 'Bake Bread Feed Africa'.
Except I can't bake bread.....apart from in the bread machine!

Beth (jamandcream) said...

You can't fail with lasagne!! The bread looks great.

Heather said...

ohhh. anything with olives and parmesan has a special place in my heart! how delicious!

Marie Rayner said...

Your bread looks great Sylvie! and thanks for the tag! I'll try to honor it, although I am crap at making bread!

Just Cook It said...

Looks and sounds delicious

Sam said...

Great looking bread Sylvie, you can still make out the ring shape, just!

Thanks for the tag, I'll see what I can come up with.

Finla said...

Wow that loaf of bread looks so yumm.

Raquel said...

Looks fab Sylvie! I love kalamata olives in anything! Much love, Raquel XO

Queen B. said...

darling blog. I love your title...

Sylvie said...

Margaret, I agree, nothing beats homemade, except maybe a French stick from a proper boulangerie.

Jan, I know you can do it!

Beth, thank you.

Heather, I have to say it is a pretty good combination.

Marie, I have seen the bread you make and therefore I know you are more than capable. ;o)

Alex, thank you for the great comment.

Sam, I'm looking forward to whatever you'll make.

Happy cook, thanks a lot.

Raquel, Kalmata are just the best, aren't they!?

Queen b., thanks for stopping by and leaving such a nice comment.

Rosie said...

Oh Sylvie this is excellent bread and may I thank you so much for taking part in such a worthy cause! It sounds like you had a wonderful evening with friends :)

Rosie x

Gloria Baker said...

Dear Sylvie I like so your bread!!! Look amazing!!! xGloria

Deborah said...

What a lovely bread! And it sounds like the dinner party was a complete success!

Anonymous said...

Hi Sylvie, Thanks for taking up the challenge and blogging about the Breadline Africa Blogger Bake Off challenge. The support we've had so far is really awesome.
Please don't forget to pop by the website to upload your recipe. We are having a competition to see who can bake the Most Unusual, Most Nutritious or Most Traditional bread. The most votes in each category wins Amazon vouchers.
Thanks again for taking our cause on and happy baking!
Tamsin - Breadline Africa

Anonymous said...

Just stumbled upon your blog. You have so many tasty-looking recipes! I love baking fresh bread, and this olive and parmesan bread looks amazing!

I would love to write about your recipe on our blog! If you are interested send me an email:

Haley, KI Blogger

Nic said...

That looks like a really tasty loaf Sylvie!
Thanks for asking me, I'll do my best to fit this one in.

fleur said...

Ive got another award to add to your collection

Abitofafoodie said...

What a superb-looking bread. I'm not too good when it comes to bread and must practise more. I'd love the combination of olives and Parmesan here.

P.S. I've an award for you on my blog...

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Not only do you have the whole house perfumed with the smell of baking bread but you are also baking for a worthy cause. Excellent bread Sylvie:D

Maria said...

The bread looks fantastic!!

Katie said...

That looks great! I'm glad your first dinner party at your new place was a success :)

test it comm said...

Nice looking bread! I really like the kalmata olives in it!