No-knead olive bread is a versatile bread, but before the recipe, I have a question: when you eat, do you bring the bread to the table?
If you wish, I’ll be waiting for you in the comments.
The bread is on the table.
Until a few decades ago, in Italy, there wasn’t a table without bread.
A table without bread was a table at which the host would never seat his guests. Not even grandparents would sit at that table, who often ate fruit with a slice of bread (at least those who grew up in the countryside).
The bread was present on everyday and holiday tables.
In the shared basket in the middle of the table or, at the more formal tables, well arranged on bread plates placed near the plate, each one his own.
Bread was the protagonist on the table.
In general, we consume less bread and bread substitutes (breadsticks & co).
In towns and cities, bakeries are often mere retailers of products processed and baked elsewhere. Today, few bakers still bake fresh bread every evening.
Instead of bread, many people prefer to eat tasteless crackers that only serve to fill their bellies. To nourish, I don’t know. To make us happy, no way.
In ancient times foods of this kind, which filled without nourishing and which – as the chronicles of the time tell us – made people unhappy, were those of the poor and without alternatives.
I talk about bread and poverty in the history of piadina romagnola, here.
In Italy today, people eat bread more in the south than in the north. More in small towns than in cities.
I confess that I am a different lady even if I live in a city in northern Italy. I buy bread and often make it at home.
Bread makes me think of the Greek word ἀρχή (pronounced archè) that means “origin, beginning” and refers to the primordial substance from which all things originated. More than any other food, bread tells the story of humans.
Flour, water, and yeast (not always). The ingredients are always the same.
But from this common origin, bread changes according to geography and the seasons.
Each region of the world has its bread, which tells us about culinary habits (how we eat and serve it); and geographical characteristics (in Europe bread, is traditionally made mainly with grains).
Bread follows the seasons. I think of late autumn when the bread of the Apennines has the smell of new chestnut flour.
No-knead Mediterranean olive bread.
It is a tasty loaf that I make to accompany salads and dishes, snacks, and aperitifs.
I make olive bread stirring the ingredients in a bowl.
After the resting time, I pour the dough onto a floured cutting board. Before I grease my fingers with olive oil, the dough is very soft and sticky. Then I fold the ends towards the center as if making a package. At this point, I transfer the dough into the baking tin that I have brushed with oil and water (round or rectangular, it’s up to you), let it rest a little longer, and bake it in the oven.
I let the bread cool and cut it into slices. I like to serve it in the bread basket or on a chopping board with cold meats and cheeses, or I prepare croutons with sliced tomatoes seasoned with olive oil and basil, and the olives add (more) flavor. Black or green olives are up to you.
If you like herbs, add a chopped bunch of them.
Buona cucina, Monica
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No-knead Mediterranean olive bread recipe
List of Ingredients
300g flour 0 or type 1
200g reground semolina
dry brewer’s yeast, 7g
acacia honey, 30g
warm water, 350g
olive oil, 20g
pitted black olives, 100g
rosemary, about 30 leaves
fine salt, 8g
Dissolve the brewer’s yeast in a glass with a little warm water and honey, then leave to stand for two to three minutes.
Rinse the olives under running water, dry them and chop them roughly. Set aside.
Wash the capers and rosemary under running water. Remove the woody part of the rosemary and chop both finely. Set aside.
Mix the two flours in a bowl and add all the ingredients (except the salt).
Mix with a spoon for a minute before adding the salt.
When the ingredients are well mixed and the dough is sticky, cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rise for a couple of hours.
Turn the dough out onto a chopping board floured with semolina and, using your hands, fold the four edges towards the center.
Place the dough in a baking tin brushed with water and olive oil for about an hour (place in the oven, turned off and closed).
Remove the tray from the oven, turn the oven and raise the temperature to 200C degrees.
Before baking, make a cross-shaped cut with a sharp knife on the surface of the bread.
Bake for 10 minutes, lower the temperature to 190C degrees and continue baking for about an hour until the bread is golden brown.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.