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Kalamata Olive Bread
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Categories: Bread, Greek, Low fat, Mediterranean
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Total Time: 1 hrs. 5 min.
Baking Time: 30 min.
Preparation Time: 35 min.
Rising Time: 6 hrs.

This is a long, plan ahead, lots of things can go wrong type of recipe. Oh, but when they go right. AMAZING BREAD! Those of you who have eaten the Kalamata Olive Bread from Bread & Cie in San Diego know what I mean. This recipe was printed in the San Diego Union Tribune from the bakery. On our first try, lots of things went wrong. (1) The grapes were too well-preserved (the one time they needn't be). (2) The house was freezing so the starter was very uncooperative. (3) We accidentally bought olives with their pits in tact, wasting about 20 minutes pitting them (and getting really dirty fingernails) We tried to salvage the nonrising dough by incorporating a water-yeast mixture and enough extra flour. It still made a decent bread, but not the legendary stuff. Be sure to buy excellent quality olives (it'll make or break the bread).

6 1/4 cups white bread flour
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups starter
1 3/8 cups water (70 degrees)
2 cups drained - pitted Kalamata
5 cups white bread flour (divided use)
4 cups water (divided use)
Overripe grapes

For The Bread

Combine flour and salt and pour on a wooden board, making a well in the middle of dry mixture. Add starter and water into well. With hands, slowly incorporate liquid into dry mixture. After approximately one minute, add olives. Continue hand mixing until dough becomes smoother and elastic and olives are incorporated throughout. Now, knead dough by picking up one corner of the dough at a time and folding corner into center. Push center into table with heel of hand.

Continue kneading for 10 to 15 minutes, sprinkling the board with flour to avoid sticking. Roll into a ball and set aside in a covered bowl for 2 hours at 80 degrees. Then, punch down dough to release trapped gases. Let rise again for 2 hours at 80 degrees.

Shape dough into two loaves as desired and then let rise again until nearly double in volume (about 2 more hours). Bake in a 400-degree preheated oven on a pizza stone or in a clay baking cloche until bread is done and crusty on the outside (about 30 minutes depending on size). Allow time for bread to cool completely.

For Starter

Whisk 1-1/4 cups bread flour and 1 cup water until the mixture is as smooth as pancake batter. In a nonmetallic container covered with cheesecloth near an open bowl of overripe red-wine grapes, keep starter at 70 to 80 degrees (room temperature) for three to five days, stirring twice a day until pungently fragrant.

To feed the starter, add 1-1/4 cups flour and 1 cup room-temperature water to starter. Whisk until smooth. It need not be lump-free. Place in a covered container at room temperature for 6 to 12 hours, until actively fermenting (as shown by active bubbles on the surface).For second feeding of starter, in a 4-quart mixing bowl, add to starter 2 cups room-temperature water and 2-1/2 cups white bread flour. Whisk. Again, mixture need not be lump-free. Cover bowl and ferment at room temperature for 12 hours, until actively fermenting. Reserve extra starter in refrigerator for future loaves.

Calories: 1546 Calories From Fat: 4%
Protein: 51g Carbohydrate: 311g
Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 9mg

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