Last weekend, in between jobs, homeworks, engagement parties and other life events I was able to make some bread. Those who know me, also know by now how much I find making bread, and in particular kneading, a stress relief. No knead bread might be good for those busy days when I don’t want to mess up the kitchen but when I need to relax I need to knead. And I have to admit that in the past few months my bread making skills have dramatically improved.
This time I did not go fancy, however. I wanted a simple bread that went well with soups and creams, which, despite the warmer weather here in the Bay Area, I’m still very much enjoying for dinner. I decided to go for some olive oil small breads. Olive oil bread is among the most common in Italian bakeries but it really bothers me that sometimes bread called olive oil bread does not really taste like olive oil. So I wanted to find out a recipe that gave me some very tasty little breads. These sure were perfect for my weekly soups: a crunchy crust on the outside, and a strong olive oil taste from the inside.
Olive oil bread
Yields 7-8 small rolls*
8 gr (1 ½ tsp) active dry yeast
120 ml (4 fl oz or ½ cup) water
45 ml (3 tbsp) olive oil (good one!)
250 gr (9 oz or 2 cups) all-purpose flour
5 gr (1 tsp) salt
* you can easily double the ingredients if you are more then 2 people in your family
Stir the yeast into the water in a large mixing bowl and let stand until foamy (about 10 minutes).
Stir in the oil and then the flour and salt until well blended.
Transfer the dough onto a flour surface and knead until very elastic (about 10 minutes).
First rise: place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in bulk (about 2 hours). The dough should be moist and velvety.
Shaping and second rise: divide the dough into 6-7 equal pieces each about the size of a lime, and shape them into small balls. Arrange the balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let rise until doubled (about 1 ½ hours). You can make a wreath by placing the balls in a circle shape about 1 ½” apart.
Preheat the oven to 400F degrees. Bake for 20 minutes if you have left them as individual rolls and for 30-35 minutes if you made a wreath.
Let the bread cool on a cooling rack before serving (but I could not resist too long….I love warm bread!)
Have a sweet day!