Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Inspiration From Any Source Always Welcome

I spend money on cookbooks and time trawling through them; I fritter away hours online finding new food blogs and bookmarking recipes; I agonise over whether to buy cookery magazines and stand for torturous lengths of time in front of newsstands deliberating, when I know they'll end up coming home with me anyhow. And then I go and use a bread recipe that I find on the back of a packet of impulse-purchased flour. Yes, my idea of an impulse buy is a packet of flour, I know, I'm a bit wild like that. Listen smartarses, if all Celtic Tiger-era impulse purchases were along these lines the national debt levels would be significantly lower, so lets see me as an example and not an object of ridicule, ok?! 

I can't quite remember what I was buying in Fallon and Byrne when I suddenly decided that I needed a bag of wholegrain spelt flour. I can't remember why I figured I needed it, either; I suspect it was a vague and distant memory of squinting at packets of flour in my local supermarket and cursing them for not being the spelt flour that my recipe du jour required. And sure a bag of flour will never go to waste .

I hadn't made bread in a while and I knew that in the middle of that heaving shelf of books and magazines there was at least one recipe requiring spelt flour. Turns out I didn't even have to stretch myself that far, as right there on the back of the packet was a recipe for olive bread. No excuses, I set straight to work before the flour ended up at the back of a press with that recipe facing the wall. Note the big pink clip on the opened bag of flour, ever since I got those clips in Ikea I have been putting them on everything I possibly can. They make me feel like a very organised person - with minimal effort! My favourite way of being organised! 250g of flour goes into a bowl with 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp quick yeast and 1 tsp sugar.

Add 175ml warm water, pull it all together...

...then pour in 3tbsp olive oil

Lots of lovely, springy kneading later and you end up with this beautiful glossy ball of dough. 

After a little spell in a warm place under a tea towel, it doubles up beautifully. 

75g chopped olives go in next; not a moment too soon, to be perfectly honest, as I was making my way through that jar of olives so rapidly that this was in danger of becoming plain old bread with a little bit of olive oil in it and not an actual real live olive in sight. PHEW.

Bit of an old wallop for the dough, and lots of thumbs on this occasion to really get those olives stuck right in. 

So, so satisfying to shape it up and add those oh-so-baker-ly slashes across the top. Before it meets its maker the dough gets another 25 minutes in (warm, covered) solitary confinement.

Into the oven at 200 degrees for 35/40 minutes, and it comes out looking like this; hot and crunchy and extremely inviting, like something you'd really fork out for in a fancy bakery.

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