When it comes to adding flavor to sourdough bread, sky is the limit! But certain combinations stand out. Olive Rosemary is one such. Jalapeno Cheddar is another favorite of mine. Caramelized onion, roasted garlic, toasted seeds are some of my regular additions too.
I don’t really do anything different to the basic sourdough recipe when I incorporate additions. It is the same process, just that I fold in the additions instead of the third coil fold. I normally don’t use a mixer to make a couple of loaves. But if you do, you can simply add whatever you are incorporating towards the end of your mixing (once the dough is fully developed) It is crucial not to over mix.
I use locally mild high gluten, high extraction flour. Not sure what I am talking about? I have a whole blog post explaining flour. This will give you a good idea of what flour to use and if you only have white bread flour, that is perfectly fine.
I get asked that if I adjust hydration when I add anything to my usual recipe. Well, I don’t. Mostly because I use high gluten flour and a mix of wholegrain. So a little extra moisture from olives or onions isn’t going to affect the dough that much! But If you are using white bread flour (store bought generic brand) or all purpose flour, then it is a good idea to hold some water back from the main recipe. Thus I have reduced water by 10g in this recipe but feel free to adjust it.
Another trick is to remove the moisture from your olives. Once you cut them, just spread them on a few layers of kitchen towel to remove excess moisture.
Fresh or dried Rosemary
I use fresh, always. Because the taste and scent is unmatchable. If you can’t find fresh then you can use dried rosemary.
What Olives to Use
Honestly any olive will work. But mu favorite is Kalamata Olives. Their tender, buttery flesh goes so well with the texture of the bread. I have made this recipe with black olives like Niçoise, green olives like Picholine and Castelvetrano. They all turn out amazing with unique taste profiles. So feel free to experiment.
Let’s jump on to the steps then;
I am assuming that you already have your starter fed (levain)and ready to go.
As usual, I start by dissolving my levain in water
Add the water to the flour and mix until all the flour is hydrated. Then leave this for about an hour
Then add the salt and knead for about a minutes (a few slap and folds would do) Once done, place in a bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for 45 minutes
After the 45 minutes, give the dough a coil fold and place in the same bowl, cover and rest for 45 minutes.
After second 45 minutes, give another coil fold and leave for the final 45 minute rest
Prepare the olives and rosemary.
Slice the olives and chop rosemary
Stretch the dough on a bench top. Scatter the olives and rosemary
Start rolling the dough from one side
Once rolled up coil the dough and place back in the bowl, cover and bulk for another 1-2 hours. If the room temperature is higher than usual, 1 hour is plenty.
Once bulked, pre shape and shape the dough. Place in a proofing basket, cover and refrigerate over night (or 18-24 hours)
Bake the bread in the preheated oven. Check section below for baking instructions.
If you have a convection oven (convection setting/fan forced) you can try to bake without a Dutch Oven. But make sure your oven is capable of heating properly. The best way to find out is, by baking a few loaves, of course.
For this method we need a surface that can reach a very high temperature (to act as a stone base). You can use any of the following; baking steel (I use @bakingsteel), heavy metal sheet, pizza stone (ceramic or cast iron), cast iron lid (of the dutch oven) etc.
Then you need to find a way to create steam. Use a bread pan filled with boiling water (place a tea towel in so the water won’t boil vigorously). Also use a spray bottle to add a mist once the bread is in. Last but not least, you can throw some ice cubes either on the steel or onto another tray placed underneath the bread.
Now depending on where the heat element is, you may need to decide where to place the bread. My oven has a top heating element, so I place my bread on the lower 3rd of the oven. Preheat the oven to 500°F with convection setting on (make sure to use an oven thermometer) for about an hour with the steel in.
Using a Dutch Oven
If open baking is not an option, you can always rely on this method. A Dutch Oven (DO) is very reliable and you can make sure the bread is baked to perfection every time. Cast iron, ceramic, porcelain anything works. A Dutch oven creates a nice hot environment and traps moisture. So you don’t have to worry about providing steam. However you can place a few ice cubes inside the preheated Dutch Oven with the bread to create extra steam. This helps expand the bread and create that thin crispy crust.
Place a rack in the center of the oven. Place the Dutch oven (Lid on) and preheat the oven to 520°F with conventional (maximum) or 500°F with convection settings for about an hour.
Then place the scored bread in the Dutch oven, replace the lid. (Place some ice cubes in if you like and have space in the DO). Bake for 20 minutes. Then remove the lid, bring the temperature down to 450°F and bake for another 20 minutes.