‘Twas the best post-thesis day I could have envisioned. Woke up at 10. Read a cookbook until noon. Had lunch with KP, who came home for a little extra face time. Then was swept off my feet to grocery-hunt with Janelle, and also to a BYOB pedicure salon where we were doted upon, massaged, scrubbed, trimmed, and lacquered to dazzle.
Pane alle Olive
adapted The Village Baker
To make the Compagnon:
About 3/8 cup water
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup bread flours
Mix all ingredients by hand, or with a stand mixer with a flat blade, kneading until the dough is smooth and firm. Let the dough rise in the bowl, covered with a damp towel, for 8 to 10 hours.
Punch the dough down, and transfer to covered bowl. Refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours.
To make the bread:
1/2 tsp. instant yeast
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup compagnon (see above)
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. olive oil
1 cup chopped green olives. (I accidentally used black, all I had on hand)
Mix the yeast, water and all but about 1/2 cup of the flours until blended. Add the compagnon, bit by bit, until it is broken up and mixed in with the flour mixture. Add the salt and two teaspoons water. Knead in the rest of the flour, as needed, until the dough becomes elastic. It will still be wet.
Turn out onto the counter and knead by hand, adding more flour if necessary for the dough to be workable. Let rest for 20 minutes.
Flatten the dough and strew the chopped olives on top. Roll the dough up onto itself, and knead it until the olives are necessary. Add more flour only if necessary to keep the dough from becoming too sticky.
Cover the dough and let it rise for one hour.
Flatten out the dough and fold the edges over into the middle to form a round loaf. Place it on a parchment-covered baking sheet and let it rise for about 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 400, putting a baking stone on a rack on the lower third of the oven.
When oven is hot, brush the loaf with the remaining teaspoon of olive oil, slash it 3 times on the top with a razor blade or sharp knife, and bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown.
The world seems a wonderful place on days such as these, even with the rain pouring from the heavens. Good friends, good food, and a burden fallen from one’s shoulders. I dance on a cloud of bliss. With nails blinking the pizzazz of the 80s– a decade I wish I hadn’t interrupted half way through, rather would have enjoyed all ten years. Mine are the fuchsia and lime.