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Photo by Stephanie Staton
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup pitted and chopped Kalamata olives (optional)
- 2 to 3 T. chopped fresh rosemary or 1½ T. crumbled dried rosemary
- 1 T. white sugar
- 1¼ cups water at 110 degrees F, divided
- 1 T. active dry yeast
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 T. salt
- 3 T. olive oil
- 2 T. cornmeal
Preheat oven to 100 degrees F or lowest setting. Put large oven-safe bowl in oven to warm. In small bowl, combine garlic, rosemary and olives; set aside.
In a medium stainless-steel or glass bowl, dissolve sugar in 1/2 cup water. Stir in yeast, and let stand 5 to 10 minutes in a warm place.
In separate large bowl, stir together flour and salt. Add yeast mixture, 3/4 cup water and olive oil. Stir with wooden spoon until mixture pulls away from sides of bowl and starts to form a ball. Add more water (1 tablespoon at a time) if mixture seems too dry or more flour (1/4 cup at a time) if it seems too wet. Transfer dough to heated bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 30 to 45 minutes in a warm place.
Transfer raised dough to lightly floured surface. Make indentation in the dough and place garlic mixture inside. Knead dough about 12 to 15 times, just until smooth and holding together. Form dough into round or oblong shape.
Sprinkle cornmeal evenly onto greased baking sheet, and place dough on top. Heat oven to 150 degrees F for 2 minutes, then turn it off. Place loaf in oven and let rise for 30 to 40 minutes or until light and puffy.
Remove loaf, and increase oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake for 30 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on wire rack.