RUSTIC BLACK OLIVE WITH SWEET RED PEPPER BREAD
Makes 3 rounds---takes about 6 hours to make
To make the Poolish:
1 cup warm water
¼ teaspoon active dry yeast
1½ cups + 2 Tablespoons flour
To make the Bread:
¼ cup warm water
¾ teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
3¼ cups flour
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon salt
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1 cup pitted and chopped black olives
1. In a medium bowl, make the poolish by combining the water and yeast.
2. Let the mixture stand for 3 minutes.
3. With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour.
4. Stir for 1 minute until the batter is smooth and elastic.
5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and then let rise for 1 hour.
6. After 1 hour, get a large bowl and combine the ¼ cup water and ¾ teaspoon yeast. Let stand for 3 minutes.
7. Add in the 1 cup water, flour, salt and the poolish, with a wooden spoon.
8. Stir for 1 minute until the batter is smooth and elastic.
9. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and then let rise for 20 minutes.
10. Meanwhile, drain the can of black olives well and then coarsely chop.
11. Thinly slice and then finely chop the red bell pepper. It’s very important that the pieces of pepper are small because they release steam inside the bread and if they aren’t small they will leave moist open air pockets.
12. After the 20 minute rise, stir the black olives and peppers into the dough.
13. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for another 1 hour.
14. After 1 hour, stir the dough down.
15. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for another 1 ½ hours.
16. Dump the sticky dough out onto 3 separate pieces of parchment paper that have been dusted with flour.
17. Place each sheet of parchment paper onto its own cookie sheet.
18. Generously sprinkle the tops of the loaves with flour.
19. Cover each round with and oiled piece of plastic wrap and let rise for another 1 hour.
20. Preheat the oven to 450°. Place an iron skillet on the bottom rack during the preheat time.
21. 10 minutes before baking place about 4 cubes of ice into the iron skillet. This helps to create moisture in the oven.
22. Place the loaves of bread into the oven.
23. Before closing the door, pour 1 cup of hot water into the iron skillet.
24. Bake at 450° for 15 minutes.
25. Rotate the loaves from one shelf to the other and then reduce the oven temperature to 400°.
26. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes, until the loaves sound hollow when tapped.
27. Immediately transfer the loaves to a rack to cool.