Thursday, October 16, 2008

Olive and Feta Cheese Spiced Rustic Bread

Haven't baked bread for a long long time now though I have been itching to get into the kitchen for a spot of baking. Oh the joys of full time work! It's worse when you know one of your birthday gifts was a book on breads by Sara Lewis and you have been using it as bedtime reading, drooling over the pics instead of sinking your teeth into one of them!

Well, though I had a very long Saturday (AGAIN!) I was determined to bake bread. So, broke out the yeast and set to work. The book had some excellent recipes for flavoured breads and I loved the Spiced Potato and Onion bread as well as the Olive and Tomato Tear and Share Bread. So what does this Gemini do when faced with making a decision - combine the recipes and modify them of course! :)

I didn't have time to boil the potatoes since it was already 7 pm. So I decided to use only the fennel and cumin from that recipe and stick to the olive bread for the most part. Since I didn't have any sun dried tomatoes at home, I decided to use feta cheese instead. I know, I know - bear with me - it gets better, I promise. Then to stir things up some more, I fried some chopped onions with the fennel and cumin seeds and kneaded it into the bread and replaced two thirds of the flour with whole wheat flour.

I was a bit worried after this whether the bread would even rise with the different proportions I had used, but I needn't have worried; the flour didn't know about my penchant for experimentation. It doubled beautifully the first time and when I added the olives and feta cheese and kept it for the second proofing, it rose again.

I baked it for 25 minutes and then covered it with foil to prevent it from browning too much and continued baking for another five minutes. The crust was beautiful and the insides were nice and soft. The flavours were really nice - the fennel and the feta cheese being a great combination!

I an sending this to the 3rd World Bread Day being hosted over at Zorro's in celebration of World Bread Day '08 which falls on October 16th this year.
The original World Bread Day - an event created by UIB International Union of Bakers and Bakers-Confectioners - wants to provide an opportunity to talk about bread and bakers, to find out about their history, their importance as well as their future.

Olive and Feta Cheese Spiced Rustic Bread
(Adapted from The Bread Book by Sara Lewis)

Whole Wheat flour - 3 cups
Refined flour - 1 cup and upto half a cup more if needed
Active dried yeast - 2 1/2 tsp
1.5 cups water
1 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil

Chopped Olives - 1/2 cup
Feta Cheese - 1/2 cup crumbled

1 big onion chopped fine
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
Chilli flakes - 1 tsp
1 tsp oil

1.Warm the water and mix in the sugar and yeast and leave for about 15 minutes till it froths and bubbles.
2.Heat the oil in a pan, add the cumin and fennel seeds and when they crackle, add the onions and chilli flakes and fry on low for 5 minutes till soft and browned.
3. Mix both the flours along with the yeast, onion mixture and salt and knead well for about 10 minutes to a smooth dough. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in a warm place for about an hour till it rises and doubles in size.
4.Punch the dough down and knead again for about 5 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball 8" inch in size, place on an oiled baking tray and pat in the chopped olives and sprinkle crumbled feta on top.
Keep aside for another half an hour to 45 minutes till it rises again.
5. Bake in a pre heated oven at 180C or 350F for about 25 minutes. If the crust is getting too brown in the last 10 minutes, cover with aluminum foil till done.
6.Remove from the tray and cool on a rack till completely cool.


Sangeeth said...

This is a very beautiful recipe! love it!

Priyanka said...

the bread looks savory and moist...

Finla said...

Bread with olive and feta, that has to be yumm.
Looks like it is raining bread today because of the event :-)

anudivya said...

That almost looks like a foccacia... very pretty. I know the anxiousness while you wait for the dough to rise...

Anonymous said...

sure looks rustic, with a great crust Miri! love the flavors you've chosen!:)

Raaga said...

It seems to be the Delhi working girl's problem!!

Rachel said...

Olive and feta in a plump bread...perfect.

Cham said...

Very different combo , love the black olive on the bread!

Sagari said...

read looks so good, love it

Anonymous said...

What a fantastic combination of flavors, and the loaf is very pretty!

Anonymous said...

Looks amazing, Miri. I have a thing for studded breads like this.

zorra said...

Your post makes me laughing and drooling!

Wonderful bread!

Thx for your participation in WBD'08.

Miri said...

Thank you for your warm words!


Shah cooks said...

i used to make olive bread all the time.. but never added feta. looks really yum. check out my blog for an award for u.

Vaishali said...

This looks completely delicious, Miri.

Sia said...


Sia said...

diwali wishes to u dear dear Miri

Mallika said...

Nothing like a bit of creative license! The bread looks delicious.

Sunshinemom said...

Miri, I remember you saying you got this book for your birthday and hadn't baked from it yet! Isn't this one just gorgeous!!! I saw the title and realised immediately that it was from the bread book:)

Vijitha said...

hi ya
This is my first time here...u have a lovely space. Popped in to say my hi.

Bread looks perfect..moist n soft! gr8 job.

TNL said...

That bread looks awesome....I would love to have some sort of a sandwich with that one!

cheers, trupti
the spice who loved me

Vijitha said...

Hi Miri
Thanks for visiting my blog!
Yup, i tried increasing the font, it looked too big for the page.I am jus confused!

Was it very difficult to read the current font ??? :-(