Word of the day: Proof – something that induces certainty or establishes validity; the quality or state of having been tested or tried; to test the effectiveness of yeast, as by combining with warm water so that a bubbling action occurs; to cause dough to rise due to the addition of yeast or other leavening.
As a kid, I remember having a hard time knowing something was true or false. Things weren’t just black or white. Some stuff you got away with. Some stuff got you hurt. Some stuff seemed good but was bad and vice versa. Testing is part of growing up. Testing is part of everyday life, really.
That’s why I bake. I like testing myself to see if I can take what’s written down on paper and turn it into something edible. Every new dish is an experiment, a challenge to prove to myself I can keep learning and playing at the same time. Some stuff turns out great. Some stuff flops. Some stuff smells good but tastes bad and vice versa. That’s life!
I think I lived off of bread and butter for the better part of 3 years when I was a kid. To this day, the simple combination of soft yeasty bread and smooth creamy butter hits the spot only a select number of other foods can (ie. mashed potatoes, Lipton’s Noodle Soup, ripe raspberries, grilled cheese sandwiches, stuffing, to name a few). And so I appease that hungry inner young’un with fresh bread whenever I can. Hence today’s post: Rosemary Olive Bread.
I’m not partial to olives, to be honest. I mean, I don’t hate them but they’re not a “go-to” bite-sized snack for me. BUT in this bread, they work their rich salty magic.
Yeast is proofed in warm water for a few minutes to check if it’s still active then joins the rest of the ingredients, except the bread flour, in a large mixing bowl.
Add the flour cup by cup into the bowl until it forms a ball and then turn it out onto a counter to knead. Knead a lot.
Gently spread a small portion of the dough apart with your hands to test its elasticity and gluten development. This is called the “windowpane” test. You want to be able to see light shining through the dough without it breaking.
Into a greased bowl the dough goes to proof or rise.
Just prior to entering the oven, the loaf is slashed a few times. Harsh, I know, but you’ll thank me for it.
And Voila! Rosemary Olive Bread! Caution: it is delicious. Eat with great haste so you have an excuse to make it again.