I have been somewhat remiss in my Mellow Baking lately but decided to rev up the levain this week and tackle the Olive Levain.
I was all set to make the final dough when I discovered I only had one little jar of straight olives (dry weight 90 grams)
So I shelved the idea of making giant fougasses and split the levain into two lots. I made one batch of dough with the jar of green olives and turned it into rolls. I like using green olives in bread, the colour doesn’t leak like it does with black olives. Whatever you use though, the important thing is to rinse the olives, pat them dry and then ideally leave them to dry a bit more overnight before you finally include them in the dough. Too much wet brine will change the dough if you are not careful.
What to do with the other half of the levain? Brian suggested cheese and onion bread.
I grated 150 grams of strong cheddar, the real kind that comes from Somerset and then remembered, (this is where I turn into Delia with her cheat ingredients) that I had a tub of Rostad Lök from Ikea, those lovely roasted onions that Swedes sprinkle on top of their open sandwiches. So I added 30 grams of that into the bread, reduced the amount of added salt by half and used the same proportions of flour, water and levain as the earlier bread.
And that was that. Two breads, one dough. Lovely! I think I might use these onions in the potato and onion bread that is on the Mellow Bakers list for this month too.
Here is how I made the Cheese and Rostad Lök Levain
- 200 g bread flour
- 160 g strong (high gluten) bread flour
- 50 g wholewheat flour
- 200 g water
- 200 g levain (125% hydration) (make 250g levain like this: 25 g old starter, 100 g new flour, 125 g water that will give you a bit more than you need but you can use it in something else or feed it up for the next loaf)
- 150 g roughly grated cheddar
- 30 g roasted onions from Ikea
- 5 g salt ( you might want less than this as the onions have a lot of flavour and the cheese has salt in it of course)
- Prepare your levain 12 – 16 hours before you want to bake.
- The following day :
- Whisk or stir your flours together until they are well mixed.
- Put your levain in a large bowl.
- Add the water, room temperature or a little warmer but not too hot. Stir well.
- Add the flours and the salt.
- Mix till you have a firm and shaggy dough.
- Leave for about ten minutes.
- Sprinkle the grated cheese and the roasted onions on to the dough and start to mix it in. Once it is all more or less mixed in, take the dough out of the bowl and knead it on a lightly oiled surface for a short while.
- Leave to prove, folding once after an hour if you remember, for about two and a half hours.
- Shape and leave for another hour or two till it has increased in size by about a half.
It was a bit chilly today and the dough wasn’t moving very well, so I put the little top oven on to its lowest setting of 30 C and used it to warm the dough and help it get more active so I could get it baked. After an hour in there it was lively and well risen so…
The bread went into a pre-heated oven at 220 C for 20 minutes with steam (boiling water in tray under oven stone) and then once the top had taken on a nice colour I turned it back down to 200 C for another 25 minutes for the bigger loaf and took the smaller ones out after a total of 28 minutes. I made one 500 g loaf and two 25o g loaves.
They sound small but they are more than enough for a lunch for two people with some summer salad and a slice or two of salami or with a bowl of vegetable soup. The cheese adds a lovely softness to the crumb of the bread and the house sings with the happy smell of toasted onions!
Do you like onions?
Edit: For some reason I posted the crumb shot on Flickr here and some thrilling pictures of poached eggs on toast.