Ok – ignore any previous posts about how to make bread. I really do think I have it now. And if I’m honest, some of the advice I gave in the past is dubious, and should now be superseded by this latest and not to be beaten advice…
Olive and Jalapeno bread
So here’s how to make the perfect loaf: Start with about 500g of a really good flour – I use a mix of stoneground strong malted blend flour and standard organic wholemeal flour. Add a few table spoons of dried yeast, and a equal amount of good sea salt, then a few decent glugs of good olive or rapeseed oil and a couple of glasses of cold water. Mix it together adding water or flour as required to end up with a dough that is slightly sticky to the touch, but can still be kneaded for at least 10 minutes (I use use a mixer with a bread hook, but I expect it’s even better done by hand)
Now leave the bread in a large bowl covered in cling film (I realise now that you don’t need damp teatowels) in the oven at less than 50c for as long as you can bear – at least an hour and a half but two hours would be even better. This is your first proving – it should at least double in size.
Now roughly chop green olives and jalapenos and mix them well into the bread. Don’t worry that you’re knocking all the air out of the bread – it will come back. You can also add a good couple of handfuls of grated gruyere at this point if you like (in fact, do – it really works well – especially if you’re going to toast the bread).
Now set the oven to its hottest and form the bread into a loaf – I like a round boule, but really you can do whatever you like – just make sure that you put a few scores in the top, sprinkle over some flour, place it on top of the warming oven and cover again in cling film.
When the oven has reached its hottest temperature (usually after about 30 mins) your bread will have completed its second proving and will be ready to bake. Place it in the oven along with a glass full of boiling water, thrown into the oven shutting the door immediately (try to hold on to the glass).
After about 10 minutes, chuck in another glass of boiling water, and another after 20 mins. If you made a single large loaf, it will be ready after 35 mins. If you made smaller loaves then they will be ready faster.
That’s it. The best yet.
And no blabbing on about other things. A simple post about food. Who would have thought?