Feasting on Bread

new recipe–Greek bread with black olives, cilantro and red onions in honor of Saint Nektarios

Mixed 11am

Molded 12:15-1pm–took forever!

Baked 2pm

Gave to Noah Nektarios and his family

Well, it’s not like Noah can really eat Greek olive bread yet. He’s only three weeks or so old. Just a little munchkin. But his patron saint is Saint Nektarios–and we’re fans too, with our John Ronan being born today, on his feast day. So, I made this Greek recipe for the two of them, but really, the parents are the ones gobbling it up.

It must be disaster week for the Woman and the Wheat. I should have known better. Every time I try to bake a recipe out of “Cooks Encyclopedia of Breads” there is some flaw that I encounter. Last week I made a Swedish knackebrod–which has a cool name, and a fun shape, but the cracker was almost inedible. Tasteless. And once before I tried to make some Indian bread from Cooks. Bad. Quite bad…

I knew something was a bit wrong when the recipe for today’s olive bread said that the dough had six cups of flour and then to add an entire chopped red onion, plus a cup and a half of chopped black olives. That’s a lot of moisture to add to a small mix of dough, so I cut way back on the added ingredients and still, it was a complete mess. Here I am, trying to work in the ingredients. I was supposed to just sort of pocket them inside, but, then it would turn out like a Greek hot pocket. That would be weird.

st n yucky kneading

My daughter was in the kitchen while I was kneading. I wish I had audio for you. For the first ten minutes, as I fought to incorporate the olives and onions and all their moistness, there was the most amazing sloshing and squishing noise coming from the dough. She and my son were in hysterics and saying all sorts of horrible things about my bread baking.

Then later, as I tried to place a braided cross over the top, my daughter said the bread was so ugly that I shouldn’t even think about giving it to someone on the street. Harsh critic indeed. But look at it. She has a point.

st n close up braiding

Anyway, chock it up to experience and meanwhile I’ll think about chucking the Cooks Encyclopedia. I’m going to try one more recipe of theirs just for kicks, and if they disappoint me once again, then into the recycle bin it goes…

Last note. Even with it being a very ugly loaf, and having to flow with the punches mid-mix, the bread really was delicious! My daughter even tried a bite… Here it is after the bake:

IMG_9011

Happy feast day, Noah. I hope to meet you soon!

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5 thoughts on “Feasting on Bread

    • Chuckaroo–have you ever made an olive oil dough? This one had–six cups flour, 2 teasp salt, 1 1/2 cups water (which I had to increase) 5 Tablesp olive oil and 1 tablesp yeast. Plus, then the other stuff. The bread has this lovely, almost buttery crust.

      When I was trying to form the dough, and put on the braided cross, it made me think of our bakers at the Bou when they’d make all those shapes–the hearth wreath, the animals, anything… I quickly learned that they were masters that I never truly appreciated. Dough is a tough medium. Very wiggly. Who was that baker. Do you remember?

  1. That bread does NOT look ugly to me. If anyone gave me that I would think it was very special. All the goodies show from inside and make you know that as much thought and effort went into the ingredients list as into the braiding and shaping.

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