It’s fair to say, at this point, that if you haven’t upped your baking and/or bread game, you’ve not had the full Covid-19 lockdown experience!
I read lots of different online recipes and recipe books before I finally settled on putting a few together to make this chilli and olive bread.I’m by no means a pro baker, but I love bread..and chilli.. and olives. So.. Chilli and olive bread here I come!
It’s a great weekend/furlough project; as it does take a few rises. But i promise it’s worth doing them all, even though I’m absolutely the sort of person that usually cheats when I’m following a recipe and then moans when it doesn’t look quite right!
But the end result is a super soft and springy loaf which is scattered with lovely chunks of juicy olive and a subtle heat from the chilli flakes.
It’s a really versatile loaf that you can use for toasting, sandwiches, dipping in to bread and oil, or just slathered in butter (the vegan version in my case).
I’m also a strong believer in using what you have – so for all this particular recipe is chilli and olive bread, the basic recipe is always the same. So, if you don’t have these specific ingredients, try subbing in other things! (apart from the yeast. That part is.. important). You can use plain flour although the texture will be slightly different.. it’ll still be edible! You can add/swap in all sorts of things!
If you need some help with your kneading technique, have a look on YouTube as there’s loads of tutorials.
And if you fancy trying some more lockdown baking, why not try this super simple vegan banana bread recipe.
Easy chilli and olive bread recipe
- 380 grams white bread flour
- 2 tsp dried active yeast
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 310 ml warm water
- 100 grams chopped olives
- 1 tbsp dried chilli flakes Add an extra tbsp if you want it a bit warmer
- Start by mixing all of the dry ingredients (including the dried yeast and olives) into a large mixing bowl
- Add in all of the liquid elements (yes, all in one go!)
- Bring everything together to form a dough.I use a metal spoon to start and then use my hands once it's started to come together
- Tip the mixture out on to a lightly floured surface
- Knead the dough for 10 minutes until it starts to feel "elastic"
- Pop the dough into a very lightly oiled mixing bowl, wrap the top in clingfilm and cover with a tea towel
- Put the dough in a warm place, I usually use the boiler cupboard or a room with direct sun (but don't put the dough in direct sunlight) and leave it to rise until it has doubled in size (usually 45-60 minutes)
- Once the dough has risen to twice the size, tip it out back on to the floured surface and knock it back and knead for another 5 minutes
- Put it back in the bowl and leave to rise again for another 30 minutes (it should double in size again)
- Tip it out again and work the dough into a round. Pop it back into the bowl and cover again while you pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees celsius (last rise, i promise!)
- Turn the dough out on to a baking tray lined with baking paper. Lightly dust the top of the loaf with flour and cut lines into it (there's heaps of designs you can try - i like 3 simple lines across the top)
- Bake at 220 degrees for 15 minutes and then turn the heat down to 180 degrees for another 30 minutes. This should give you a nice golden crust. When the time is up, tap the bottom of the loaf - if it sounds hollow, it's cooked!
- Cool the loaf on a wire rack for a couple of hours. Tempting as it is, try not to cut it until it's cooled!
- Slice and enjoy covered in butter or dipped into oil and balsamic vinegar