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james 05-06-2006 06:34 PM

Cheese, olive and herb breads

I am making a white whole wheat (from King Arthur) boule with parmesan, nicoise olives and rosemary. My question is how do you work the "extras" into the dough?

Do you knead them in, or do you push the dough flat, and fold them in with the boule shaping?

Also, how do you grate the cheese? Little cubes? Grated? What about slivers with a cheese shaver?

Thanks for all your help.

james 05-07-2006 12:25 PM

My experiment
1 Attachment(s)
I shaved the parmesan and put the cheese, olives and herbs on the flat dough before I folded it for final proofing. I put it in a linen line bowl and baked it in a 400F oven (after cooking pizza with the family about three hours before).

The loaf on the right is plain, for morning toast, and the one on the left is stuffed, for dinner tonight. I will take a photo of the crumb later.

Any ideas on stuffing bread would be helpful.

james 05-08-2006 02:56 PM

Not enough stuffing
1 Attachment(s)
The bread was nice. You could taste the rosemary and cheese, and it had a wonderful aroma. But, I didn't use enough stuffingg, and I should have chopped the olives more finely.

Anyone else trying these types of bread? The family enjoyed it, and it was a fun change for your basic Pugliese. It was the center of a picnic-style bread and cheese dinner.

Recipes and techniques on this are very welcome.


CanuckJim 05-08-2006 06:28 PM


Been super busy, so apologies for the delay in replying. Went to a baking trade show all weekend.

First of all, you're right on. I've found that using a mixer to blend ingredients like olives plain doesn't work, so I flatten out the dough and add them, in two or three stages. 1 Flatten, add a third of addtional ingredients, knead in for a minute or two. 2. repeat. 3. repeat. Take your time. Personally, I like to leave olives like Kalamatas whole, for appearance, but brine cured will shred up by themselves, so leave them whole or sliced or slivered, too. It'll look bumpy, but so what. I always grate cheeses; for me, coarse is good, because you get little flavour pockets. Don't know about cubes, never tried, but maybe. I'm talking here about hydrated cheeses; dry cheeses like parmegiano romano should be grated fine for distribution; really wet cheeses like young cheddar or monteray jack, I'd add in thin slabs for colour and interest. I guess it comes down to decisions about presentation of the sliced loaf. Experimentation is a tasty exercise.

Hope that's an answer.


james 05-08-2006 08:48 PM

Thanks for this. Makes sense. I like the multiple fold idea.

What is your strategy for cheese breads. Does the cheese dispurse through through the bread (where you can't see it), or can you see and taste pockets of cheese?

I'm going to buy pitted Kalmatas from Trade Joes next time. Drain and add. Do you have a rough guideline for grams (ounces) that you add to a 500g or 1kg loaf?

Hope your trade show turned up some good finds.

Also, belated Happy Birthday. :)

CanuckJim 05-09-2006 01:19 PM

Cheese and Olives

For two 1 kg loaves, I use 1/2 cup of brine cured olives, sliced or whole, and 1/2 cup of Kalamatas, whole. Don't sweat the grams on this one; close is fine. Far as cheese dispersion goes, depends on what you want. The finer the grind or dice or shred, the more it will disperse. For soft cheeses, I use a cheese knife that gives you thin, thin slices; you'll get striations of cheese, but the rising of the dough will made the pockets irregular. Ditto with coarse grated or diced cheese. Interesting. For something like parmesan, it'll be grated anyhow, and it will disperse by itself. Blue cheeses like Stilton, Saint Agur or, um, can't remember the exact name, the Italian one that's a mix of Gorgonzola and that other soft white cheese, will dissolve into the mix all by themselves. For fresh herbs, have a light touch, especially with rosemary, a tablespoon or so is enough, but not so parsley, but so oregano.

Coming up to planting my herb garden; climate here won't allow anything earlier than the end of May.

The trade show was a gas, but it was what I can only call heavy duty industrial; conveyor belts anyone? But I did make some excellent contacts with suppliers, especially SAF yeasts from France. More on that one later.

Ahem, thanks for the BD greeting, but perhaps at this stage I should be ignoring them. My grandmother responded with "29 and counting" when asked her years. Never understood fully till now.


redbricknick 05-23-2006 01:13 AM

Mum's olive bread.
My mum makes loads of olive bread. She always leaves the pits in, much to the distain of my sister, father and me. But that's the was her family has been doing it for generations in Cyprus she tells me, so that's the way she'll continue to do it. She makes a long sausage of dough with olives and herbs in it (Brine cured, home grown, black... Not sure what variety.. 7 acres of olives on the family farm) then wraps it all up like a vortex and bakes. Delicious. I think the vortex shape adds to the flavor somehow.

CanuckJim 05-23-2006 11:02 AM

Olive Bread
Yo, Red,

Real busy until next week, but your mum's olive bread sounds very interesting, despite the pits. Any chance you could get me an approximate recipe sometime, flour amounts for X loaves, how wet is the dough, olive concentration, what herbs? It would be fine to try it. How about a photograph? If you haven't already done it, maybe give the recipe your mother's first name? If my mother made olive bread with her own recipe, she didn't, I'd call it "Mary G's Olive Bread." (PS: I ALWAYS take out the pits.)


redbricknick 05-23-2006 05:14 PM

The pits.
I'm on it Jim. Should have a recipe from Mum in a couple of days. I've been thinking, and the only reason I can think of for leaving in the pits, is that when the bread comes out of the oven, the seeds are hot, and they in turn heat up the olive flesh, which makes for gooey, hot moist olives. Quite an interesting mouthfeel. A favorite story she told me about growing up in a village in Cyprus, was when it was olive pressing time, everyone would fire up their Fornos (Forni, she calls it) and bake olive bread, then they would grab the hot loaves and run down to the olive presses and douse their bread in virgin oil. After that I assume it was a lot of dancing and plate smashing and whatnot.

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