Spicy Olive Bread


It had sure been a long time since I last made a real yeasted bread. I finally did last weekend. I used the recipe for olive bread from Beth Hensperger's Bread Bible.


Here in Hyde Park we have an excellent produce shop just a few blocks from my house called, fittingly, Hyde Park Produce. This tiny store is always filled with people piling tofu, cheese, fresh pasta, and yogurt into their hand baskets from the small cooler section and topping that with bulk nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables, fair-trade coffee, fresh squeezed orange juice, and fresh herbs. In addition there is a small deli in the back with Boar's Head meats and cheeses, breads and of course, olives. The variety that we get are green olives mixed with hot peppers and celery and cured in a very spicy oil.


For this bread I substituted this spicy olive oil for the plain olive oil the recipe calls for and I used these olives in place of traditional green/black varieties. Just before baking and after proofing, I brushed the last of the spicy oil onto the tops of the breads which resulted in a lovely earthy hue. Amazingly, not much of the spiciness baked off and the bread had a delightful dose of heat to it.

These breads turned out quite well. My roommates seemed to like them quite a bit too, which is always a good sign.