Hi Herbies! Andrea again :] I think I've mentioned before, I'm much more of a baker than a cook. For awhile I stuck with cookies and cupcakes, but when I wanted a challenge..I turned to working with yeast. Yeast was intimidating. The first few times I baked yeast bread that actually rose I would do a little dance in my kitchen.
Baking bread is inexpensive and healthy, and there is nothing better than bread right out of your warm oven. This week, I made a no-oil olive rosemary bread. I don't usually bake without oil, but I've been adapting my recipes and I was so happy with how this turned out, just as soft as "full fat" olive bread!
Let's talk about yeast first. Yeast is a leavener, it's what will make your bread soft and fluffy. It feeds off of sugar and releases gases that makes it grow and rise. There's many kinds of yeast but to keep this simple we'll cover the two types of yeast you'll find in a normal-non-fancy grocery store;
There's dry, activated, yeast packets. These come in three packets (sometimes a jar!) and are usually in the baking aisle. This yeast should be kept in a room temperature environment. This is the type of yeast I use, it requires proofing but is definitely worth the wait. Proofing is the rest period where fermentation happens. If you've ever read a bread recipe, this is the part of the process where you just wait out your starter or your dough so it will rise.
There is also instant or fast acting yeast. This is self explanatory, the rising time is faster and doesn't require any sort of waiting. I've never used this type of yeast because I've always sort of felt like baking is worth the patience. I like the whole process of baking bread, it's fun for me, but you might not share that sentiment. A quick Google search will tell you have to replace dry yeast with instant yeast. (Via Google: To substitute instant or bread machine yeast for active dry yeast, use 25% less instant yeast than active dry.)
Now, let's get to the fun part! The recipe!
Whole Wheat Rosemary Olive Bread
Yields: 2 Loaves
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons fresh yeast (1 packet if you're using them!)
1 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup warm water
3 tablespoons agave
4 teaspoons fresh yeast (2 packets)
1/3 cup apple sauce
4 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 3/4 cups black olives, pitted
4 tablespoons rosemary
For the starter: You want your water to be warm, but not so hot that you can't touch it without screeching. Water that is too hot will 'kill' the yeast and the fermenting process won't begin. I don't get technical enough to use a thermometer, but if you wanted to, the water would be between 95-105 degrees. Combine the water and fresh yeast in a bowl and stir until combined. Slowly add whole wheat flour to the mixture until combined. Cover your bowl with a towel and set aside for thirty minutes. Go do a dance while you wait and your yeast ferments :D
When you come back, your mixture should have just about doubled. Now you can make your dough!
For the dough: You can use a standmixer here if you have one, I don't and it's still just as possible to bake! Combine your water, agave and fresh yeast, stirring until combined. Add the apple sauce, salt, olives, starter, black olives and rosemary. Slowly add your flour to the wet mixture (one cup at a time). You want to be careful to not overmix or play with the dough too much, handling it too much disrupts the gluten. Once your dough has formed, divide into two sections. You can form the dough into two balls. Set your dough on a baking sheet and cover with a warm damp towel. Set your dough aside for thirty minutes, your dough will rise and double!
After this second rising, you have two options. You can form the dough into loaves and let rise again, because you've handled it and touched it,it needs a resting period. Your other option is to transfer the dough right into dough pans (or bake in the shape of a round sphere, your preference) and bake!
Make sure the pan or baking sheet you are baking your bread on is sprayed with oil. Cut the top of your bread with a sharp knife (this is called scoring), spray with water, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes at 400 degrees.
Technically, you should let breads cool for 30 minutes before you cut into them. Or, you can cut it while piping hot and indulge, your choice ;)
We enjoyed our olive bread with Veggie, Bean, & Quinoa Croquettes (pg. 153 in The Happy Herbivore Cookbook) and steamed kale.