Since I have a good friend who was 2 weeks past her second vaccine and I was a month past my second vaccine, we baked together in my kitchen. It was a celebration! We didn’t wear a mask but I did let my HEPA air filter run.
Originally I was going to do this sourdough, Karen gave us permission – like a Babe would need permission. Since I planned to do this with my friend Mary, I felt it would be easier for her if we did a biga with the yeast. I’ll try the sourdough at a later date.
We started with an Olive Oil tasting. Just three so it was mini but still fun and instructive.
I did a search for the best baking Olive oil and Monini came up, I ordered it from Amazon. From the local small Montegue Foods store, I picked up Lucini on a whim. A few days earlier, we were in Muskegon and we stopped in at the Cheese Lady. Had there been no pandemic, I would have tasted a batch of their many olive oils. The Hojiblanca was recommended as between mild and robust, so I tried that one.
We both found the Monini robust, bitter, and spicy at the end. We liked it. The Lcini would have been our second choice; it had a strong olive oil flavor and was spicy especially at the back of the tongue at the end. The Hojblanca we felt was so mild it wouldn’t have added anything to the bread flavor. We went with the Monini: Mary’s son described the bread tasting robust, a little bitterness and spicy at the end! Wow, I felt that was nice confirmation of our choice.
Karen recommended a hearty fruity flavored extra virgin olive oil. I will return to the Cheese Lady shop and request a more robust olive oil to try next. I love her cheeses!
Olive Oil Wreath
Recipe By: Karen from Karen’s Kitchen Stories adapted the recipe from the book Della Fatoria Bread by Kathleen Weber
Yield: 1 loaf
125 grams AP flour, (3/4 cup plus 2 1/2 tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
83 grams water, 75 to 80 degrees F (1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons)
Olive Oil Wreath
100 grams of the biga, (1/4 cup plus 3 1/2 tablespoons)
285 grams 75 to 80 degree F water, (1 cup plus 3 1/2 tablespoons)
60 grams extra virgin olive oil, (1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons)
10 grams instant yeast, (1 tablespoon)
500 grams all purpose flour, (3 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon)
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
BIGA: Mix the biga ingredients until combined. It will be sticky. Place it into a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let sit for 10 to 18 hours.
Leftover biga can be refrigerated for up to 3 days to make more loaves. Or if you bake with a friend, divide in half and you each have a loaf!
FINAL WREATH DOUGH In the bowl, add the biga, water, olive oil, and yeast and mix until the biga is broken up.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour and salt together. Add it to biga mix until moist, then knead about 5 minutes.
Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and briefly knead by hand. Place it into an oiled bowl our dough rising bucket and cover with oiled plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm spot to proof for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours until really puffy, more than doubled.
Turn the dough back out onto a floured work surface and deflate the dough. Gather up the edges and preshape the dough into a ball. Flip the ball and place it seam side down on the work surface. Push the dough against the work surface in a circular motion to tighten the top. Pull the dough toward you to elongate the dough into an oval and let rest for 10 minutes.
Shape the dough into a 1 1/2 inch by 42 inch long piece. To do this, turn the dough over, seam side up and pull the dough into a rectangle shape. Wrap the longer sides over each other like an envelope. Gently rock the dough with your hands to elongate the dough. Let it rest for about 10 minutes if the dough resists.
I used parchment and a peel anticipating sliding the formed loaf onto a hot baking stone.
Gently place the dough on the pan or parchment and form it into a circle, overlapping the ends. Cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap and set the dough in a warm spot and let rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
In the meantime, heat your oven, with a rack on the lowest level with a steam pan, and a rack in the middle above the steam pan and fitted with a baking stone. OR what I did was mist the oven before and 2 minutes after the loaf went into the oven.
Heat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Using scissors, cut partially through the dough at a 45 degree angle from the top and move the cut dough to one side. Cut almost but not all of the way through. Continue to make more cuts, every 3 inches, and move the cut dough pieces to alternating sides until you go around the wreath. Don’t cut from the sides, cut from the top.
3 inches is arbitrary to some extent, closer or farther apart will give you smaller or larger pieces to pull apart.
Place the pan or parchment (using a peel) with the shaped dough onto the stone and add 1 cup of ice cubes to the steamer pan. Immediately close the oven door and reduce the heat to 400 degrees F.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown.
Transfer the loaf to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
I am super proud to say both Mary and I got beautiful bakes. While the dough rested and rose, we went for a beautiful walk in the woods. I was getting late in the day so she took both her loaves home to bake in her oven. (The second loaf we each bake was the BeeKeeper’s Pain De Mie).
I hope you’re planning to bake with us. This is simply a perfect celebration bread ~ surely you have something to celebrate: It’s Friday – the sun is shining – it’s raining so the spring flowers will bloom – heck celebrate Great Olive Oil Wreath! This is certainly one to bake.
For complete details about this month’s recipe, the BBB and how to become a BBBuddy, please read:
- BBB Kitchen of the month: Karen, Karen’s Kitchen Stories, BBB April 2021
- BBBuddy guidelines
- about the BBBabes
Please take a look at the other BBBabes’ April 2021 olive oil wreaths:
- Aparna, My Diverse Kitchen
- Cathy, Bread Experience: Rustic Mixed Grain Olive Oil Wreath
- Judy, Judy’s Gross Eats: Bread Baking Babes: Olive Oil Wreath
- Katie (BBBBB), Thyme for Cooking
- Karen K, Karen’s Kitchen Stories: Olive Oil Wreath (kitchen of the month)
- Kelly, A Messy Kitchen: Olive Oil Wreath #BBB
- Pat (aka Elle), Feeding My Enthusiasms: Finally Posting…With An Olive Oil Wreath
I hope to bake the BBB May bread with Mary in a week or so…