It’s a humid and overcast day and little sunshine to invite me outdoors… so I thought a perfect time to make some bread. I think we will all agree nothing smells more tempting than the aroma of freshly baked bread wafting through the house!
I love to make bread – from a plain cob; to a seeded bloomer and more speciality breads. I find the entire process to be totally relaxing, (that’s providing it turns out according to plan!) from the mixing, kneading, to watching it prove and taking your treasured baked loaf from the oven. Of course, the most rewarding part is eating the fruits of your labour! This is the time… when I practically need to hide the hot loaf, to completely cool, before tearing it open and trying to not devour it!!
However it’s been a while since I devoted some time to making bread… so I was in the mood for some savoury flavoured bread – in the form of bread rolls. I decided to perfect Olive, Orange and Rosemary Crown! Sounds ambitious! I have made this particular recipe a few times before but I think this was my most successful attempt at these delicious rolls… a hint of rosemary, with a salty note from the olives and a fresh zesty orange flavour!
This is a Ruby Tandoh recipe, from her book Crumb – a celebration of the simple joy of baking. Ruby was a Great British Bake-off finalist and now writes for the Guardian – a very talented young lady! I have made a small tweak to these rolls, with the addition of some rosemary, which I think works perfectly with the orange and olives! On the subject of olives, I suggest you use good quality – rubbery, cheap olives won’t do your bread justice! I always find adding a glug of good olive oil to your bread dough, gives a richer flavour and produces a rich tender loaf.
Olive, Orange and Rosemary Crown
350g strong white flour, plus extra to dust
1½ teaspoons instant dried yeast
¾ teaspoon salt
60ml olive oil
175ml cool water
Zest of 1 orange
100g Kalamata olives, chopped and patted dry
a good sprig of Rosemary, finely chopped
Combine the flour and yeast in a large bowl then stir in the salt. Add the oil, water, rosemary and orange zest and mix roughly to combine. Knead the dough. It’ll be wet and uncooperative to start with but the high oil content should stop it from sticking too much. Persevere until it is elastic and no longer sticky — this will take about 10 minutes. Knead in the chopped olives and set the dough in a large, covered bowl to rise at room temperature for 1½–2 hours, or until doubled in size.
On a lightly floured work surface, divide the dough into 5 pieces and roll each into an oval shape — a little like a rugby ball. Arrange the portions in a circle shape on a large baking tray, each piece of dough very close to, but not quite touching, its neighbours (they will swell and join as they rise and bake). Leave to prove for 40–50 minutes at room temperature — it ought to almost double in size. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 220°C/fan 200°C/gas mark 7.
Dust the risen dough with flour, score lightly along the length of each oval of dough and bake for 10 minutes before reducing the temperature to 200°C/ fan 180°C/gas mark 6 and baking for a further 25 minutes. Each oven temperature will vary, so adjust accordingly.
I encourage you to have a go at this recipe as it’s totally delicious and even if it doesn’t turn out how you expected first time – the old saying ‘practice makes perfect’! I personally have found with making bread, it can’t be rushed and the more I’ve experimented with various types of bread, the more I’ve learnt. Sometimes you can just feel when it’s going to be a delicious loaf – with good rise, flavour and texture. It’s all about putting love into the dough!! Never make bread when your not in the mood!
Nothing quite tastes like your own homemade bread and the satisfaction of achieving and the reward of tucking in!! I’m continually learning and love to try out new recipes. So even if you’re new to bread making or a regular – enjoy making these yummy rolls. I would love to hear any thoughts – if you make bread regularly and your personal favourites. So get kneading – I recommend it for stress!!