Thursday, 31 May 2012

Olive Stromboli

Kalamata Olives from our trees

I love a recipe that looks into the future. A future when you have forgotten to pick up some fresh bread on the way home from work. A future when friends drop in and stay for dinner and you magically produce a warm, home made, olive studded loaf from your kitchen. A future when you just haven't had time to make a snack of the day. A future when you're tired and don't want to go out and find good, fresh bread anywhere but in your own freezer. This recipe is one of those. You put a little work in today and you get the joy of eating this light, stuffed, pizza-like bread now. Plus, on another less baking-friendly day, when you're not feeling so industrious, or you're just plain disorganised or out of time, you get to visit your freezer and find this comforting loaf waiting to be enjoyed all over again. That's bang for your buck in my world.

Olive Stromboli
from Alice Hart's Vegetarian
Makes 2 large loaves

1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon yeast
750ml lukewarm water
800g bakers flour + extra for dusting
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons polenta for dusting
Olive oil
sea salt flakes

The Fillings:
Large handful basil leaves
20 black olives, pitted
150g red capsicum
1 ball buffalo mozzarella, torn into small pieces

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the sugar and yeast with the lukewarm water. Leave for 15 minutes to begin the fermentation process. Add half the flour and mix well on low speed. Leave for another 15 minutes in a warm place.

Add the salt and the rest of the flour and mix until you have a rough dough. Mix on low speed for about 6 minutes. The dough will be very sticky but don’t be tempted to add more flour as the stickiness will result in a light and beautiful dough once cooked. Place the dough into an oiled bowl and cover with clingwrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place for an hour or until it has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C and dust a lightly oiled baking sheet with the polenta. Divide the dough in half and stretch the first piece onto a floured surface and roll out into a rectangle about 15 by 20cm. Add half of the fillings making sure there is enough for the other stromboli. Roll the dough over the filling so that you end up with a long log shape. Place it on the oiled and polenta-dusted baking sheet. Repeat with the other piece of dough.

Cover the stromboli with a tea towel and set aside for another 15 minutes. After this, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until golden. Leave to cool for 15 minutes before slicing.

To keep one for a "rainy day", wrap it well in plastic wrap and store it in the freezer.  Defrost it when needed and just heat through in a warm oven and it will be nearly as good as the day it was made.

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