I was actually not inspired by this recipe at all. I love olives and love focaccia but the thought of them together didn’t inspire me at all. Recently, at a restaurant that had been under renovation for many months had re-opened, apparently under new management, they served an airy focaccia type bread that was studded with black olives. Mei and I were not fans of it but ate a bit of it since the main entree portion was pretty sorry and to feed both the baby, Mei and I – it was simply not enough. Reading through the recipe, the dough is put together similar to the focaccias that I am used to making, so I made some changes.
1. I used instant yeast so I didn’t have to activate any yeast, which meant just dumping all the ingredients into the bowl and mixing it up really well with a wooden spoon. After you do that, you want to let the dough rest about five minutes to fully hydrate the flour, then knead it a bit to incorporate all the ingredients then dump in olives and such if you desire before chilling.
2. I chose to omit the zest as I wasn’t too crazy about olive bread, I really don’t see it pleasing my palate to mix lemons or oranges with black olives.
3. After a trip to the grocery store, I returned sans olives. Luckily, I had some green and Kalamata olives on hand for just snacking and chose to pit the Kalamata olives and stud the top of the bread with it so if I wind up not liking it too much, I can still enjoy the bread without the olives.
4. I whipped up a herb mix to mix into the oil that the olives came in to brush the top of the bread and made only one quarter of the dough truly olive fougasse sans the herb oil and such.
5. I made half of the dough the herb oil mix with a bit of parmesean cheese sprinkled on top in the last couple minutes of baking, making this more of a focaccia than anything, but that is ok with us!
6. This was not as hard to handle and shape as I had anticipated after reading Dorie’s instructions. I really enjoyed tearing slashes into the bread, I might start shaping all of my focaccias this way since it would be much easier to rip bits off during a meal or just fir a snack!
Thumbs up! It would taste better if I had added some of the herb oil mix into the bread directly, which I would consider for next time but the olives and sea salt made for the perfectly briney, salty combination on a bit of airy bread that was great for even breakfast!
The cheese didn’t melt too well but it still tasted great with a hint of sweetness on the salty, spicy, herb oil! This is certainly a make-again recipe!