My bread-making machine has been sitting on the floor of the pantry for too long. There was a time when I used to make fresh bread for the family a few times each week. I used to set everything in it at night and then we’d wake up in the morning to the smell of fresh baked bread – nothing makes the house feel like a home the way the smell of bread baking and fresh coffee in the pot can! But then the kids went off to college and my husband and I tried to cut down on carbs and the bread machine got relegated to the floor of the pantry and other stuff got piled up on it and I forgot all about it. But yesterday while searching for something else in the pantry, I found it again and remembered the initial excitement I had felt when I got it as a Christmas present some years ago! It was like I had discovered an old friend that had brought me so much comfort in the past and I decided to renew this past friendship. But then I didn’t want the same old same old loaf of bread. I remembered that my favorite loaf of bread at the Whole Foods is the Olive Bread, so I switched up the flavors a bit and made a Spicy Olive and Rosemary Loaf. I know that baking is a fussy mistress, one that I have never mastered, so I was taking a risk here by adding new things to it but hey what the heck, I was by myself at home and if it turned out like bad tasting brick, I could easily have thrown it out and told no one else about it. So I added all the ingredients to the bread machine and went to bed. This morning I woke up to the familiar smell of freshly baked bread that was laced with the aroma of rosemary and olives – it actually came out delightfully good. My breakfast this morning was a toasted slice of olive bread with a heavy smattering of butter and a hot cup of tea – such decadence!
1. 4.5 cups of all-purpose flour
2. One packet of quick-dry-yeast
3. 2.5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
4. 3 tablespoons of honey
5. 1.5 teaspoons of dry rosemary
6. 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
7. 2 teaspoons of salt
8. 20-25 pitted olives (I used green and Kalamata olives) sliced
9. 2 cups of warm water
1. In a large mixing bowl sift the flour to break up all lumps. Add the salt and the red pepper flakes to the flour and set this aside.
8. The bread will be ready in about 1.5-2.0 hours (depending on the type of machine you are using). Let the bread sit in the machine till it cools down a little. It is hard to slice very hot bread.
9. Take the bread out of the loaf pan. Most importantly, remove the blade at the base of it and then using a serrated knife, slice the bread. Serve the bread while it is still warm with butter or extra virgin olive oil for dipping.