Olive bread

Jim Lahey's No-knead Olive Bread

3 c bread flour
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped pitted kalamata olives
3/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 c cool water
additional flour and cornmeal for dusting

In a medium bowl combine the flour, olives, and yeast. Add the water. With your hand mix until you have a wet, sticky dough, about 30 seconds. Cover the bowl with a towel or plastic bag and and let sit at room temperature until the surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough is more than doubled in size, 12 to 18 hours.

When the first rise is complete, generously dust a work surface with flour. Ulsing a rubber spatula or well floured hands scrape the dough out of the bowl in one piece. Flour your hands again to lift the edges of the dough in toward the center and tuck in the edges of the dough towards the bottom to make it round.

Lay a tea towel flat and generously dust it with cornmeal or flour. Place the dough on the towel, seam side down. Fold the ends of the tea towel loosely over the dough to cover it and place it in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours. The dough is ready when it is almost doubled. If you gently poke it with your finger, it should hold the impression. If it springs back, let it rise again for several minutes (15 - 30).

Half an hour before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 475° with a rack in the lower third. Place a heavy pot, preferably with a lid, in to preheat as well.

When the oven is heated and the rise is complete, remove the pot. Carefully unfold the tea towel and quickly but gently invert the dough into the pot so the seam side up. If you have an oven-safe lid, cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes remove the lid and continue baking until the bread is a deep chestnut brown, but not burnt, about 15-30 minutes. If you do not have a lid, just bake the bread from 45-60 minutes until it has reached a deep chestnut brown color. You can also place a roasting pan on the bottom rack and fill with 2 cups of water to help achieve a crusty crust.

When done, use pot holders to gently lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a rack to cool completely.

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