Olive-Rosemary Boule

Savor fragrant rosemary and the occasional salty bite of Kalamata olives in this tender hearth loaf boasting a pleasant, chewy crust. With a name that means “ball” in French, this rustic, free-form bread is easy to make. Scoring just before baking adds visual interest and creates an expansion point so the bread can grow evenly as it bakes.

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients

  • 5 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast (2¼ teaspoons)
  • ½ cups chopped Kalamata olives
  • 2 cups warm water (120°F to 130°F)

Directions

In a large bowl, combine 4½ cups flour, rosemary, salt and yeast. Stir in olives. Using a wooden spoon, stir in water just until dough is moistened. Let stand for 5 minutes. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead in additional ½ cup flour for 8 to 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Shape dough into a ball. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface of dough. Cover; let rise in a warm place until double (60 minutes).

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. Remove dough from bowl and round the dough a bit in your hands. Bring sides of dough to the bottom, rounding the dough each time. Squeeze and pinch the bottom closed very tightly. Continue in the same fashion, pulling dough to the bottom until the dough forms a nice, round ball that’s smooth and cohesive.

Place dough round on parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm place until nearly double (45 to 60 minutes).

Preheat oven to 450°F. Using a sharp knife, score top of loaf. Place baking sheet with loaf on the center rack. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown, and round sounds hollow when tapped. Transfer loaf to a wire rack; cool. Serve warm.

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