As one of the most popular recipe posts here, month on month is this No-Knead Anywhere Mug Bread, today I thought I'd bring you a loaf that is just as easy without the need to knead, but is a bit fancier than your everyday, and will be perfect going into the warmer months to serve alongside things like my Mediterranean Roast Chicken to mop up the juices (if you're after a more precise, up to date version of that chicken traybake, there is one in Student Eats): my No-knead Rosemary & Black Olive Bread.
You'll probably notice in this and future recipe posts I've got some lovely new linens for my food photography setup. While the new stripy ones are from John Lewis (I fell in love with them at a friends flat, and thankfully they were new so they could tell me where to get them!), my elegant new white numbers with different pastel edging were a gift from the ladies over at Not Another Bill.
I think thanks to the popularity of the beauty box circa 2011, we're all pretty familiar with the concept of the subscription service when it comes to getting specific products delivered. Not Another Bill is another subscription service, but I think the idea is a lot nicer, and a lot more grown up than receiving a load of beauty samples to clutter your bathroom with. Basically, in a lovely pretty box (so you have something that is not a bill to look forward to in the post), from £19 a month you get a gift from an independent or craft designer, tailored to your personal preferences. They do arty jewellery, lovely home ware (I'm in love with some of their bowls and cocktail mugs), desk accessories. Recent gifts have included these copper mule mugs and these flamingo salt and pepper shakers. They're things you'll love and use, but perhaps just that bit nicer than the things you'd order for yourself. Something you'd give as a gift, rather than gift to yourself.
The measurements below make one big, generous loaf to set on the table, which will keep, in an airtight container for a day or two, longer if you're into crunchy toast. Also, feel free to mix up the herbs and the olives a bit, just remember you need to use dry, woody, not soft herbs, and everything you add to the bread (even things like sun-dried tomatoes that come packed in oil) needs to be completely dry so that it does not sink to the bottom of the loaf.
- 500g (4 cups) Strong White (or plain) Bread Flour
- 7g (1 sachet) Instant Dried Yeast
- 10g (1/4 oz) Table Salt
- 350ml (12 fl oz)Tepid (not quite warm but not quite cold) Water
- 75g (2 1/2 oz) Black Olives, patted dry and roughly chopped
- 1 Large Sprig Rosemary, finely chopped
Measure the flour out into a large bowl, then measure the yeast onto one side, and the salt on the other. Combining these before they're properly mixed into the dough may kill the yeast. Rub these two different dry ingredients into the flour, and make a shallow well in the flour. Pour in the water all at once, and mix with a fork until it starts to come together into a dough. Using floured hands, bring the dough together into a shaggy ball, then cover the bowl with kitchen wrap/ cling film. Leave for an hour in a warm place until it has noticeably grown, hopefully doubled in size.
Remove the cling film, and add the olives and rosemary to the bowl. Wet your fingers on one hand so you can slide them between the dough and the edge of the bowl. Slide your fingers under, and fold the dough over into itself in the middle of the bowl. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat. Keep on doing this until you have a tight bowl of dough where the flavourings are well distributed. Cover again, and leave for another hour.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and shape your loaf (I describe how to do this here!). Transfer it to a floured baking tray, and leave it covered lightly with another piece of cling film or food wrap to prove for a final time. Pre-heat the oven to 210 degrees (410 F). Bake the bread for 40-50 minutes, until the loaf is golden, and if you pick it up and tap the bottom, it sounds hollow. I know it is tempting, but leave it to cool for at least half an hour before slicing into it!
I'd love to hear how you get on with my latest favourite homemade loaf! And if you want to treat yourself, I urge you to head over to Not Another Bill, not just to treat yourself to a subscription, but to browse their stand alone online gift shop too - there are some great things in there for Mothers Day, which you can still manage to get ordered before the weekend!