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A soft, savory bread that’s perfect for hummus, feta, goat cheese or just little ol’ you.
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flour, sugar, yeast and black pepper (you can do this with a regular old whisk instead of the whisk attachment). Then whisk in the salt. Attach the dough hook, turn the mixer on low speed (#2), add the water and mix for a minute, until all the flour is moistened (scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary). Then knead the dough on medium speed (#4 on a KitchenAid) for 7 minutes.
2. The dough should be sticky, but shouldn’t stick to your finger if you touch it. If it’s too wet, knead in extra flour, 1 tablespoon at a time until it’s right. If it’s not sticky at all, but is rather dry, spray it with a little water and knead it in.
3. Add the olives and mix on low speed until evenly incorporated (you might need to add in a little more flour now if the olives are very oily). Dust the dough lightly with flour, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
4. Shape the dough and let it rise: Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and roll it around a little to lightly flour all surfaces of the dough. Roll the dough between your hands and the counter into an 18″ long rope, dusting with flour as necessary. Shape the rope into a ring, overlapping the ends by 2″ and pinching the seams together. Transfer the ring to a baking sheet that you’ve lined with parchment paper. The ring should be about 7″ in diameter. Oil a piece of plastic wrap and cover the dough with it, oiled side touching the dough. Let rise at room temperature for an hour, until doubled in bulk (the ring will be about 9″ in diameter).
5. Once the loaf is shaped, set a rack in the lowest position in the oven and place a baking stone on it. Set a baking sheet on the floor of the oven under the stone. I use an old broiler pan for this—it’s to hold the ice cubes. Turn the oven to 450 F and let it preheat for about an hour.
6. When the loaf is doubled in size, brush it with half the melted butter and slide it, parchment paper included, onto the hot baking stone. Toss the ice cubes in the baking sheet and immediately close the door (this produces steam and a great crust). Bake for 20 minutes. Turn the oven down to 400 F, slide the bread from the parchment directly onto the stone, rotating it a little as you do so. Continue baking for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the bread is deep golden brown (an instant-read thermometer inserted into the bread should read about 211 F). When it’s done, turn off the oven, open the oven door slightly, and leave the bread in the oven for 5 minutes.
7. Remove the bread and transfer it to a wire rack. Glaze with the remaining melted butter and cool completely.
Based on “Prosciutto Ring” in The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. As Rose instructs, you should tear this bread rather than cut it. The texture is eternally satisfying.
Nancy is the Coupon Clipping Cook, which means she not only has an astounding number of recipes to share with us (her TK recipe box is busting at the seams!) but she's also got loads of money-saving tips in her blog (she worked at a grocery store for a number of years, so she knows her stuff). She has some pretty amazing creations, like Roasted Garlic Potato Soup and Nutty Coconut Chicken. Go check them out!
Heather is a Texas native and the blogger behind Heather's Dish. She's mom to Weston, wife to Nate, and they live in Little Rock, Arkansas with their two "stubborn and saucy" dogs Bunker and Keira. In her blog, she shares her photographs, random musings (serious and silly alike), and all kinds of scrumptious recipes---and not just evil variations of her favorite mac and cheese. Her enviable TK recipe box is a testament to that. Go see for yourself!