Feta and Black Olive Bread
Makes 1 loaf
- 1 recipe White Bread or defrosted frozen white bread dough (1 lb.)
- 3/4 cup sundried tomatoes, plumped and minced (about 8 halves)
- 1/4 cup flat leafed Italian parsley, finely minced
- 1/4 cup minced onions
- 3 medium garlic cloves finely minced
- 2 cups halved or coarsely chopped pitted black olives (such as Colossus or Calamata)
- 2 (generous) cups feta cheese chunks (1 inch chunks)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 - 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 - 1 teaspoon basil
Prepare the bread dough up until the time it needs a second rise. Gently deflate and have ready on a floured work surface. (If it is frozen dough, let it defrost in the fridge overnight and then gently deflate it)
Pour boiling water over the dried tomatoes to soften them five minutes. Drain and reserve.
In a medium bowl, toss together the parsley, onions, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, olives, feta cheese chunks, olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano and basil.
Flatten or gently deflate bread dough into an oval shape (1/2 to 3/4 inch thick). Press half of topping mixture onto bread. Fold bread into center and pinch dough together to cover filling. Let rest a few minutes. Flatten again, using a rolling pin, trying not to force any filling out. Press the remaining filling into the dough. Fold dough over again, into center, pinching dough together to cover any exposed filling. Bread should look like a plumpish, slightly flattened oval. Smear a little olive oil on bread.
Line a doubled-up cookie sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle with semolina. Place bread on sheet and cover with tea towel. Let rise about 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours - until puffy. Smear with a bit more olive oil.
Preheat oven to 400 F. Bake 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 F. Bake until done, (about 20-30 minutes). Serve in warm wedges or cold, in thin slices.
I can't think of anything as good then as now than a rustic bread stuffed with salty feta cheese chunks and any manner of black olives you care to use (or as I do, a combination of black olives, salted, oiled-cured, spiced). This is more elaborate than what the wandering Israelites might have made but the theme of Old Testament flavors is indelible.