My final exam at the Cordon Bleu Culinary school was a hard task. The demand was total perfection. I looked for inspiration of French classical dishes from the The Roux brothers’ books and used some of their ideas and techniques for my final dish.
I am also great fan of Michel Roux Jr and during my recent visit to London I bought his book “The French Kitchen”. I have never made any sort of bread but when I saw this easy to follow recipe I had to try it. Believe me, the result was a beautiful, tasty bread. Just perfection !
20g fresh yeast
350ml warm water
500g multi-grain flour, plus extra for rolling
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons olive oil
60g good- quality olives, pitted and cut in half
1 free-range egg, beaten
coarse sea salt
1- Dissolve the yeast in a little of the warm water in a large bowl. Add the flour, salt, the rest of the water and the olive oil. Then knead until the dough is smooth and very elastic. This will take 10 minutes ( yes, ten minutes).
2- Cover the dough with a damp cloth and leave it to rise in a warm place for about an hour. It will double in size.
3- Knead the dough again briefly and add the olives. Roll it out on a floured surface to form a rough leaf shape, 15mm thick. Place it on a baking sheet.
4- Using a sharp knife, cut 6 or 7 slits in the dough and open them up so you can see the baking sheet.
5- Preheat the oven to 240C. Brush the dough lightly with the beaten egg, sprinkle with coarse salt and thyme leaves and bake for 9 minutes until golden brown.
6- Leave it too cool on a wire rack.
– Instead of olives you can use sundried tomatoes or both. The flavour and colour combination makes this bread taste and look great.
– I added the thyme leaves for a little extra colour and flavour.