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There's buried treasure in this Mediterranean bread ... green and black olives.

Throughout the Mediterranean region, where olive trees abound and the fruit is a diet staple, hearty loaves of bread studded with olives are widely found.

In Venice, Italy, we came across this golden version, with its random scattering of sharp-flavored, gren Spanish-style olives and mellow, ripe black olives. You can use others: wizen, salt-cured kinds; tiny black nicoise olives; those with flavors added, such as garlic or chilies; and green ripe olives.

Choose a colorful combination. Although many authentic breads include pits and all, we recommend pitted fruit, or fruit cut in large pieces from the pits, to eliminate tooth-cracking surprises.

Serve the bread for brunch or snacking. Spread plain or toasted slices with unsalted butter or an anchovy butter you prepare. For a light meal, accompany with cheese, such as fontina, kasseri, feta, or a ripened goat cheese; eggs cooked in their shells; thin slices of cured ham, such as prosciutto or Spanish serrano; fresh fruit; and espressor. Mediterranean Olive Bread 1 package active dry yeast 3/4 cup warm water (about 110[deg.]) 1/4 cup sugar 1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) butter or margarine, at room temperature 4 large eggs About 5 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup Spanish-style pimiento-stuffed green olives 1 cup pitted ripe black olives 1 egg yolk, slightly beaten Anchovy butter (recipe follows) Unsalted butter

In a small bowl, combine yeast and warm water; let stand for 5 minutes.

In a large mixer bowl, beat sugar with butter until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in yeast mixture.

To blend with mixer and knead by hand, add 2-1/2 cups flour and beat at medium speed for 10 minutes. Stir in 1-1/2 cups more flour until moistened. Scrape dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead, adding flour to prevent sticking, until dough is smooth, about 7 minutes. Put dough in a lightly greased bowl and turn over to grease the top.

To knead with a hook, add 4-1/2 cups flour to the yeast mixture. Beat at medium speed until dough pulls cleanly from side of bowl, about 10 minutes; add flour a little at a time, if needed. Remove dough hook and scrape dough down into bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until dough is doubled in size, about 1-1/2 hours.

Drain olives well, then pat dry. Turn dough out on a lightly floured board and knead to expel air; add flour to prevent sticking. Pat dough into a 14- to 16-inch square. Scatter olives evenly over the dough and press in lightly. Roll up dough to enclose olives and place seam side down on a greased 12- by 15-inch baking sheet. Tuck open ends of dough under to make a smooth surface. Pat loaf to flatten and shape it into an oval about 1-3/4 inches thick. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until puffy, about 30 minutes.

Uncover loaf and brush with egg yolk. Bake in a 325[deg.] oven until richly browned, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

If made ahead, let cool, package airtight, and let stand overnight at room temperature. Freeze to store longer; let thaw, wrapped, at least 6 hours. To reheat, place unwrapped loaf on a 12- by 15-inch pan in a 325[deg.] oven for 20 to 30 minutes. The loaf also tastes good sliced and toasted. Spread slices with anchovy or unsalted butter.

Makes 1 loaf, about 3 pounds.

Anchovy butter. In a food processor or blender, puree until blended 5 draine d canned anchovy fillets and 1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) unsalted butter, at room temperature. Spoon into a dish; garnish with 2 more anchovy fillets if desired. Serve or cover and chill up to a week. Makes 1/2 cup.
COPYRIGHT 1985 Sunset Publishing Corp.
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Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Mar 1, 1985
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