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Thread: Mark Bittman's Olive Oil Salt Bread (HTCEV)

  1. #1
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    Thumbs up Mark Bittman's Olive Oil Salt Bread (HTCEV)

    Quick, simple, and delicious, think of a great big biscuit in a pan, made a bit healthier with olive oil replacing butter and plain H2O for the liquid, and that's what you've got here. The finished bread has that same creamy biscuit interior with the same flaky outside crust. I'm looking forward to trying this with part ww flour or folding in grated cheese, maybe even bacon chunks or chopped pepperoni.

    A couple caveats. The first time I made it, it didn't brown well on top and I quickly realized why. The oil in the 8 inch square pan I used pooled in one corner, so in the "flipping" process, not a lot adhered to the top, which I assume is the idea. Next time out, I brushed the pan well, pressed the dough in, then brushed the top with more olive oil without flipping, and it browned nicely.

    To answer what I think the first question might be: no, it's not especially salty, but you can adjust up or down with the sprinkling done at 20 minutes. (I used sea salt.)

    As for keeping it, I cut leftovers in squares, freeze in a ziplock bag and nuke as needed, and they're just fine.

    Also, if you're using the square baking pan, flip it out to cut. It's a lot easier than trying to remove a square, given the crumbling.

    I'll post the griddle variation (which I haven't done) later, but basically, just divide the dough into 8 - 12 pieces, flatten in your hands to 1/2 inch thick, and cook over medium heat on a well oiled griddle or pan for about five minutes a side, until brown at the edges and the tops bubble a bit. Flip and cook til crisp and golden on the other side.

    Bob

    ****************************************
    Olive Oil Salt Bread
    (Mark Bittman; How to Cook Everything Vegetarian)

    Makes: 4 to 6 serving
    Time: about 45 minutes, largely unattended

    There is no quicker, hassle-free way to get fresh warm bread on the table, especially if you make the griddled variation. Rich and flaky with olive oil, this biscuit-like dough is easy to handle and takes all kinds of additions, like cheese, chopped olives or seasonings. Just knead them in with your hands after processing. Like most unyeasted breads, it doesn’t keep for more than a day and is best eaten still warm from the oven.

    1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan
    3 cups all-purpose flour
    1 Tbsp baking powder
    1 tsp. salt, preferably coarse or sea salt, plus more for sprinkling

    1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Grease an 8 inch skillet or square baking pan with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Put the flour, baking powder, and salt in food processor and turn the machine on. Pour through the feed tube first 1/3 cup of the olive oil, then most of 1 cup of warm water. Process for about 30 seconds, then remove the cover. The dough should be in a well-defined, barely sticky, easy-to-handle ball. If it is too dry, add the remaining water 1 tablespoon at a time and process for 5 or 10 seconds after each addition. If it is too wet, which is unlikely, add a tablespoon or two of flour and process briefly.

    2. Put the dough into the prepared pan and press until it fits to the edges. Flip it over and press again. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes; then remove the foil, sprinkle the top with a little coarse salt and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until the top is golden and springs back when touched gently. Cool in the pan a bit and serve.

  2. #2
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    Printing this puppy out, thanks Bob! Will try tomorrow with split pea soup! Hope I can do it, it looks so easy and delicious! Thanks.
    "There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats." - Albert Schweitzer

  3. #3
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    I agree with SusanL- it does sound delicious and easy! Thanks for sharing Bob!
    Merry: I don't think he knows about second breakfast, Pip.
    Pippin: What about elevenses? Luncheon? Afternoon tea? Dinner? Supper? He knows about them, doesn't he?


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  4. #4
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    I'll try it with stone ground whole wheat..it sounds like a huge rise is not important, correct?
    YUMMMM!!
    Thoreau said, 'A man is rich in proportion to the things he can leave alone.'

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by wallycat View Post
    I'll try it with stone ground whole wheat..it sounds like a huge rise is not important, correct?
    YUMMMM!!

    Ana, I'd think that it would definitely impact the biscuit-like texture. If I were doing it myself, I'd feel safer with white whole wheat so as to keep it somewhat lighter. There might also have to be a liquid adjustment in the processor given the different absorption of whole wheat flour.

    I'd also consider lighter barley or oat flour as a partial substitute if I was looking for a nutrional boost.

    Are you going to be doing just a portion whole wheat? If so, how much?

    Bob

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    I have white wheat berries to attempt, so will try that..100%....will report back
    THANK YOU for sharing all these finds!
    Thoreau said, 'A man is rich in proportion to the things he can leave alone.'

  7. #7
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    We received a dinner invite for tomorrow night. I WILL make it on Monday, I wanted to stay home tomorrow and just relax, I hate when that happens. I love bread more than sweets, so this one was calling my name.
    "There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats." - Albert Schweitzer

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by SusanL View Post
    We received a dinner invite for tomorrow night. I WILL make it on Monday, I wanted to stay home tomorrow and just relax, I hate when that happens. I love bread more than sweets, so this one was calling my name.

    You sound like you need convincing, Susan.

    While I was putting dinner together tonight, I sliced a square in half, nuked it, then put a tablespoon of rosemary dipping olive oil in a ramekin and dunked away while I was cooking.

    I was seriously tempted to cancel the steak and make more of this dinner.

    Bob

  9. #9
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    Thank you for posting this recipe! I made it tonight to go with a Bean and Tomato casserole (from How to Cook Everything) and it was great! I used 1 cup of white whole wheat flour, and will probably up that next time. I also used the griddle method since the casserole was taking up my oven. The bread worked great on the griddle and the taste was just as you described, Bob -- flaky, tender and delicious.

    Sarah

  10. #10
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    Another two thumbs up! Also, a special thank-you to Bob for pointing it out. DH gave me HTCEV for Christmas, but with a fulltime job and an almost-3-year-old at home, I don't have a lot of time to work through it. I'm grateful to Bob and others that are working their way through it ahead of me.

    I used 1C of white whole wheat flour and an 8" round pyrex baking dish for it. I forgot to put the salt INTO the dough, so I was a little generous when I flipped it over. I combined my salt with some crushed dried rosemary and freshly grated pepper, which was delicious. Also, since I do not have a fullsize food processor, I had to do the dough by hand. It was really, really, easy - a few stirs then a little bit of kneading to incorporate, and I was done.
    There cannot be a crisis today. My schedule is already full.
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  11. #11
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    It's in the oven, baking away. I can't wait. It smells wonderful. Will post back after dinner. I can easily see adding rosemary, herbs, or cheese with ease. It was so quick I couldn't believe it!!
    "There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats." - Albert Schweitzer

  12. #12
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    Update on the Olive Oil Salt Bread

    DELICIOUS! I can see adding fresh rosemary to it, or cheese!! DH loved it. We are going to toast the leftovers tomorrow. What a great quick bread, we did reduce the amount of salt, as I have to be careful of my salt intake. But it didn't affect the flavor or texture. This will remain on our rotation!!!!!
    "There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats." - Albert Schweitzer

  13. #13
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    Sounds wonderful, thanks for sharing...too bad though, I already have beer bread waiting to be put in the oven. This will have to be tried tomorrow night.

    How about cornmeal subbed in for some flour? I do this with my standard beer bread recipe (1/2 c. cornmeal) and it is a really good alternative.

  14. #14
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    I can't resist posting back about my leftovers success.

    We had about half of the bread leftover - so I sliced it horizontally (like a cake layer), spread some herbed cream cheese, added some prosciutto, and topped with blue cheese. Put it on the pizza stone in the oven for about 10 minutes. DH, who normally doesn't comment more than "this is good," said "this is an great complement of flavors."

    I would imagine cornmeal would be great and add some good crunchiness to it.
    There cannot be a crisis today. My schedule is already full.
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  15. #15
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    Yum! Very delicious - I made this last night to go along with RR's Stuffed Pepper Stoup. I too, can see how this would easily lend itself to all kinds of fun variations. I'll be playing with this recipe a lot, I'm afraid!
    Lynne


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  16. #16
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    Another yum here! I made this for dinner tonight to accompany EW's Squash-Topped Cottage Pies and we really enjoyed it. It truly was a no-brainer to make, and we'll definitely be making this one again.

    Thanks again for pointing it out, Bob. I've had this book for two days and I'm definitely overwhelmed with it- there is so much in it to look through, that I likely wouldn't have found this particular bread for months. And I likely would have passed it by as well. As it is, we've found an instant favorite.
    Merry: I don't think he knows about second breakfast, Pip.
    Pippin: What about elevenses? Luncheon? Afternoon tea? Dinner? Supper? He knows about them, doesn't he?


    I'm food bloggin' almost daily at Tummy Treasure!

  17. #17
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    Another set of thumbs up! Couldn't have been easier/quicker to make/put together. I did as Bob advised and skipped the flipping, just oiled the bottom and top, but my top still didn't brown up too much--maybe more oil next time? My only teeny tiny complaint was that it needed a bit more salt in the bread. I used kosher salt as my sea salt is the finishing kind that costs an arm and a leg and wasn't sure whether it might get "lost" in the bread. So I think next time i might use same amount of salt but use either fine sea salt or regular table salt. Haven't reheated it yet, but plan to have it for sandwiches tomorrow at lunch and I can't wait!

    Thanks for another great recipe!
    SweetPea's Pods and Munchkin Caps! www.podsandcaps.com

  18. #18
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    Thanks, Bob, for continuing to point out great recipes from Bittman's book. I ended up with both books (HTCE and HTCEV) and am really enjoying both of them.

    Kim

  19. #19
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    Thanks for typing this up Bob. I had to return it to the library and I just didn't have the energy to write it up first. My copy is on the way but I chose free shipping so it may be a while. Anyway, thanks again.
    You can't drink rum on the beach all day if you don't start in the morning.

  20. #20
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    I made this last night to have with Hungarian Stuffed Peppers (thought it would be good for soaking up the tomato broth) and it was delicious! Bob, I followed your advice for just oiling the top and bottom and skipped the flipping part. The bread came out of the oven a very faint golden brown, but had a springy hard/crunch exterior layer and was soft like a biscuit inside. This is so easy to make and so good, there's no reason not to repeat!
    Risk more than others think is safe. Care more than others think is wise. Dream more than others think is practical. Expect more than others think is possible. Cadet Maxim

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  21. #21
    I made this tonight to have with Kidney beans with sherry and apples.
    It was really good. I used 1 cup oat flour in place of a cup of the AP flour. I also ground some pepper on top. Yum.

    I entered it into a recipe calculator (8 servings) and probably won't be making it very often.
    270 calories....ouch.
    Jennifer


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  22. #22
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    We are a bit contrarian here - neither of us was overly impressed with the version I made with Romano, thyme and fresh ground black pepper; it was OK but not as good as I had hoped. Maybe I should try the original recipe.
    Cheers! Andy

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobmark226 View Post
    You sound like you need convincing, Susan.

    While I was putting dinner together tonight, I sliced a square in half, nuked it, then put a tablespoon of rosemary dipping olive oil in a ramekin and dunked away while I was cooking.

    I was seriously tempted to cancel the steak and make more of this dinner.

    Bob

    you've got me convinced-- i've wanted a "pan-bread" recipe ever aince i read this book about a modern-day messiah from Indiana, written by the author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull. it's good, but the name escapes me at the moment. anyway, i can see myself using 1/4 c cornmeal in place of some flour.

  24. #24
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    Smile

    I need no convincing - it sounds great and I will try it probably next week!

    Thanks for sharing (and convincing us to try it) bobmark!
    barbara-cook

  25. #25
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    Ok, I need some help here.

    I made this bread once back in July and it did not turn out at all. My food processor really labored to mix the dough - big time. It wasn't a size problem, as I have a 7 cup Cuisinart. The dough was VERY sticky and I couldn't see how adding more flour was going to solve the problem and thought it might burn out the motor on the fp entirely. I also ended up having some baking issues, so by the time it was done, it was hard as a rock, for the most part and I ended up having to toss it.

    I'd like to make this tomorrow evening to take to a friends house along with some bruschetta type topping as I have a lot of tomatoes I need to use. Anyone have any ideas for how I can have more success? Was I unsucessful as I made it the July heat in an unairconditioned apartment?

    Thanks!
    Erin

    "Eating peanut butter is a sacred act, not to be defiled by pork or its substitutes."

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  26. #26
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    Erin, I'm not sure about it being so sticky- was it humid? Next time maybe start with less water to begin with?

    It's been a while since I made this, but as I recall, the top of mine never got really "golden brown". Had I waited until it was actually golden brown in color, I suspect it would have been hard as a rock. Mine was more a creamy white, with speckles of the golden brown.
    Merry: I don't think he knows about second breakfast, Pip.
    Pippin: What about elevenses? Luncheon? Afternoon tea? Dinner? Supper? He knows about them, doesn't he?


    I'm food bloggin' almost daily at Tummy Treasure!

  27. #27
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    It may have been too humid...I had been doing other things in the kitchen that day, so it wouldn't surprise me.

    I know I ended up putting in all the water, so my machine would stop laboring! I did use the steel blade...should I have used the dough blade instead?

    Mine did get kinda golden brown, but I really mangled the temp/cooking time since I had to go somewhere. It was kind of tasty, yet not really edible!
    Erin

    "Eating peanut butter is a sacred act, not to be defiled by pork or its substitutes."

    -generic


    New favorite bumper sticker: "Go Green. Recycle Yourself. Become an Organ and Tissue Donor."

  28. #28
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    How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, by Mark Bittman
    I just broke down and bought this book (man, that thing is huge)--after borrowing it from the library several times and scanning like crazy to get some of these recipes permanently into my possession and into my Mastercook. I'm hoping to take it to bed at night, for one thing. I am so inspired to maybe even cook from it!!! What's not to love in there?????? The recipes look so EASY and encouraging. Pot stickers, spring rolls?!! I am constantly looking for vegetarian recipes for those. And now, to find, here, so many posts and threads about the book--I'm in heaven!!! Thanks for posting this bread and sharing info/insights about it, Bob--and to the folks who tested it out and reported back here. Bump, bump.
    Last edited by catbatty; 08-14-2011 at 01:48 AM.

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