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Kalamata Olive Bread
By Brandess on August 28, 2008

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bread starter
1 cup warm water ( 95-105F)
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup warm water ( 95-105F)
3 tablespoons honey
4 teaspoons instant yeast
2 ounces vegetable shortening ( 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon)
4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
bread, starter
1 3/4 cups kalamata olives, pitted
To create the starter, combine the water and yeast in a medium mixing bowl. Stir to dissolve the yeast fully. Add the flour to the bowl and stir until the ingredients are fully incorporated. Cover with a cloth and ferment the starter at room temperature for 30 minutes.
For the dough, combine the water, honey and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir to dissolve the yeast fully. Add the shortening, flour, salt, starter and olives. Mix on low speed until the dough is fully developed. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl. Divide the dough into 2 pieces weighing about 22 ounces each. Set aside any remaining dough and freeze for future use. Roll each piece of dough into a smooth ball. Place the dough on the counter or in a proofing basket and cover with a warm, damp cloth to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
Form the dough into loaves and place them on the counter or in a proofing basket. Cover the loaves with a warm, damp cloth and proof at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Score the loaves with a sharp knife, spray with water, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the crusts are a deep golden brown and the middle of the loaves is 190-200 degrees.
Remove the bread from the oven and place it on the cooling rack for 30 minutes. If the bread was baked in loaf pans, remove the bread from the pans before cooling.

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