Monday, August 31, 2009

Helen Oless's Prosciutto and Olive Braid

You know how sometimes you go to the grocery store and pick up a few things you need, including a vital ingredient for a baking project? And then you pay and take your groceries home? And then someone in your household kindly unpacks the groceries? And then the next afternoon you start in on your baking project and find yourself at the step when you are supposed to add said vital ingredient? And only then do you realize that even though you paid for it, this vital ingredient didn't come home with you? And you wasted $4.99 (plus tax) on organic pitted mediterranean olives that you'll never get to use? And your Prosciutto and Olive Braid won't have olives?

Yeah, that happens to me sometimes too.

Not that this was a bad thing for mr. He doesn't like olives and was going to go ahead and try this bread in spite of that. He's quite the food-tasting soldier. But, he got off the hook on this one. I think the taste of the bread might have suffered some from the lack of olives, but that wasn't my biggest problem with this recipe.

It was just so much WORK. Normally, I'm okay with that. Trying to knead 3 cups of flour into a sticky wad of dough that seems unwilling to take on even 1 cup of flour--that's a little too much for me.

I think I kneaded for at least a solid half hour. And never got the dough to take the full 3 cups of flour. I don't know why. It was weird.

Once I determined that the kneading was done (i.e., gave up), it was easy enough--only 1 rise, easy braiding, easy baking (although the baking time isn't in the recipe--I baked for about 30 minutes).

The smell of this bread was amazing, I do have to say that. The taste was delicate and interesting not the punch of prosciutto flavor I expected, but good. With all the work of the knead, though, it didn't seem worth it. I felt like I could have put less work (albeit, more time) into making this bread, but with the savory ingredients used here--prosciutto, garlic, fennel--and it would have been more delicious, and would have had a better texture. I think I would use less fennel, that flavor can be a little overwhelming, although I realize that if olives had been present they might have countered the taste of the fennel a little bit. And I would probably use more prosciutto--it was a little too subdued for what I really wanted.

Helen, wherever you are out there (assuming this is your recipe), contact me and come to my kitchen and show me how you meant for this bread to work. Because I know it worked for you. I miss you and I hope your life is good.

TGIP Rating--Prosciutto and Olive Braid--not worth the workout. But the idea of it, the flavors, could definitely translate to a different bread recipe.

Next up: Not technically a BAKING project (not a baking project at all), but there's a recipe in BAKED that I'd like to try--homemade Vanilla Marshmallows. And since it's the last official weekend of summer coming up (and since our summer was an utter waste with not enough cookouts or swimming or even zoo trips), I'll attempt to end our summer right by using them in homemade Rocky Road Ice Cream.


pinky said...

Would the dough hook have helped out in this instance? Also - if you ever want to try olives in a luscious bread recipe again - I have a few cans of Graber olives on hand. I've wanted to try them in a bread but never have. [Take your receipt back to the store and let them know you didn't get home with your olives. The nerve.]

April Fossen said...

I thought about trying the recipe again using the Kitchenaid/dough hook, but it just doesn't seem worth it when I have that perfectly wonderful other recipe that takes add-ins nicely.

And, YES I want some Graber olives to put in bread!

Zack Phifer said...

I would check in Mr's underwear drawer for said olives....I'm just saying....not an olive lover....sneaky guy.....