Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Olive Oil Salt Bread

from How To Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman

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

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

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 lightly golden and springs back a bit when touched gently. Cool in the pan a bit, then cut into wedges or squares and serve.

Griddled Variation: Instead of preheating the oven, heat a griddle or set a heavy pan over medium heat. Have the extra olive oil handy for greasing. In step 2, divide the dough into 8 to 12 pieces and pat them into patties between your hands until they're about 1/2 inch thick. When the griddle or pan is hot, use enough olive oil to film the bottom and put in as many breads as will fit comfortably without crowding (you will probably have to work in batches). Cook, undisturbed, until they begin to brown around the edges and the tops bubble a bit, about 5 minutes. Then turn and cook the other side until crisp and golden.

Serves 4 to 6

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