I was actually in the middle of making another type of bread when the idea for this came to me. I opened the refrigerator for something and caught a glimpse of the feta cheese. Hmmm! How about a feta cheese and kalamata olive bread? Chris loves this combination so I decided to surprise him. I took just enough dough from the bread I was working on to make this one, but I provided the full recipe below for those of you who might be interested. The recipe for the dough is adapted from a recipe by Sheila Lukins, the author of The Silver Palate Cookbook, but the method I am sharing below is my lazy way to incorporate flavors to dough in an evenly-distributed manner without any additional kneading.
Feta Cheese and Olive Swirl Bread
Yields 3 loaves
1 packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/4 cup warm water
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 cups bread flour (plus more if needed)
1 cup semolina flour
2 cups feta cheese, crumbled (to taste)
1 cup kalamata olives, or any type, pitted and sliced (to taste)
olive oil, to drizzle over the dough (optional)
Mix together the yeast and water in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the melted butter, egg and milk and add to yeast and water. Add the salt, sugar and bread flour to the liquids and mix well. Then incorporate the semolina flour to the dough. If the dough is too wet, gradually add more bread flour 1/4 cup at a time. Place dough on a floured surface and knead for five to ten minutes until dough is smooth. Form dough into a ball and place into a bowl greased with butter. Cover the bowl, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size—about an hour.
Turn out the dough on a floured surface. Divide the dough into three portions. For each portion, carefully press the dough with your fingertips into a rectangular shape, about 1/2″ thick. Distribute the 1/3 of the feta cheese and olives evenly over the dough. To create the feta cheese and olive swirl, lift one edge of the dough and roll the dough from one end to the other, pressing down slightly to seal the seam and pressing in to even out the ends. Place the dough on a floured sheet pan, seam-side down. Repeat for each portion of the dough. Cover the sheet pan and let dough rise until doubled in size – about an hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drizzle a little olive oil on top of the dough for some extra Mediterrean flavor, if desired. Bake the bread until golden brown, about 35 – 40 minutes. Let cool for ten minutes.
Slice and enjoy!
Inspired by a recipe by Sheila Lukins
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