Olive Rolls (Pagnottelle con le Olive)
Makes 10 olive rolls
1/2 cup oil cured French Nicoise olives pitted
3 cups of unbleached All Purpose flour (plus some extra for your board)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup plus 1/2 cup warm water (warm to the touch)
1 teaspoon of salt
Method: Whether by food processor or by hand, this should take you just a few minutes to prepare. I like to start my bread to rise the night before. The bread has all night to rest and rise. Remember some basic things about bread making: the longer it rises, the more flavorful it will be. It will also be light and airy inside. Be patient, your end result will be perfect.
Into a bowl, proof your yeast with 1/2 cup of warm water. If you are using the food processor, just place it in the food processor bowl and pulse. In a separate bowl, measure you flour, add your salt and mix. Add your additional water to your bowl of your food processor and pulse once. Turn your machine on and begin to add your flour until your bowl is empty. After just about 30 seconds you will begin to see your dough forming a ball. You want it to be sticky to the touch. Turn your bowl over onto your floured counter and bring it together into a stick ball shape. Do not worry if its sticky. This process is very much like making my "Pane di Nonno" except we are making rolls. (That we will discuss later). Place the ball back in a bowl, covered. Place it in a dark kitchen cabinet, covered with a plate or plastic wrap so the air is trapped inside and the ball of flour doesn't dry out.
Leave for up to 12 hours to rise. I left mine overnight. In the meantime pit your black olives and cut them into tiny pieces and place in a covered bowl. Set aside for later.
The next morning, remove your bowl from your cabinet and you will notice your flour has risen and is quite sticky. Remove it onto a floured surface and form into a ball. This should take 10 seconds. Be sure to flatten and shape into a ball. Set it into the bowl for one hour.
Remove the ball onto a floured surface and pat down. Add your chopped black olives and work them right into the dough.
Do Not worry if they look uneven, it's part of the charm of making this type of bread. Divide your ball of flour into to 8 inch logs with a pastry cutter or knife. Form and shape into a log and let rest 30 more minutes.
At this point if you have a non stick cupcake pan, sprinkle your cornmeal into 10 of the cupcake forms.
Divide each log into 5 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Place the balls into the cupcake forms.
If you do not have a cupcake pan, use a cookie sheet. You do not need fancy equipment.
Let them rest another hour in the pan. They will continue to rise. Do not be alarmed if they are slightly uneven.
Heat your oven to 450 degrees/ bake
Bake them for 45 minutes. You will notice they will keep growing in the oven. It will be hard to resist just one.
Buon Appetito Everyone!
Special note: If you do not have a food processor, do not worry. With a wooden spoon or your hands, mix your flour and water until its just come together. It will be sticky and wet. It does not have to be kneaded, just mixed. Cover your bowl and follow the rest of the above steps.