The smell of freshly baked bread never seems to lose it’s magic. It is probably one of the simplest ways to make people feel warm and happy – by sharing a loaf of bread that just came from your oven.If I ever have to choose my last meal, it would simply have to be great bread accompanied by the best extra virgin olive oil. I love to drench fresh crusty bread in great olive oil, the fresh green smell of the olive oil enhanced by the warmness of the bread.In Franck Dangereux’s recipe for “oil bread”, you can have these two elements of bread and great olive oil all wrapped into one – cut into iconic “fingers”. Franck published this recipe in his book “Feast” while he was still the head chef at Constantia Uitsig’s award-winning La Colombe Restaurant.
He is no longer with La Colombe, but has moved on to co-own The Foodbarn – a magnificent restaurant and deli in Noordhoek, Cape Town. Franck is renowned for his excellent baking and his honest approach to simple, quality ingredients.This recipe is one of my favourites: truly rustic, yet stylish enough for fine dining. The only catch is that you need a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook to prepare the dough – it is very sticky and will take a lot of time and effort to mix by hand. But if you have access to a stand mixer, this will become a total favourite in your house: a recipe that is timeless and delicious, every time.Tip: I always drizzle the bread with olive oil before baking AND after baking – it just brings out the flavour and colour of the bread beautifully.
- 1 kg flour (I use white bread flour)
- 20 g salt (about 1 tablespoon)
- 20 g yeast
- 750 ml lukewarm water olive oil sliced onion and chopped rosemary for topping
- Toppings of your choice like thinly sliced tomatoes, onions or olives
- Freshly chopped rosemary
- Sea salt and pepper
Step 1Combine dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer on low-speed, fitted with the dough hook or beater. With the motor running, add the water all at once.
Step 2Mix on low-speed for 20 minutes. Put a wet cloth over the dough and leave it to prove at room temperature for 45-60 minutes.
Step 3Generously spread oil on 2 baking trays with your hands. With your hands still oily, divide dough in 2 and put each half in a baking tray. Leave it to rest for 20 minutes.
Step 4Again with oiled hands, stretch the dough to fit the trays. Top with the tomatoes, onions or olives. Sprinkle the chopped rosemary over the top. Leave to prove at room temperature for a further 45 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 220 degrees Celsius for 25 minutes