Wild Olive Oil Wreath (BBB April 2021)

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BBB: Let's Keep Baking summary: recipe for wild olive wreath based on a recipe in “Della Fattoria” by Kathleen Weber; playing with the calculator; Nailed it! …arithmetic problems; spring has sprung; another quiet Easter; bunny holes galore; verbosity abounds; I lost my blue pencil; information about Bread Baking Babes;

I love the sensation of dough under my fingers. – Kathleen Weber

Bread Baking Babes (BBB): Olive Oil Wreath

BBB April 2021
Nailed It!!

Who would have guessed that we would have to spend another Easter in isolation? Last April, when we were steeling ourselves for a little privation that we thought might last a couple of months, we really didn’t have any notion at all about how long this masked time would go on, did we? All we worried about was that people were wasting their energy worrying about toilet paper, when there were no beans, pasta, flour and yeast on the grocery store shelves.

At least the food supply situation seems to be resolved now (ish).

Unbelievably though, in spite of Toronto having just moved into the Grey Zone (with the instruction that we “should stay home as much as possible”), traffic was pretty much back to its norm, except drivers are now much more aggressive and self-absorbed. Apparently, we need to remind ourselves what “we are in this together” means. :lalala:

But enough of that. I’ve gotten off-track. Again.

We’re here about bread, aren’t we? This month, Karen (Karen’s Kitchen Stories) chose the olive oil wreath recipe in Kathleen Weber’s book “Della Fattoria Bread”.

I had fun playing with my calculator as I jumped in and out of rabbit holes!

Cyphering is of great advantage to everyone […] I would therefore, by all means, have you give great attention to your arithmetic, as its advantages are so many and important.
– Dorothea Dix

However, I’m afraid I didn’t pay great enough attention to my arithmetic until after the fact. Here’s what I did to the BBBabes’ April 2021 bread recipe:

BBB Olive Oil Wreath diary:

17 March 2021, 10:07 Wow! This looks stunningly beautiful. This is my kind of bread. I can’t wait.

We’ve been reading Claudia Roden’s book, “The Food of Spain”, and are fascinated to read again about when the olive came to Spain, as well as why we don’t necessarily associate Spain with olive oil.

The Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition [was] established in 1478 […] So as not to use pork fat, as Christians did for cooking, or clarified butter, which the Muslims used (the dietary laws forbid mixing meat with dairy products), Jews used olive oil exclusively for cooking. The smell of frying with olive oil became so strongly associated with them that even old Christians of non-Jewish descent avoided it for fear of being mistaken for secret Jews.
[Santiago] Rusiñol described the oldest olive trees as “twisting themselves into such intricate knots and rolling about in such hysterical convulsions that they could hardly be called trees”
Between the river valley and the mountains, gently rolling hills are covered by seas of wheat and sunflowers, orange and lemon groves, and vineyards. As one drives from Granada toward Jaén, they all eventually give way to olive trees, line after line, as far as the eye can see and however far you travel. Olives and olive oil are the culinary symbols of Andalusia, and the province of Jaén is the greatest producer of olive oil in the world.
Spain is the biggest producer and biggest exporter in the world of olive oil. Much of its exports have been in bulk, and the main market is Italy, where the oil is either consumed or repackaged in beautiful bottles and exported as Italian or Tuscan extra virgin oil. […] Parts of the undulating Andalusian landscape […] are now entirely covered by olive trees.
      The history of olive oil in Spain is ancient […] The Phoenicians are said to have introduced olive oil in Spain and the Greeks to have planted the first trees, but it was the Romans who planted them on an industrial scale over much of the peninsula. The oil was sent to Rome and throughout the empire for lighting, soap, and cosemtic, medicinal, and liturgical purposes; a top-quality oil, olio flos, was for cooking and preserving foods. The Arabs brought more olive tree varieties and ways of cultivating them.
– Claudia Roden, The Food of Spain, p.29, 111, 113, 229

!!!! This reminds me of a mind-shattering moment way back in the last century, when I was admiring various mustard jars in a small but exclusive mustard shop in Dijon. I was amazed to learn from reading the label that the mustard seeds came from Canada!

Suddenly, I find myself wondering where the olives for the Italian extra-virgin olive oil we have in the cupboard comes from. Or at least I THOUGHT it was Italian!

I just looked at the label. No country is mentioned; it just says that the oil has been imported to Canada. And, I have now learned that the company is a Portuguese company! Perhaps the olives come from Portugal.

Still, even though the olive oil might not be Italian, we do like the taste of it.

24 March 2021, 15:26 I got Kathleen Weber’s book “Della Fattoria Bread” out of the library (yay for the Public Library!) and am pretty fascinated.

I know her recipe calls for yeast, but I’m determined to use our Jane Mason starter for this bread. It is just so happy these days! And look! Kathleen Weber has given me permission:
Any bread recipe made with commercial yeast can be converted into a naturally leavened one. That’s exactly what I did when I first started baking this way. I took my favorite reicpes and reworked them […] substituting natural sater (12 percent to start with) for the instant yeast. The natural starter will definitely make a different bread than the yeasted recipe. [p.169]

As if I’ve ever needed permission to just go ahead and mess with the BBB (or any other) recipe…. :whee:

I haven’t done any calculations yet. But I was thinking of just following(ish) Kathleen Weber’s instructions for making a stiff starter (to use instead of the biga) and then going ahead with the rest of the recipe and just omitting adding any extra yeast.

That should work, shouldn’t it?

26 March 2021, 10:31 On the way home from our bike ride yesterday (beautiful day!!) we stopped at the supermarket to get unbleached “no additives” all-purpose flour. Generally, there are 10 kg bag galore. Each costs around $9. There were zero bags of unbleached flour!! On the 10kg shelf, all that was there were bag after bag of “enriched” all-purpose or “no additives” whole wheat flour. We don’t need “no additives” whole wheat flour. We don’t WANT “enriched” all-purpose flour…. The “enrichments” are
Wheat Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riobflavin, Folic Acid, Benzoyl Peroxide, Ascorbic Acid, Amylase
as opposed to the ingredients list for the unbleached “no-additives” all purpose flour:

Unbleached Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid
No Chemical Additives
• No Bleaching Agents, Conditioners
• No Preservatives
• Enriched with B vitamins thiamine, riboflavin and niacin as well as iron
Note: All White Flour must be enriched with 3B Vitamins (Thiamine, Riboflavin and Niacin) as well as Iron and Folic Acid to bring them up to the levels found in Whole Wheat Flour. This is in accordance with Flour Enrichment Regulations of the Canadian Food & Drug Act.

(We could have bought a 2.5kg bag of unbleached “no-additives” all-purpose for $5. That’s twice the price per kilogram!)

Here’s hoping that this is a temporary shortage. Because, we only have enough all-purpose flour to get us through to :stomp: maybe :stomp: the end of next week.

29 March 2021, 07:48 I’ve been really liking Kathleen Weber’s book “Della Fattoria Bread”:
Your hands are your most important tool for bread baking. There is no other way to get a real sense of the dough than with your hands. [p14, Think Like a Baker ~Equipment~]
With a scale in your kitchen, you will no longer need to use measuring spoons and cups. There will be far less to wash, because you can weigh all of the ingredients in the same bowl. And you’ll avoid any degree of uncertainty. Flour, for example, is easily compacted, so one person’s measured cup won’t be the same quantity as somebody else’s. With a scale, accuracy is achieved no matter who is doing the weighing. [p20, Think Like a Baker ~The Importance of Weighing~]
Handling a dough is the only way to learn how it feels and looks — the sheen, the tautness, the springiness. […] Every dough is different, and the only way to really learn is by hands-on experience. The more you work with the dough, the easier it gets, and this is how you’ll develop wisdom in your hands. It’s hard to overstate the pure pleasure of handling dough. […] [I]t’s just irresistible. You have to touch it. That’s a good thing, because each touch provdes information. With every touch, you’re building you baker’s bank of knowledge and instincts. [p41, Courage in the Kitchen ~Getting the Feel of the Dough~]

Every so often though, alarm bells sound in my head as I read. I find myself saying out loud (softly though, so as not to disturb the neigbhours):
» Use a stand mixer for the heavy work? For one loaf of bread? What heavy work?? She just finished saying, “hands are your most important tool for bread baking”!
» If she’s going to use baker’s percentages, why doesn’t she give us the percentages?
» Can that calculation be correct??
» Whoa! That’s a lot of salt.
» etc. etc.

Therefore (see me starting the sentence with “therefore” instead of “so, yeah”? :-) ), in an unprecedented fashion, I’m reading through this month’s recipe in advance. I’m not just skimming and immediately forgetting what I’ve seen. (It’s a miracle, isn’t it?)

First off, I notice that the recipe calls for 100 grams of Biga (page 100). The small batch recipe on page 100 makes 209 grams of biga.

Hmmm, that’s very similar to Carol Field’s layout for her biga recipe on page 101 of “The Italian Baker”, isn’t it?

So. (I can’t help myself! :-) ) Here’s my question: after having explained baker’s percentages, wouldn’t it be a simple thing to state the percentages for the biga, as well as outlining small, medium, and large batch examples?

Personally, I don’t want to have biga lying around to use later. I selfishly want to make the amount I’m going to use for just this recipe. This is just in case I cave in and end up using instant yeast (after all, we bought it; we should probably use it).

Let’s see now. For the small batch biga (209 grams), Kathleen Weber calls for 125 grams all-purpose flour, 1.5 grams instant yeast, and 83 grams water at 27C. Excuse me while I get my calculator out…. [click… click click click… click click… That’s 1.2% instant yeast and 66% water

What?!! 1.2%? Wait a minute! Can that be right? Let’s check it against the others. For the medium batch (417 grams), she calls for 250 grams all-purpose flour, 2.5 grams instant yeast, and 165 grams water to get [click click click… click… click click… click… : 1% instant yeast and 66% water.

Hmmm. Perhaps I’d better check the large batch (835 grams) numbers too. 500 grams all-purpose flour, 5 grams instant yeast, and 330 grams water to get 1% for the yeast again.

Aha. Two against one wins. Here are the bakers percentages for the biga in “Della Fattoria Bread”:
• 100% All-purpose flour
• 1% instant yeast
• 66% water

To make 100 grams of Biga:
• 60 grams AP flour
• 0.6 grams instant yeast
• 40 grams water at 27C (80F)

Ha! I see that in our tattered copy of “The Italian Baker”, in 2013, I pencilled in the percentages for her Biga: unbleached AP flour, 100%; H2O, 79%; dry yeast, 0.2%

That’s significantly different!

p101 The Italian Baker by Carol Field

But now that I’ve worked out the biga percentages, rather than deciding whether to use Kathleen Weber’s or Carol Field’s Biga percentages, I’m thinking it would be more fun to turn our Jane Mason starter into a firm starter.

To make her firm starter, Kathleen Weber calls for 69 grams existing starter, 300 grams flour (11% whole wheat flour and 89% all-purpose), and 153 grams water. Of course, her existing starter is already a firm starter…. But let’s pretend I don’t know that. Also, our Jane Mason starter is finicky and doesn’t really care for being fed with all-purpose flour, so I will use all 100% flour.

Getting the calculator out again, [click… click… click click… click click click… click…

Baker’s percentages (where flour is always 100%) for firm starter:
• 23% existing starter
• 100% whole wheat flour
• 51% water

The olive oil wreath calls for 100 grams of biga and 10 grams instant yeast in the actual dough. I’m guessing I should probably take that into account and create a little bit more firm starter for the bread. Here is my thinking. I hope it’s not faulty.

• 15 grams Jane Mason starter
• 70 grams 100% whole wheat flour
• 35 grams water

For a total of 120 grams firm starter. What do you think?

11:08 Now there’s the matter of the salt. I haven’t looked at ALL the recipes in Kathleen Weber’s book yet, but the salt levels of the ones I have looked at seem on the high side.

The White Sandwich bread calls for a baker’s percentage of 2.2% salt; Aunt Clara’s wheat, white, and pumpernickel bread calls for 2.4% salt; the wheat & barley pullman loaf calls for 2.6% salt; Della’s roll dough calls just 2% salt. And so it goes.

Jumping ahead to the recipe for the Olive Oil wreath, Kathleen Weber calls for 3% salt. 3%!!

It’s my understanding that the salt for bread should be between 1.8% and 2%. This is echoed in various sources. Here are just a few:
The percentage of salt in a formula is usually between 1.5% and 2%. As with water and yeast, noting the salt percentage might lead to some critical thinking. If you see that a recipe has 3% salt, did you make a mistake in your math? Did the baker who wrote the recipe make a mistake? Is s/he not very good at baking flavorful bread, and trying to compensate by using excessive salt? Or is there a good reason for it, which the baker should be able to explain and teach you something? Despite the cat’s bad outcome, curiosity is usually not a bad thing.
– Susan Tenney, Wild Yeast | Baker’s Percentage Tutorial, Part 2
The typical salt percentage for bread dough is 2%
– Gareth Busby, Busby’s Bakery | Bakers Percentages & Bakers Formula | All you need to know
In bread baking the percentage of salt added that is considered normal, ranges from 1.8% to 2.2% of the total amount of flour, depending on the recipe and personal preference. Low salt contents can lead to bland loaves, anything over the 2.2% norm will likely be considered too salty.
– Ed & Marieke, Weekend Bakery | Salt in bread baking: how much and why

Alas, it’s not really that simple to find out why Kathleen Weber calls for so much salt in her olive oil bread. She doesn’t say….

I decided to look at others’ olive oil bread recipes. (I do love to play with my calculator!)

In his book Tartine Bread, Chad Robertson adds 2.5% salt to his olive oil brioche on page 151 (but there are sugar and eggs in that as well), but just 2% salt in his focaccia dough recipe (on page 199) that calls with a good shot of olive oil.

In Ken Forkish’s “Flour Water Salt Yeast”, the Focaccia Genovese on page 252 is also made with a fair amount of olive oil, and calls for 2% salt. But Forkish also sprinkles extra salt on top just before baking.

Carol Field’s recipe for Olive Oil Bread in her wonderful book “The Italian Baker” calls for 2% salt. This was my first serious bread making book. I love that this same book had pretty much the same sort of influence on Kathleen Weber as it did on me! (My copy is in tatters….)
Long before Ed and I thought of starting a bakery, some friends gave me a copy of The italian Baker by Carol Field. I had never seen a baking book like it before […] I hadn’t ever made rustic traditional bread, yet I was instantly drawn to this way of baking. Immediately I made my first pre-ferment, or biga, a starter that is used in many Italian breads. […] [Pane Pugliese] turned into the best thing that had ever come out of my oven. In all my years of baking, I had never seen anything like it. The crust was crunchy and crackly; the interior crumb was golden, chewy, and full of lacy holes. The fragrance was out of this world. From that moment on, I baked day and night, readng through The italian Baker as if it were a novel I couldn’t put down. I was under a spell.
– Kathleen Weber, Della Fattoria Bread, ‘Introduction | The Accidental Bakers’, p.1

Rose Levy Beranbaum writes the following:
The proportion of basic essential ingredients in hearth breads falls in the range of 47 to 89.2 percent water, 0.25 to 2 percent yeast, and 1.3 to 2.8 percent salt.
The proportion of basic essential ingredients in sourdough breads falls into the range of 60.5 to 68 perscent water, 15 to 40 percent dough starter, and 1.7 to 2.5 percent salt.
– Rose Levy Beranbaum, The Bread Bible, p.304, 443

But!!! Rose Levy Beranbaum’s pizza dough, which includes olive oil, calls for adding 2.9% salt!

Hmmmm. What to do. What to do.

How about this? I’ll add 2% salt, as Carol Field does for her olive oil bread, but just before baking, sprinkle on some fleur de sel or one of the other fancy coarsely ground salts we have in the cupboard.

That should work, shouldn’t it?


30 March 2021, 10:49 In a message to the BBBabes, Pat said, “this bread looks like a good candidate for that fleur de sel or similar salt sprinkled on just before baking.” Yes. Good idea! It’s decided. I’ll add 2% baker’s percentage seasalt to the dough itself and the remaining 1% (possibly less) fleur de sel on top just before baking.


17:38 Today, after masking up, and riding our bikes to three different supermarkets in our neighbourhood that usually carry Rogers flour: The first store had Rogers no additive Whole Wheat and Rogers regular all-purpose (laced with alpha-amylase and benzoyle peroxide). The second store – one we rarely enter because it’s in a {brrrrrr} mall – carried had zero Rogers flour on its shelves at all (in spite of the Rogers website stating that this particular chain carries it). Miraculously, at the third store, we were able to get one of the last four 10kg bags of Rogers No Additive Unbleached Flour. The price has gone up a little. But yay. We are so relieved not to have to resort to using all-purpose flour that is laced with alpha amylase, ascorbic acid, and benzoyle peroxide.
Thank you, Rogers Foods Ltd., for continuing to provide unbleached flour that really is unbleached….

17:46 Kathleen Weber calls for adding 10 grams yeast to the actual dough for her Olive Oil Wreath. That certainly does seem excessive, doesn’t it? It’s as if she doesn’t trust her biga.

Because of Kathleen Weber’s praise for Carol Field’s book, “The Italian Baker”, I wonder how many of her recipes were based on them. I just looked in my copy (turning pages very very very carefully because the binding has broken from so much use) to see the following:
Pane all’Olio | Olive Oil Bread
A little good olive oil makes a tasty white bread, especially when the top is sprinkled with granules of sea salt. I am charmed by this shape — little rolls connected in a wreath, each roll broken off and eaten individually. I’ve also seen the bread made into manini little hands, made by crossing two narrow cylinders of dough at a slight angle, so that it looks like a four-fingered hand.
– Carol Field, The Italian Baker, Pani Regionali e Rustico, p.108

The Pane all’Olio recipe calls for a total of 7 grams yeast with 500 grams flour. But it is a same day dough, and doesn’t call for a biga.

However, Carol Field’s recipe for Pan Bigio (p.128) does call for 250 grams Biga plus 3.75 grams (1+1/4 tsp) yeast with 750 grams flour.

So, for 500 grams of flour, it would amount to 2.5 gram yeast but 167 grams of biga. Which is still considerably less yeast.

Perhaps it’s because of all the olive oil that Kathleen Weber uses so much yeast. Or maybe because she adds so much salt?

Oooh, look!! Marcella Hazan included a recipe for Pane all’Olio in her 1978 book “More Classic Italian Cooking”!
This is my favourite everyday bread. It is smooth and tasty, with a fine texture and a sturdy consistency it is a pleasure to sink one’s teeth into. It used to be a very common bread in northern Italy, particularly in some parts of Emilia. The plump oblong loaves were called mantovane, after Mantua. Today people seem to prefer cotton wadding to real bread, and the only ones still making bread of this type are local bakers in a few small towns.
– Marcella Hazan, More Classic Italian Cooking, Pane all’Olio, p.47

Marcella Hazan’s straight dough recipe for her Pane all’Olio calls for “1 package” (7 grams) active dry yeast, about 3 cups (375 grams) unbleached flour, 2 teaspoons (12 grams) salt, and 1 tablespoon (13.5 grams) olive oil.

Let’s see now… (getting my calculator out) that’s:
• 100% flour
• 2% yeast
• 3.2% salt (!!!!)

Well! I know whose Pane all’Olio recipe I’m NOT going to follow!

1 April 2021, 13:42 Now. About the olive oil:
[Y]ou may prefer to use olive oil in place of lard, although it is lard that gives some of these breads and focacce their special taste and texture.
The regional breads of Italy are made only with flour, water, yeast, and commons salt, because that is the law of the land. “Special bread,”another category entirely, may be enfriched with milk, oil, or lard and flavored with the dazzling products of the countryside […] But it is the basic four ingredients
Italy is a country full of pigs — hence all the salamis, sausages, prosciutto, and pancetta. Good pork lard, cheap and plentiful, gives a smooth, moist, creamy texture to doughs and is commonly used in any number of breads, pizzas, focacce, and grissini. In diet-conscious America, where high-cholesterol animal fat is frowned upon, good lard is difficult to find. There is inexpensive lard on some grocery shelves, but I strongly urge you to buy the best pork fat you can and render it at home. Try to get leaf lard, […] rendering it and then [you] can keep it refrigerated in small lots for months.
– Carol Field, Italian Baker, p33, 34, 50

We do have access to good lard from our Portuguese butcher. I might just put some lard into this wreath…. Ha. I’ll substitute it for some of the salt I’m not going to use. :lalala:

By the way: No fooling, because it’s after noon now, and apparently there are no April Fools’ jokes allowed after noon. :-)

2 April 2021, 14:27 I have just finished reading Kathleen Weber’s book, “Della Fattoria Bread” (thank you, Karen, for pointing to it!), and saw the following note at the end of the naan recipe:
I like this naan best made with our Firm Starter (page 156), but if you don’t have any starter ready to go, just make a sponge the night before
– Kathleen Weber, Della Fattoria Bread, ‘Naan’, p.257

Brushing aside my wonder about why she calls for yeast AND firm starter in her naan recipe, it does seem like she is telling us to go ahead in the opposite direction with the Olive Oil Wreath recipe and use the natural starter instead of the yeasted one. Doesn’t it?
Use good extra virgin olive oil for making this wreath. The amount of oil called for is relatively small, but a delicious fruity oil will have a profound effect on the flavor and texture of the finished bread. Shaping it into a wreath and cutting it like an Épi (see page 130) makes it into a gorgeous loaf for the table that’s also easy to pull apart into individual pieces. This bread is chewy but tender and a family favorite.
– Kathleen Weber, Della Fattoria Bread, Olive Oil Wreath, p.128

Getting out my calculator again, I see that at a quarter cup (that’s 4 tablespoons) olive oil for 500 grams of flour, this works out to a baker’s percentage of 12% oil. Carol Field’s recipe for pane all’olio calls for a baker’s percentage of 8% oil plus 2% to 3% lard – still a little less fat than Kathleen Weber’s. But Marcella Hazan’s pane all’olio calls for a quarter the amount of oil.

And Kathleen Weber says that she is using a relatively small amount of oil!

8 April 2021, 08:06 Oh boy! As of last night at midnight, we’re in a province-wide stay-at-home order. What a good thing for us that we like each other and that T is such a great cook!
[T]he 14.5 million people of Ontario get a four-week-long “emergency brake” shutdown that will plunge all 34 public health regions into a period of mass closures
– Lauren O’Neil, blogTO | April Lockdown
Effective Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., the government is issuing a province-wide Stay-at-Home order requiring everyone to remain at home except for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise , or for work that cannot be done remotely. As Ontario’s health care capacity is threatened, the Stay-at-Home order, and other new and existing public health and workplace safety measures will work to preserve public health system capacity, safeguard vulnerable populations, allow for progress to be made with vaccinations and save lives.
– Office of the Premier, Ontario Enacts Provincial Emergency and Stay-at-Home Order, April 7, 2021
Toronto is in a province-wide shutdown Opens in new window and will be subject to a Stay-at-Home order at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, April 8.
• You should stay home as much as possible.
City of Toronto, COVID-19: Guide for Toronto Residents
Ontario has declared its third province-wide state of emergency as the number of COVID-19 cases surge, issuing a stay-at-home order effective 12:01 a.m. Thursday. […] If vaccination supplies stay consistent, Ford said, 40 per cent of Ontario adults should be vaccinated by the end of the four-week stay-at-home order […] The stay-at-home order requires all Ontarians to remain at home except for essential purposes such as grocery shopping, accessing health-care services (including COVID-19 vaccinations), work that cannot be done remotely and exercise close to home with only those from one’s household.
– CBC News, Ontario imposes stay-at-home order as COVID-19 cases surge, 6 April 2021
Canada has emerged as one of the only countries in the world with significant outbreaks of three different variants occurring at the same time — turning us into a giant experiment on the world stage. […] Health officials are imploring Canadians to […] “Stay at home as much as possible, don’t have any sort of non-essential travel — especially vacations going from one province to another.”
– Adam Miller, CBC News | Canada is losing the race between vaccines and variants as the 3rd wave worsens, 8 April 2021
Canada’s most populous region has declared a one-month stay-at-home order and announced plans for mobile vaccine teams to target high-risk workers – including teachers and factory and warehouse workers – as it battles a surge of Covid-19 cases.
– Leyland Cecco, The Guardian | Ontario declares one-month lockdown as it battles surge of Covid cases, 7 Apr 2021

09:34 I’m happy to report that my arm hardly hurts very much at all now after a stranger jabbed it with a needle two days ago. (Once again, I’m not complaining; I just hope that zillions more Canadians will soon be afflicted with the same sort of arm pain.)

But quick!!! Let me put my masked head back under the sand. Because that’s more than enough about this giant elephant in the room, isn’t it?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Our starter is working brilliantly these days. Last night we had the best pebble bread with Indian food. We made regular bread as well, and plan to make sandwiches out of the little bit of curry left over from last night. We’ll load up folding chairs and a little table onto our bikes, ride over to one of the big parks nearby and have a picnic.

9 April 2021, 09:46 What a great day yesterday!

I just realized that I didn’t finish what I started. I haven’t yet figured out what I’m going to do to the rest of the BBB recipe if I make a stiff natural starter. Ooops!!

I got my calculator out again and {click click … click click click … click … } Done!! Finished the job. :-)

12:55 We’ve been fascinated as we watch Stanley Tucci’s show “Searching for Italy”. Today, on the Rome episode, we learned that oil was primarily for the rich; this is why the classic Roman dish “Pasta alla Gricia” contains only guanciale (pigs’ cheeks) for the fat – because its origin is from la cucina povera.
Roman food originates from the simple basics of “la cucina povera” (literally, the poor cuisine). The ingredients used in these traditional dishes were kept, hunted or grown by the very consumers of the meals, and no parts ever went to waste.
– Dalila, Eating Europe | Roman Food Classics: Pasta alla Carbonara & Cacio e Pepe
Nell’antichità l’olio non apparteneva all’ alimentazione dei poveri. La dieta delle persone nella classica l’antichità era principalmente basata sui cereali.
      Il ricco avuto il privilegio di consumare meno cereali e sostituirli con altri alimenti di preferenza soprattutto con olio, latticini e carne. […] La ricca illuminazione artificiale di notte sarebbe dovuta essere un privilegio solo dei ricchi dell’antichità, perchè per essere illuminata una grande casa aveva bisogno di molte lampade e olio, che costavano molto. (In ancient times, oil did not belong to the diet of the poor. The diet of the people in classical antiquity was mainly based on cereals.
      The rich had the privilege of consuming fewer cereals and replacing them with other foods, preferably oil, dairy products and meat. […] The rich artificial lighting at night should have been a privilege only of the rich of antiquity, because to be illuminated a large house needed a lot of lamps and oil, which were very expensive.)

– Anastasia Skiada, Teatro Naturale | L’olio d’oliva, alle origini era un alimento per ricchi e nobili

In view of that, I like the idea of substituting some of the olive oil with bacon fat (along the lines of Carol Field’s recipe for pane all’olio) on page 108 of “The Italian Baker”. She calls for 45 grams (10 tsp) olive oil and 8.5 to 13 grams (2 to 3 tsp) lard with 500 grams (total) flour – around 75% olive oil and 25% lard.

Hmmm. I wonder if we have any Italian coarse salt in our stash of various fancy salts…. Remind me to look.

Also, because of the fat content, I’m thinking maybe we should make just half the recipe.

10 April 2021, 17:23 I love Toronto! It seems most people have completely embraced the notion that we must stay at home. We rode our bikes today on empty roads, except for the several family groups – all but the dogs, masked – out walking. The willow trees are blossoming, and there were crocusses, daffodils and scylla galore. In several places, the scylla covered whole lawns.


11 April 2021, 09:03 I was going to make a firm starter. I really was. But last night as I got out the bowl to make the leavener for this month’s BBB bread, I suddenly couldn’t bring myself to making a drastic change that may cause failure. My shattered nerves just can’t quite take it on top of STILL having to stay at home – even as nice as home is.

Yah, so ( :-) – look what I’ve learned from listening to various scientists talking about vaccine efficiency on radio interviews :-) ), I made our usual liquid starter. What a good thing that BBBabes are expected to make changes….

I also decided not to bother halving the recipe. I’ll cut the dough in half – making a boule out of one half and the wreath out of the other half.

Recently, because of reading so many bread books over the last year, I’ve started putting the leavener into the water before adding it to the dough. I love the way it floats to the top of the water! Then, before pouring it into the dry ingredients, I’m reaching in and squooshing the sludge around with my hand to loosen it. I don’t know if it’s really making any difference at all to the final loaves, but we are very very happy with our bread lately.

It's Floating!

11:37 Folding in all that oil, bacon fat, and salt was not easy.

It sure smells delicious though.

14:49 I have now tried to fold in all that oil twice – it’s getting closer…. That really is a LOT of oil! (I wonder what Kathleen Weber considered to be a large amount.) Aside from that, the dough looks great.

17:27 I have now shaped the boule and the wreath. I am VERY challenged with creating the wheat sheaf style! The dough is quite soft and floppy….

Oh oh….
Read through the recipe completely at least once, or even two or three times.
– Kathleen Weber, The Della Fattoria Bread Book | The process: Step 1. Organizing

Oh sure. I might learn to do this one day. :lalala:

Apparently, I was supposed to slash the wreath just BEFORE putting it in the oven.

Apparently, I should also have been paying attention more closely so the dough didn’t over-rise….

19:14 Baking took a little longer than expected. Both the boule and wreath are now just out of the oven….

One of these things is not like the other
One of these things just doesn’t belong!

Wreath and Boule

Rats!! (Hint: the thing that doesn’t belong ISN’T the boule.)

Foolproof recipe, eh?

Let’s play the Glad Game: I’m GLAD I failed at this, because it proves I’m not a fool. Or something. :stomp:

At least the bread smells good….

14 April 2021, 12:23 Shriek!!! We have almost finished eating the Olive Oil Bread now as I type up this post. I just realized that my arithmetic skills (or lack thereof) caused me to add 35 grams too much water, rather than to subtract 35 grams! No wonder I had trouble scoring! :stomp: :stomp:

I have made the correction in the recipe below for next time.

We tasted the ring the next morning with thinly sliced old cheddar and black currant jam.

Meglio nero pane che nera fame (Better dark bread than the dark despair of hunger).

Sure, the bread isn’t pitch black. But. Chewy, isn’t it?

Olive Oil Wreath with Cheddar Cheese
Wild Olive Oil Wreath  (BBB April 2021)

It was not easy to break apart. We were a little worried that we might break our teeth on the wreath’s crust. One of us, who shall remain nameless, was very worried.

Teeth intact, we made our decrees: I liked it. Alas, T was less than enthusiastic about the wreath but said he would reserve judgment until he had tasted the boule.

For dinner, we used some of the boule to make spectacularly good croutons for salad. Then the next morning, we toasted slices of boule to serve with white bean soup. This bread is really delicious as toast! Both of us agree. :-) :-)

Thank goodness for boules!

Olive Oil Boule
Olive OIl Boule

Thank you, Karen! This has been mega fun.

Here is the April 2021 BBB recipe that we were given. And here is what I did to it:

Wild Olive Oil Wreath and Boule
based on Kathleen Weber’s recipe for ‘Olive Oil Wreath’ in her book, “Della Fattoria Bread”, and ‘Pane all’olio’ in “The Italian Baker” by Carol Field

This bread is chewy but tender and a family favorite. – Kathleen Weber, Della Fattoria Bread, ‘Olive Oil Wreath’, p.128

makes one medium-sized wreath and one medium-sized boule
(or one large version of either shape)


  • kitchen spoon (about 15 grams) Jane Mason whole wheat starter from fridge
  • 70 grams “no additives” 100% whole wheat flour [the BBB recipe calls for using only “all-purpose flour” in both biga and dough]
  • 70 grams water, at room temperature


  • flour [the BBB recipe calls for “500 grams all-purpose flour”]
       » 500 grams unbleached ‘no additives’ all-purpose flour
       » 10 grams wheat germ
  • 250 grams water, at body temperature (divided – use about 20 grams to mix in with salt) [for the photos on this page, because I’m challenged, I added a total of 320 grams water. The BBB recipe calls for “285 grams water” along with about 35 grams water that is in the biga]
  • all of the above leavener [the BBB recipe calls for “100 grams biga”]
  • ZERO yeast [the BBB recipe calls for “10 grams (1 tablespoon) instant yeast”]
  • 45 grams extra virgin olive oil
  • 15 grams bacon fat
  • 10 grams seasalt [the BBB recipe calls for “15 grams (2 1/2 teaspoons) salt”]

topping for the wreath

  • fleur de sel, to taste
  1. leavener: In the evening of the day before making the wreath and boule: Put the starter, flour and water into a smallish bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon until the flour is stirred in well. Cover the bowl with a plate and set aside overnight in the oven with only the light turned on (in April, it’s still quite cool in the kitchen).
  2. Check the starter: In the morning of the day you will be making the bread: If a small forkful of the leavener floats in a small bowl of cool room temperature water, you can go ahead and mix the dough. (If the leavener does not float – it may have has used up all its food in the night, stir in 10 grams each of whole wheat flour and water (ie: even amounts by weight) and cover with a plate and leave for another hour or so. Check to see if it’s floating. If it is not, wait a little longer. When it floats, proceed with mixing the dough.
  3. Mix the dough Sift the all-purpose flour into a large mixing bowl, and stir in the wheat germ. Weigh 230 grams water into a container large enough to hold at least twice the amount (I use a 750 yoghurt container. Check the water on the inside of your wrist to make sure it is baby bottle temperature, then add the leavener. Be thrilled that the leavener is still floating. Reach into the container with one hand to gently squeeze and loosen the leavener in the water. Pour the liquid into the flour. Use a dough whisk or wooden spoon to mostly mix in the dry ingredients. Don’t worry if there is a little flour still at the bottom of the bowl. Let the mixture rest for 5 or 10 minutes. Then add all of the leavener, and using the dough whisk or your hands, mix everything together to make a rough dough. If the dough seems a little dry, put in a tiny splash of water. (The whole wheat flour in the starter might make things drier – whole wheat flour is more absorbent than all-purpose flour.) Cover the bowl with a plate and leave for about 30 minutes in the oven making sure that only the light is turned on.
  4. Add the salt and oil: Put 10 grams salt, the olive oil, bacon fat, and 20 grams water into a little bowl. Swirl it around before adding the super-saturated salty water and oil to the top the dough.
  5. Kneading: Use one of your hands to squoosh the salt into the dough; use the other hand to steady the bowl – this way you always have a clean hand. At first the dough might be a bit messy and seem like it’s coming apart. Persevere. Suddenly, it will seem more like dough than separated glop. Keep folding it over onto itself until it is relatively smooth. Don’t be too concerned if the dough still seems quite oily. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave to rest for about 30 minutes.
  6. Stretching and folding Turn the bowl as you fold and re-fold the dough into the center until the dough is smooth. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave in the oven with only the light turned on for about 30 minutes.
  7. Stretching and folding again: Repeat the folding step about 2 more times at 30 minute intervals. You’ll notice that after each time, the dough will feel significantly smoother . After the final time of folding, cover with the plate, and leave the dough until it is smooth, shiny, and is showing signs of beginning to rise. (Again, do as I say, not as I did. If there is too much water in the dough, the oil is very difficult to mix in.)
  8. Pre-shaping: Scatter a light dusting of all-purpose flour on the board and gently place the dough on the flour. Cut the dough into two even pieces. Wash and dry the bowl. Fold each piece of dough over in half, gently patting off any extra flour that might be there. Continue folding in half until each one is shaped into a ball. Cover eacj dough ball with overturned clean mixing bowls to let rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
  9. Prepare the brotform for the boule: Liberally coat the insides of a brot-form with rice flour.
  10. Shaping:
    • boule: Scatter a light dusting of flour on top of one of the dough balls. Lightly pat it to make sure there is no excess flour. With the palms of your hands, gently press the ball down to form it into a disc that is 3 to 4 centimeters deep. Without breaking the skin on the bottom, use the dough scraper to fold the dough in half. Turn the dough a quarter turn and continue folding until a ball is created. Now carefully put the shaped loaf seam-side UP, pinching the seam again for good measure, into the brotform.
    • wreath: Cover a pizza pan with parchment paper. (Kathleen Weber suggests using an oiled, large round cast-iron griddle.) Scatter a light dusting of flour on top of the remaining dough ball. Lightly pat it to make sure there is no excess flour. With the palms of your hands, gently press the ball down to form it into a disc that is 3 to 4 centimeters deep. Without breaking the skin on the bottom, fold the dough in half. Pinch the edges shut. Keep folding and pinching in half until you have a rather wide rope. Place the rope seam side down around the edges of the pizza pan and pinch the ends together to form a ring. Once again, do as I say, not as I did: don’t even think about getting the scissors out to create the épi design!

    Cover with overturned mixing bowls and let sit for an hour or so to allow the shaped breads to almost double. “Almost” is the key here….

  11. Preheat the oven: If you have been proofing the bread in the oven with only the light on, take it out NOW and put it on the counter! (Don’t ask!) Place a baking stone on the middle rack, along with two large stainless steel mixing bowls (or deep cast iron frying pan) that can be used as a hats for the boule and wreath. Turn the oven to 450F.
  12. Scoring and Baking:
    • To know when it’s time to bake, flour your index finger and gently but firmly press it on the side of the boule. If the dough springs back immediately, recover the bread and leave it on the counter for another 15 minutes of so. If the dough gradually returns back after being pressed, the bread is ready to bake.
    • Make sure the oven is thoroughly preheated before proceeding.
      • For the wreath: Using kitchen scissors, cut through the dough “with scissors held at a 60-degree angle“, making sure not to cut right through both edges. Lift the cut piece up and pull it over to one side. Lift the next cut piece up and pull it to the opposite side to create the wheat-sheaf pattern.
        With a careful hand, sprinkle fleur de sel on top.
      • For the boule: Using a lame, sharp knife, and/or scissors, score the boule in a pattern you like.
    • Use a peel to put the boule onto one side of the hot stone. Immediately cover it with an overturned stainless steel mixing bowl or deep sided cast iron pan. Now place the pizza pan with the wreath onto the other side of the stone. Cover it with an overturned stainless steel mixing bowl. Bake for about 30 minutes with the hats in place, then remove them. Be thrilled at the oven spring as you quickly close the oven door to bake for another 30 minutes, or until the bread is beautifully golden and sounds hollow when rapped on the bottom.
    • Cooling: When the wreath and boule have finished baking, remove them from the oven and allow them to completely cool on a footed rack before serving; bread is still cooking internally when first removed from the oven! If you wish to serve warm bread (of course you do), reheat it after it has cooled completely: To reheat any uncut bread, turn the oven to 400F for 5 minutes or so. Turn the oven OFF. Put the bread into the hot oven for about ten minutes. This will rejuvenate the crust and warm the crumb perfectly.


Leavener: For all but one of her sourdough bread recipes in her book, Kathleen Weber advocates using a “firm starter” (51% hydration), building it up with 69 grams existing starter, 153 grams water, 270 grams unbleached all-purpose flour, and 30 grams whole wheat flour, then to THROW AWAY all but 69 grams for subsequent feedings. I was going to build our 100% hydration starter to turn it into a firm starter (working from percentages to make a little more than 100 grams firm starter), without throwing anything away.
To make 120 grams of firm starter:
• 15 grams Jane Mason starter
• 70 grams 100% whole wheat flour
• 35 grams water

(If this firm starter is used, then it is necessary to add 35 mor grams water to the actual dough, which is what I did by mistake with our liquid starter. Because I am incapable of reading my own notes.)

At the last minute, operating on the maxim, If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it I decided it was too much work – it was late at night…. Ms. Weber also claims that “it is difficult to make a starter in small amounts” and to be sure “that there’s enough of it to really get going and be active“. Shhhhh!!! Don’t tell our starter about this. It might start demanding to be fed more and have to be moved into a larger container!

The leavener listed above is made with our 100% hydration whole wheat starter. It took about 5 days to create. (See our take on Jane Mason’s Natural Starter made with Wheat Flour.) Note that instead of wild-yeast, the BBB recipe calls for using a “100 grams (1/4 cup plus 3 1/2 tablespoons) of the biga“, as well as adding yeast “10 grams (1 tablespoon) instant yeast” to the actual dough. The extra amount of yeast seems completely unnecessary.
To make 100 grams of Biga:
• 60 grams AP flour
• 40 grams water (at room temperature)
• 0.7 grams instant yeast
Put all the ingredients into a medium sized bowl. Use a wooden spoon to stir until all the flour has been mixed in. You may have to resort to using your hands to get the last bit of flour incorporated. Kathleen Weber writes, “It will be sticky.” Cover the bowl with a plate and leave at room temperature (or in the oven with only the light on) overnight.

Please note that all but one of the recipes I looked at called for using commercial yeast.

In Joe Ortiz’ book “The Village Baker”, there is the following note (I saw the library copy of this book only after making the BBB olive oil wreath):
[The Italian village baker] uses a biga, or yeast starter, instead of sourdough […] One day a baker a the Due Fratelli bakery in Milan descirbed to me a method for making lievito naturale (or natural yeast) […]. This showed me that today’s Italian bakers — though they themselves do not usi it — are well aware of the ancient methods of sourdough bread baking. […] Sourdough is rarely seen in the Italian village bakery and its replacement, the biga, has not only helped to give interesting textrues and flavors but also has helped bakers to make breads in a shorter time.
– Joe Ortiz, The Village Baker
| classic regional breads from Europe and America (1993), Chapter 5: The Breads of Italy, p.136

water: Do as I say, not as I did! As I was typing this up, I realized that instead of subtracting 35 grams from the dough section of the recipe (because of adding it to make a liquid starter rather than a firm one), I added it. Hence, the resulting dough was too slack. Way too slack. The BBB recipe calls for a total water amount of 325 grams. (The dough I made, with the same amount of flour as the BBB recipe, contained a total water amount of 390 grams. That’s almost a quarter cup more. Plus the liquid from all that oil. :lalala: )

Salt: Kathleen Weber suggests that people use “fine gray salt” from Brittany for all their bread. Grey salt is indeed really lovely. But it is not cheap. We have coarse grey salt from Brittany that we use to preserve lemons. We also have coarse Camargue salt that we use as a finishing salt. But for bread, we use fine seasalt. Happily, Kathleen Weber states the importance of weighing salt, rather than measuring it by the spoonful, writing:
We always weigh salt because the grains vary in size and therfore in weight. […] For a small amount of salt, the differences shouldn’t be significant — but if you start ot double and triple recipes, it’s even more important to weigh.
The Olive Oil Wreath recipe calls for what I consider to be way too much salt: “15 grams fine gray salt” for 500 grams all-purpose flour. This comes to a baker’s percentage of 3%. 2% would be 10 grams of salt. Use your own judgement. If you like really salty food, then of course use the full amount. Otherwise, by all means, reduce it.
• Salt acts as a natural antioxidant in the dough and not only adds taste but especially helps bring out the flavors and aromas present in the flour and other ingredients.
• Next to its role in boosting the flavor of your bread, salt plays a role in tightening the gluten structure and adding strength to your dough. It helps the loaf to hold on to the carbon dioxide gas that is formed during fermentation, supporting good volume.
• Salt slows down fermentation and enzyme activity in dough. The salt crystals draw water away form their environment (salt is ‘hygroscopic’). When salt and yeast compete for water, salt wins and the yeast is slowed down.
• Because of its moisture maintaining properties, salt can prevent bread from getting stale but it can also (this is especially true in humid environments) absorb moisture from the air and leave you with soft crusts and soggy bread.
In bread baking the percentage of salt added that is considered normal, ranges from 1.8% to 2.2% of the total amount of flour, depending on the recipe and personal preference. Low salt contents can lead to bland loaves, anything over the 2.2% norm will likely be considered too salty.
– Ed & Marieke, Weekend Bakery | Salt in bread baking: how much and why

covering the rising dough: On another note, I cannot stop being distracted by the call for so much plastic wrap and oil! This particular dough has quite a lot of oil, and yet, Kathleen Weber says to “lightly oil” the rising bowl for the dough, as well as to cover the bowl with “a lightly oiled or sprayed piece of plastic wrap”.

Earlier in her book, she justifies her prodigal behaviour:
It may sound odd, but plastic wrap is really important in bread baking. It helps keep dough from drying out and forming a skin during its first proof and, in some instances, during its second. Make sure to oil the plastic wrap lightly or spray it with cooking spray before covering the dough. This prevents the dough from sticking to the plastic wrap and deflating when you remove the wrap. You will have larger pieces to work with if you buy a larger roll from a local warehouse store.
– Kathleen Weber, Della Fattoria Bread | Think Like a Baker: Ingredients, Equipment & Process

This DOES sound odd. To me, it makes zero sense. A plate, or overturned mixing bowl does the trick just as well. This way, there is no wasted oil, and no need to even have that roll of plastic wrap taking up valuable room in the kitchen.

oil: Carol Field calls for both olive oil and lard in her Pane all’Olio. We opted to use bacon fat in place of the lard. Kathleen Weber’s Olive Oil Wreath calls for a “relatively small” {cough} amount of oil: “60 grams (1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons) extra virgin olive oil” with “500 grams (3 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon) all purpose flour“. She also suggests that the baking pan should be “fairly generously” oiled. This dough has what I consider to be quite a lot of oil. I chose to use a parchment papered pizza pan instead – because we do not have a large enough flat cast-iron griddle.

The recipe for Pane all’Olio in Joe Ortiz’ book “The Village Baker” is a straight dough recipe (ie: no biga or preferment) and does call for a relatively small amount of oil. Here is his ingredients list for making “1 mano or 12 small rolls”: 2+1/2 teaspoons (7 grams) active dry yeast, 1/2 teaspoon (3.5 grams) honey, 1 cup (240 grams) water, 1 tablespoon (13.5 grams) olive oil, 3 cups (375 grams) unbleached white flour, and 1+1/2 teaspoons (9 grams) salt. (Interesting to note that this is 2.4% salt. Perhaps Italians – unless they are from Tuscany – traditionally like more salt in their bread than we do.)


Olive Oil Wreath with Cheddar Cheese and Black Currant Jam

As good as this bread was, next time I make it, I’ll reduce the amount of oil considerably. I will also put in the correct amount of water….

Bread Baking Babes BBB: Let's Keep BakingOlive Oil Wreath

Karen is hosting April 2021’s Bread Baking Babes’ project. She wrote:

We are making an olive oil wreath […] This recipe is adapted from Della Fatoria Bread by Kathleen Weber. They are the bakery that first supplied bread to The French Laundry and the Sonoma Mission Inn. While this loaf is yeasted, […] [f]eel free to convert this one to sourdough if you prefer.
Use hearty fruity flavored extra virgin olive oil. […] The loaf is shaped into a wreath and then cut like an épi.
– Karen, in message to BBBabes

We know you’ll want to make an olive oil wreath too! To receive a Bread Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site: make the bread in the next couple of weeks and post about them (we love to see how your bread turns out AND hear what you think about it – what you didn’t like and/or what you liked) before the 29 April 2021. If you do not have a blog, no problem; you can also post your picture(s) to Flickr (or any other photo sharing site) and record your thoughts about the bread there. Please remember to contact the Kitchen of the Month to say that your post is up.

Please note that it’s not enough to post about your bread in the Facebook group. Because of the ephemeral nature of Facebook’s posts, your FB post may be lost in the shuffle. Please make sure to directly contact the kitchen of the month if you want to be included in the BBBuddy roundup.

For complete details about this month’s recipe, the BBB and how to become a BBBuddy, please read:

Please take a look at the other BBBabes’ April 2021 olive oil wreaths:




7 responses to “Wild Olive Oil Wreath (BBB April 2021)

  1. Kelly (A Messy Kitchen)

    Lol, that was a trip! We both messed up the calculations on adjusting things, you caught the 100g biga that I missed. Whatever you do, do not go down the ‘olive oil adulteration’ rabbit hole. I did reduce the olive oil in mine to 50g. For one thing, that oil is expensive! (Oh, I should go note that.) I did use the full 15g of salt and while the rolls tasted perhaps saltier than some other breads, they did not taste “salty” per se. Mine were quite chewy and it is a bit warm right now for soup or stew. Boo. LOVE the crumb on your boule!

    edit 16 April 2021, 18:43: Alas, your warning came too late, Kelly. I’ve already been down the ‘olive oil adulteration’ rabbit hole; I’m still trying to forget what I read! And yes! Olive oil IS expensive! I’ll definitely reduce the amount next time. The dough was absolutely swimming in it. – Elizabeth

  2. Tanna (MyKitchenInHalfCups)

    Good Golly Miss Molly … I don’t know where to begin … or end for that matter! Perhaps what it all boils down to again is bread/dough just wants to be bread!
    “11:37 Folding in all that oil, bacon fat, and salt was not easy.” ….did you really add bacon fat as well?
    Really like the boule! AND I love Meglio nero pane che nera fame (Better dark bread than the dark despair of hunger).

    edit 16 April 2021, 18:46: Isn’t “Meglio nero pane che nera fame” the best?! It reminds me of all the burnt toast we ate as children, after Mum told us it would give us curly hair. And, yes, I really did add bacon fat. I couldn’t taste it, but T said he could. He really liked its addition. – Elizabeth

  3. Elle (Feeding My Enthusiasms)

    You can tell from the crumb of the boule that you made a really lovely artisan bread…that was a wet dough. The wreath may not look like the Della Fattoria one, but it looks delicious and crusty. Love the addition of bacon grease, but, perhaps, the best part of the post is your rabbit holes…I love the way your mind works.

    edit 17 April 2021, 08:49: Thank you, Elle. The wreath was certainly crusty, and once we got our teeth through it, it was delicious too. But as fun as the rabbit holing is, it’s a shame that I don’t pay closer attention to the bread itself so that I don’t make such colossal mistakes. :stomp: – Elizabeth

  4. Karen (Karen's Kitchen Stories)

    Your reference to “so” made me laugh so hard!! I love the crumb on the boule, and of course your post is hysterical. Thanks for baking with me.

    edit 17 April 2021, 08:52: So, yah… I was like hoping you would manage to see that in the maze of all those words, because it was just for you, Karen! Thank you again for a wonderful adventure. – Elizabeth

  5. Cathy (Bread Experience)

    Thanks for taking us on another fun adventure in Elizabeth’s kitchen. I don’t think your bake was a fail. You get kudos for converting this to sourdough. The crumb on the boule looks incredible! And I agree with Pat about the wet dough.

    edit 18 April 2021, 15:41: It was my pleasure, Cathy. Especially when we turned some of the bread into the best croutons ever for salad. Good olive oil will do that. (There’s always a silver lining.) – Elizabeth

  6. Katie Zeller (Thyme for Cooking)

    You need to put your calculator away…. Although, I’ve been down that rabbit hole a few times. I’m surprised we didn’t see each other.
    Nice bread, BTW

    edit 18 April 2021, 15:48: If you were in the crossing rabbit hole, I sure hope that I wasn’t so busy punching numbers into my calculator that I didn’t see you there, Katie! And, are you crazy? Put my calculator away?! Noooooooo!! That would mean I would have to do the arithmetic in my head. Which seems to be just asking for huge(r) amounts of trouble! – Elizabeth


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