One bowl recipe and no mixer needed for this quick bread with beer and olives. Now everyone can be a baker!
This bread was a revelation. The first time we met was at a family dinner, and it was brought there by my aunt, along with some one pan greek mini meat loaves. She informed me that she had seen the recipe in a magazine, it was very easy and it took her only a few minutes to prepare. After tasting it I knew that I would be making it the next day. This bread uses some beer and olives to become more flavorful and tasty. The beer gives it a malty smell with a hint of caramel and dried fruits (although this will depend also from the type of beer you’ll use) and the olives contribute into a nice speckled interior with little pickle-ish bursts. If I start nibbling it when still warm, it’s almost impossible for me to stop! I’m a bread guy-can you tell?
I used to have some prejudice about no yeast bread. I mean, can you compare it with the texture and flavor of a yeasty bread? The crackling noise of the exterior, the crunchy crust and the soft, chewy interior with various sized holes are pretty tough to beat. Moreover, breads with yeast take time to rise and mature. This gives them the opportunity to develop the gluten (texture) and the complexity of flavor due to the hardworking living microorganisms that eat the carbohydrates of the flour. This is called fermentation. This long process combined with a good kneading ensures that the bread will be fresh for a longer period of time and won’t go stale quickly. A no yeast bread lacks all of that, hence my prejudice. Luckily, this recipe showed me that we have to be open-minded inside the kitchen!
My aunt used self raising white flour while I use one part white flour and two parts whole wheat flour. And if I remember correctly, hers must have been a bit fluffier than mine. With the whole wheat flour the bread came out a little dense, with small pockets of air and very moist. Because it wasn’t very fluffy, I thought that the next day would be stale. But guess what, it wasn’t. Another good surprise! Though I have to admit that, eating it at the same day as baked is highly suggested. After all, this is the whole purpose of this recipe: a bread that you can whip up in no time and after 45 minutes in the oven you have it freshly baked and steaming on your kitchen table. Maybe you had some unexpected guests. Maybe you couldn’t go buy one. Maybe you just wanted an excuse to bake something right here, right now. This is your answer.
If you’re up to, you can skip the olives and add some grated cheese instead, or add both. Olives and crumbled feta cheese with some oregano will also be a nice combination. Or even some sun dried tomatoes… Cut it into some thick slices and dip it into the sauce of this delicious 30 minute sausage and peppers stew or eat it with this one pan baked fish with vegetables. The possibilities are endless here! And don’t get me started about the sandwiches you can make with it…
Note: My aunt’s recipe required a can of beer, but I used half beer and half water since I found the taste of beer a bit overwhelming. If you don’t want to drink the beer you’ll have left, you can of course use it all (and no water). Usually its taste grows stronger after the second day.
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups bread flour
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2/3 cup beer
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup sliced olives
- Some extra whole wheat flour for dusting
- Preheat oven at 350 °F (175°C) and grease a pan with olive oil (or other oil)
- In a bowl mix all of the dry ingredients with a fork (use 1 cup of bread flour and set aside the other 1/2 cup). Add the liquids and mix well with the spoon. You should get a soft, pliable dough. If the dough is very sticky, add the rest of the flour 2 tablespoons at a time.
- Grease your hands with some olive oil and form a ball with the dough. Don't knead it or anything, just form a ball. Place it onto the greased pan and sprinkle with some flour. With a wet knife score the surface of the dough.
- Bake for 45 minutes (middle rack) or until well browned and when you tap it you can hear a hollow sound. Let in a rack to cool.