In continuing the tradition, this week’s bread is another case of recipe piracy. The bakery at Tria Market, an upscale grocery store about half a mile from our offices, makes a very good loaf of sourdough with olives and herbs mixed in. I’m pretty sure the olives are Kalamatas, but I can’t really tell what herbs are in it.
The first time I tried to recreate it a couple months ago, I used dried thyme, oregano, and basil, but I didn’t use enough. I doubled the amounts for my second try, but still the herb flavor wasn’t there.
This week, I think I hit on the secret. I had some leftover olives from a Greek salad I made over the weekend, so I roughly chopped them and then went and picked some thyme from my pot of herbs outside (the basil plant is still in pretty bad shape, so it went untouched). Evidently the key to getting herb flavor in herb breads is to use fresh. It must be something about the leaves getting bruised and releasing their oils during kneading, but the thyme flavor suffuses the whole loaf this time. Plus, I left the olives in bigger pieces, so you get a nice satisfyingly salty and oily bite in every slice. Four out of five stars.
Too bad the bread was overshadowed by the two dozen Krispy Kremes that were brought in for a coworker’s birthday today. Are sourdough doughnuts possible? Am I completely nuts for even thinking this?