Olive bread in a thunderstorm


A couple of weekends ago I really fancied baking something a little different for lunch (not the usual while loaf I make for breakfasts). I rather had the idea for something with olives in. I had recently finished ‘Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery’ by Jenny Colgan (Mt Polbearne no.2) and remembered that this was one of the recipes in the back.

I had woken up at 7am on a Sunday morning, bounced out of bed, put on my ‘happy’ playlist and set to work with the mixer. The first thing that puzzled me was that it said 1tbsp of salt. Really? tbsp not tsp, but yes I made sure that I read the recipe several times and followed it to the letter. One minor oversight may have been not rinsing the olives before adding them to the mixture (they were in brine). It took longer than I thought for the kneading, staying sticky for a long time.

Anyway the dough was proving and despite it being morning it had been getting darker and darker and the rain started pouring down. I was in the middle of the washing up and ‘holding out for a hero’ was blearing out of the speakers, when suddenly the thunder rolled (quite appropriate dramatic timing really).

Now the point of this story is that by mid afternoon the dough had still not risen and so my question is “can bread rise in a thunderstorm?”. I know that atmospheric pressure will affect the proving process but the exact physics I am unclear of. My first fear was that all the salt had killed the yeast, but my failsafe of heating the oven to 50c then turning it off and putting the bread inside did make it rise enough to bake on the second prove.

The bread was really nice, but really really salty and i recommend it best dipped in tomato soup. It had quite a dense spongey texture and I don’t know if its supposed to be like that but I can see next time I make it.


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