This recipe makes two loaves with enough left-over dough to use as ferment for the next mix. Olive oil dough is very wet and hard to mix by hand. If you do have an electric mixer now is the time to use it. Automated mixing is easier and will give you consistently better results, but you will gain a better appreciation of how the dough is changing and developing if you mix a dough by hand first. Letting the dough rest between mixes and adding an additional knock back, will help improve your chances of a well-developed dough.
Once you have mixed the basic olive oil dough you can also use it to make paninis, flatbreads, schiacciata, grissini or the chorizo and thyme rolls on the following pages.
To mix the olive oil dough by hand, put the flour and yeast in a large bowl and pour in the water. Use a spoon to mix together until well combined, then set aside for 10 minutes. Add the oil, milk and salt, mixing well. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and start kneading. Knead for 10 minutes, then allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Add the ferment (if using) and knead for a further 10 minutes.
If you are using an electric mixer, put all of the ingredients, except the ferment, into the bowl of the mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix on low speed for 2 minutes, then increase the speed to high and continue mixing for 5 minutes. If using the ferment break it up with your hands and scatter into the bowl. Continue mixing on low speed for 1 minute, then increase the speed to high and mix for 5 minutes, or until well combined — this may take an extra couple of minutes — the dough should come away from the edges of the bowl and have a silky complexion when done.
Place the dough in a container that has been sprayed with olive oil, cover with plastic wrap and set aside to bulk prove for 1½ hours. Knock back the dough every 30 minutes during the bulk prove — this means you will need to knock back the dough twice in total.
To knock back the dough, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and press out into a rectangle, about
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Press the dough evenly into a
Place the loaves on baking trays lined with baking paper. Dust with
Preheat the oven to its highest temperature. Place the loaves in the oven and spray the oven with water.
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