Sunday, July 5, 2009

All Too Easy: Olive Oil Salt Bread, Real Croutons

The very first bread in the Bread chapter of How to Cook Everything, Olive Oil Salt Bread can be made in the food processor, takes no time to rise, and doesn't even really need to be kneaded. It has a soft yet dense texture, if that makes any sense at all--it's kind of like a biscuit.

Olive Oil Bread

All-purpose flour, salt, baking powder, water and of course olive oil are combined in the food processor til they form a ball, then popped into an oiled 8-inch skillet or baking pan, covered, and put into the oven at 375 degrees. After 20 minutes, take you off the cover and sprinkle some more salt on the top, and then 25 minutes later you have some really delicious fresh baked bread. You can also do it on a griddle, which I will have to try.


This stuff doesn't last long, only about a day. I had some left over and getting stale quick, so I tried out Bittman's recipe for Real Croutons. I've never been into croutons, really, but this is another area in which Bittman seems to want to change my ways: "The difference between real, homemade croutons and the packaged variety cannot be overstated; the former are delicious, reasonably healthful, and entirely addictive." Basically, oil goes in a skillet, heats up, in goes some cubed day old bread, a little salt and pepper, and let it brown. That's it; he says you can store them for about a day. Bittman's right on this one: they don't resemble the croutons you'd buy in a store at all.
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