Olive and rosemary flavoured bread baked in a cast iron pot is a favourite part of Sunday’s lazy lunch. It is synonymous with the iconic braai and braaivleis and there are as many versions of this bread as there are home bakers. Make sure you have plenty of butter, home-made jams and some cheese. There is no easier way to relive the frontier lifestyle of baking over an open fire.
Olive and Rosemary Pot BreadCourse: Sides, LunchDifficulty: Moderate
Bread baked in a cast iron pot or “Dutch oven” is popular as a side dish to braai vleis or grilled meat. It could be made with brown or white bread flour and is served with butter, cheese, jam, golden syrup or honey. It is best eaten warm not too long after it was baked.
1 kilogram brown bread flour
10 grams dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
200 grams black olives, stones removed
3 table stones drippings or butter
850 millilitres water
- Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add drippings and rub through with finger tips. Add the water and knead until a soft dough is formed. Put the dough in a well greased bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and let it proof until double in size.
- Cut the destoned olives in half. Set aside about one-quarter to use as garnish on top of the bread and chop the remaining three-quarters into rough chunks.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, knock it down and add the chopped rosemary and chopped olives. Mix through. Shape balls of dough roughly the size of a tennis ball. Arrange these in a well-greased cast iron pot. Make sure that the entire bottom of the pot is covered. Add the remaining olives on top of the dough balls, and a few twigs rosemary if you like. Cover with tight-fitting lid and put in a warm place until the dough had proofed to double the original size.
- If you are going to bake the bread in the oven, you need to preheat your oven to 200 ℃. Then add the pot and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the bread is done.
- If you are going to bake the bread outside on an open fire wait until the coals are nice and hot. Make sure that about half a spade full are spread out underneath the pot. The pot should be about 15 cm above the coals. Add a small amount of coals to the lid of the pot and spread these evenly. Keep an eye on the bread you do not want to burn it. If you see smoke from the pot, something is burning. Cook over low heat for about one hour. Test with a skewer or cake tester after one hour to see if the bread is cooked through. It should have a nice brown crust.