Saturday, September 02, 2006

Mantovana Olive Oil Bread

Saturday, September 2, 2006

After this bread, I have only 21 breads left to bake to meet my goal. Only 21! Just a year ago, the idea of baking 21 kinds of bread in one year would have seemed laughable to me. And now I'm thinking that 21 seems like a breeze. As I get closer to the end of this project, Jim is sounding more and more wistful. He says things like, "It would be so sad not to have bread every weekend" and "Doesn't having fresh bread seem so homey?" I think he's afraid that once I make my way to the end of the bread list, I'll pack everything away and start buying Wonder Bread.
This olive oil bread is definitely not Wonder Bread, although it is quite wondrous. I just finished eating the last piece of sourdough wheat bread with seeds, and this bread's ingredients are similar to that one, but the final product is so much different. Despite all the seeds and the whole wheat flour, the olive oil bread is more tender, even delicate. I'm not sure if it's the olive oil that makes the difference, but the differences are pronounced.
Rose recommends serving this with Italian cured meats, so I went to Broders Italian Deli and got Prosciutto de Parma, Tuscan Salami, Mortadella, gorgonzola dolce latte, pecorino, and roasted red peppers stuffed with goat cheese. It made a lovely platter, and our mid-afternoon snack turned into dinner.

(The pecorino was made with milk from black sheep. It was one of many things that remind me of my sister Roberta, who died much too young. She would have loved the idea of black sheep cheese!) We drank it with some delicious rose wine--like most everyone else, we have scorned rose wine for many years. Now, like most everyone else, we're learning to love it again. Is there anything that won't come back in fashion eventually?

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