Pain Niçoise

As I write this the Welsh rain is banging down and the wind is gusting up to 50 miles per hour. No need to ask why this bread is so popular with my customers – just the thought of Provence and the Med makes them feel better.

Prepare the olives mix (black olives, red onions, garlic, dried figs, sun-dried tomatoes, herbes de provence) in advance. Soak sun-dried tomatoes and figs. Gently fry the onions and garlic in the olive oil. Add the other ingredients and allow to cool completely.

Mix all the dough ingredients and knead using your normal method, working in the olive mix and its oil towards the end of the mix. If you’re new to baking check out the Sourdough pdf under the Library Menu.

Form into a rough ball, place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover. Allow to ferment for about four hours stretching each hour for the first three hours. This is not essential but will improve the dough structure.

Alternatively ferment overnight in the fridge.

Prepare a proving basket. Shape the dough and place it in the basket seam side up. Cover and leave for 3½-4 hours checking with the finger tip test after 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to about 210C.

Gently turn out the dough onto a baking sheet floured with wholemeal rye. Slash and bake for about 50 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack