Olive Oil Wreath #BBB

Olive Oil Wreath #BBB

Welcome to the April Bread Baking Babes bake!  This month, Karen's Kitchen Stories has chosen a beautiful olive oil wreath that is cut in the style of a French Pain D’Epi wheat stalk bread.  I took a cue from a youtube epi shaping video and pressed nigella seeds (charnushka) into the cut edges for some contrast and I love how it turned out.  Plus I really like the flavor from the nigella.  This toothsome loaf is just begging to be dipped into soup or stew, spread with butter, or dipped into an herbed olive oil with a splash of balsamic vinegar!  It tears into hearty rolls with a really nice chew to them.

Karen suggests using a hearty and fruity extra virgin olive oil in the dough.  I used my favorite fresh and fruity arbequina olive oil.  Naturally I didn't read through the recipe well and made the full biga which makes more than is needed for one loaf, so I adjusted the final dough amounts to incorporate the whole thing.  (I don't like leftover starter aside from my sourdough if I don't have specific baking plans.)  Of course I ended up calculating for the whole biga and adjusting too much out and then having to add back in for the 100g.  No biggie, it all works out in the dough!  I did work my dough enough to window pane the gluten because I wanted to be sure the wheat stalks had good definition.  At least that's what I was hoping for!

We would love for you to try this beautifully shaped bread and bake along with us this month!  No blog is necessary to participate, a picture will do. Just send a picture or your post of your finished flatbread to our host by the 29th of this month.  New recipes are posted every month on the 16th. Check out our Facebook group to see the participants' baking results during that time.


 Olive Oil Wreath
makes 1 wreath


(makes enough for two loaves)

125g (¾ cup plus 2½ tbsp) AP flour
1.5g (½ tsp) instant yeast
83g (¼ cup plus 1½ tbsp) water, 75 to 80º F

Mix the biga ingredients in a stand mixer at the lowest speed for one minute or by hand until evenly combined.  It will be sticky.  Cover and let sit for 10 to 18 hours.

(Leftover biga can be refrigerated for up to 3 days to make more loaves.)

Final dough:
100g (¼ cup plus 3½ tbsp) of the biga
285g (1 cup plus 3½ tbsp) 75 to 80º F water
60g (¼ cup plus 2 tsp) extra virgin olive oil (I only used 50g)
10g (1 tbsp) instant yeast
500g (3½ cups plus 1 tbsp) all purpose flour
15g (2½ tsp) salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the 100g biga, water, olive oil, and yeast and mix on low for about 30 seconds, until the biga is broken up.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour and salt together. Add it to the yeast mixture and and stir with a spoon or dough whisk until the flour is fully moistened. Then, mix with the dough hook for about 8-10 minutes.  (I worked mine longer to develop the gluten and did no hand kneading.)

Curious boy being curious.
It really is a delightful dough.

 Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and briefly knead by hand.  Place back in the bowl and cover with a damp towel or oiled wrap. Let rise in a warm spot for 1 to 2 hours until more than doubled and quite puffy.


Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and fully deflate the dough.  Fold in the edges on all sides and shape the dough into a ball.  Place it seam side down on the work surface and gently push the dough against the work surface in a circular motion to tighten the top.  Pull the dough toward you to stretch the dough into an oval and let rest for 10 minutes.

Shape the dough into a 1½ x 42 inch long piece. To do this turn the dough over, seam side up and pull the dough into a rectangle shape. Fold the longer sides over each other like an envelope. Gently roll the dough with your hands to lengthen the rope. Let it rest for about 10 minutes if the dough resists.

Prepare a 14 inch cast iron pan, pizza pan, or large cookie sheet with spray oil or baking parchment. Gently place the dough on the pan or parchment and form it into a circle, overlapping the ends and pinching to seal well.  Cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap or a damp cloth and set the dough in a warm spot and let rise for 1 to 1½ hours, until it passes the finger dent test.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 450º F.  Set up a steam pan on the lowest rack on the lowest and a baking stone if using on the middle.

Using scissors, cut partially through the dough at a 45º angle from the top and move the cut dough to one side. Cut almost but not all of the way through. Continue to make more cuts, every 3 inches, and move the cut dough pieces to alternating sides until you go around the wreath.  Don't cut from the sides, cut from the top.  (Cutting at the 45ºangle gives a nice, medium wheat ear with a point.  Cutting more shallow and longer slices will give a longer and narrower ear with a strong point.  Cutting closer to perpendicular would only yield a round leaf.)

Place the pan or parchment (using a peel or baking sheet) with the shaped dough onto the stone and add 1 cup of ice cubes to the steamer pan. Immediately close the oven door and reduce the heat to 400º F.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown.

Transfer the loaf to a cooling rack and let cool slightly before serving. 

 The rest of the Bread Baking Babes

Blog from OUR Kitchen – Elizabeth

Judy’s Gross Eats – Judy

My Diverse Kitchen - Aparna

Bread Experience - Cathy

Thyme for Cooking - Katie

My Kitchen in Half Cups - Tanna

Feeding My Enthusiasms - Elle 

Karen's Kitchen Stories - Karen 


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