To make it easier to pit the olives for these addictive rolls (from chef Joel Guillet at Le Mas du Langoustier), gently crush them with a rolling pin first.
Yield: makes 16 Rolls
- 2 1⁄4 tsp. (1 package) active dry yeast
- 3 3⁄4 cups flour
- 1 Tbsp. salt
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 Tbsp. wheat gluten
- 2⁄3 cup lukewarm milk
- 3 1⁄2 Tbsp. butter, melted and cooled
- 1 cup pitted, coarsely chopped mixed olives such as niçoise, green or black arnaud, or picholine
- 4 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast in 1⁄3 cup lukewarm water and set aside for 10 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, sugar, and wheat gluten and mix well.
- Add milk and melted butter to yeast mixture, mix thoroughly, then gradually add to flour mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon. Mix in enough lukewarm water, up to 1⁄3 cup, to form a soft, sticky dough, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, 10–15 minutes. Form dough into a ball, wrap with plastic, and set aside for 5 minutes.
- Working on a lightly floured surface, flatten dough with your hands into a rectangle about 8" x 11". In a small bowl, combine olives, thyme, and oil. Evenly spread olive mixture over dough, then form dough into a ball. Knead, taking care that olives are uniformly distributed, until dough is smooth, about 5 minutes. Shape dough into 2 16"-long cylinders, then cut each into 8 rounds with a sharp knife. Roll each round into a tight ball, arrange on two well-oiled cookie sheets, loosely cover with plastic, and set aside to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 450°. Place a pan of water in bottom of oven (steam helps rolls develop a nice crust), then uncover rolls and bake until lightly browned, 10–15 minutes. Remove from oven and serve warm or at room temperature.