Friday, April 16, 2021

Finally Posting...With An Olive Oil Wreath

I know it's been a long time since I posted, but the garden has been calling me, plus I've been hard at work on the farmhouse, painting trim. One day soon the extra bedroom/office will be finished, but there is still much to do. Maya left Charlie a beautiful maple desk, but it is in need of some TLC of the glue and clamp variety, plus some cleaning and waxing before it can be used for an office desk. We also walk our dog most mornings near the Laguna de Santa Rosa. These cows graze right by the walking path. Very bucolic!

Anyway, enough excuses! Today we have a beautiful bread, selected by Karen of Karen's Kitchen Stories, our Bread Baking Babes Kitchen of the Month...say that quickly three times! The Olive Oil Wreath is from Della Fattoria Bread by Kathleen Weber. The Della Fattoria store is in downtown Petaluma, a short jaunt from here. Their bread is wonderful! For this recipe you start by making a biga...a fairly stiff one as it turns out. I decided to use some sourdough starter for part of the biga to get added flavor and it worked. The dough was easy to work with and the bread was delicious. On a side note, I sent a small jar of my starter to Phoenix with my daughter after her visit and she fed it for a few weeks, then made an outstanding simple sourdough loaf...great crust and perfect crumb and good rise. Another sourdough fan is born.

The shaping of this wreath is fun. You form a snake of dough, set it in a circle and pinch the ends together, then let it rise. The puffy circle is then cut with scissors into epi' sections, with each cut piece alternately put toward the center or the outside to form the wreath. I shaped mine on a piece of parchment sitting on a bread peel so that I could slide the parchment right onto the preheated cast iron grill that I was using for baking. That way I had a very nice crust on the bottom, too.

Do try this lovely bread. Use the best olive oil you can find because you do taste it in the bread. If you want to be a Bread Baking Buddy, be sure to send the URL of your post, plus a photo of your bread to our Kitchen of the Month and Karen will include you in the round-up and send you a Buddy Badge. Check her post for the date to have it to her by.

Also I encourage you to visit the other Bread Baking Babes to see what they did with their wreaths!

Olive Oil Wreath

Makes 1 large wreath
from Della Fattoria Bread by Kathleen Weber. 

83 g 100% hydration sourdough starter
42 g all-purpose flour
1.5 g (1/2 teaspoon) instant yeast

 Stir all together in a medium bowl with a wooden spoon or a spatula. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a clean shower cap and let sit at room temperature for 3 hours. Use 1o0 g of the biga for the wreath. Remaining 109 g can be reserved for another use in the fridge.


The Wreath

100 g of the Biga (above)
285 g tepid water (75-80 degrees F/24 - 27 degrees C)
60 g olive oil, extra virgin if possible
10 g instant yeast (about 1 tablespoon)
500 g all-purpose flour
15 g fine gray salt

 Put the biga in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the water, olive oil, and yeast and mix on low speed until the biga is broken up and the mixture appears frothy, about 30 seconds.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour and salt. Add to the biga mixture and mix on low speed for 3 minutes to combine. Remove the paddle attachment and scrape dough off paddle into bowl. Scrape down sides of bowl with a bowl scraper. Fit the mixer with the dough hook and mix on low speed for 5 minutes. (I stirred some in - about 1 cup - with a wooden spoon, then mixed in the rest at the lowest setting for about a minute, then switched to the dough hook and gradually added the remaining flour, then let the dough hook knead the dough another 5 minutes.)

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, scraping all the dough out of the bowl with a dough scraper. Knead a few times. Spray a dough bowl or other rising container lightly with oil (I use spray olive oil), add the dough and turn to coat with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean shower cap. Let rise until doubled in bulk about 1-2 hours.

 Turn the dough back out onto a floured work surface and deflate the dough. Gather up the edges and preshape the dough into a ball. Flip the ball and place it seam side down on the work surface. Push the dough against the work surface in a circular motion to tighten the top. Pull the dough toward you to elongate the dough into an oval and let rest for 10 minutes. 

 Shape the dough into a 1 1/2 inch by 42 inch long piece. To do this, turn the dough over, seam side up and pull the dough into a rectangle shape. Wrap the longer sides over each other like an envelope. Gently rock the dough with your hands to elongate the dough. 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. (You can also use good quality parchment paper and a pizza peel to directly transfer the loaf to the baking stone as I did.) Gently place the dough on the pan or parchment and form it into a circle, overlapping the ends. Cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap and set the dough in a warm spot and let rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until it passes the finger dent test. 

 In the meantime, heat your oven, with a rack on the lowest level with a steam pan, and a rack in the middle above the steam pan and fitted with a baking stone if you have one. Heat the oven to 450 degrees F. 

 Using scissors, cut partially through the dough at a 45 degree 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. 

Place the pan or parchment (using a peel) 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 400 degrees F. 

 Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown. 

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


  1. I am so in awe of your perfect wreath! It turned out perfectly!

    Congratulations to your daughter on making her first sourdough loaf with your starter! That is so cool.

  2. Your snipping skills are on point! How clever the way you incorporated your starter. Thanks so much for baking along with me.

  3. Pat your wreath is gorgeous!
    I have to feel it would be inevitable that your daughter would not fall victim to sourdough. I’m going gentle with my friend Mary but I know I’ll have to be introducing starter to her. When we baked this bread together, she was sort of stunned when I uncovered the biga “Where did you get that from?” I told her that was why I had to know when she would arrive at the house so I could mix it at the right time the night before. 😁

  4. Gardening has been taking up most of my time as well. But I must say your view is better. Your wreath looks great! I love those long pointy cuts.

  5. Love the long ears of wheat in your wreath!

  6. Love your cows.... And the bread, Good going for your daughter, too!