How to Make Mantovana (Olive Oil Bread)
- Sprinkle the yeast into 1 3/4 cups of the water in a bowl. Leave for 5 minutes; stir to dissolve. Mix the flours in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the dissolved yeast.
- Use a wooden spoon to draw enough of the flour into the dissolved yeast to form a soft paste. Cover the bowl with a dish towel, then let "sponge" until frothy and risen, about 20 minutes.
- Add the salt and the oil to the sponge. Mix in the rest of the flour from the sides of the well. Stir in the remaining water, as needed, to form a very sticky dough.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead until smooth, about 10 minutes.
- Put the dough in a clean, oiled bowl, cover with a dish towel. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Punch down, cover with a dish towel, and let until doubled in size, about 40 minutes.
- Punch down dough and roll into a ball, about 10 minutes, then let rest for 10 minutes.
- Divide the dough into two pieces. Shape each piece into a long loaf, about 10 inches in length. Place on a floured baking sheet and cover with a dish towel. Proof for 15 minutes.
- Cut in lengthwise slash, 1/2" deep, down the center of each loaf. Bake in preheated 400* oven for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.
3 points per slice