“ Brand: La Brea / Type: Bread „
My family and I have recently discovered a range of Artisan breads in the bakery at our local Tesco. We loved them so have to spread the word! The bread in question is the sourdough olive bread produced by award winning La Brea Bakery. It comes in a distinctive red and white stripy package with clear plastic on the front so that you can see the bread. The bread itself is round in shape, around 25 cm diameter and is brown in colour mottled with black olives. It looks quite rustic and would not be out of place at a farmers market or deli.
According to the packaging the bread was created by founder chef Nancy Silverton in 1989. The sourdough starter is apparently the key ingredient in producing this bread and is a unique combination of flour, water and wild yeasts that mature over time. Using this traditional form of natural leavening gives the bread extra time to develop its powerful flavour, distinctive crust and unique texture.
I've never had sourdough bread before so didn't really know what to expect, but love olives and flavoured bread in general so thought I'd give it a go. Cutting into the bread I noticed how hard the crust was but was surprised at how soft the inside of the loaf was.
On my first try I decided to toast the slice and then have it with a little butter. Biting into the bread I was hit by the rich, salty flavour of the olives, which I found a delight and so different to other breads I've tried. The olives were still soft despite being cooked and grilled and the contrast in textures was lovely. There was also a hint of thyme, which balanced the flavour of the olives. It goes well with a bit of butter but can equally be enjoyed on it's own or as part of a main meal. I've also had it with roasted vegetables and feta and it was lovely. A real taste of the Mediterranean!
According to the packet it is best kept at room temperature and eaten within 24 hours. The bread can also be frozen. The bread contains wheat, gluten and may contain traces of nuts and seeds so would not be suitable for those who are allergic to these ingredients. It is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
We've since had this bread many times and it doesn't last long in our house, which is just as well given that it is best eaten on the day of purchase. Even my younger sister who isn't the biggest olive fan can be found munching on this! Priced at £1.59 I think this is excellent value for money! So next time you're in the bakery aisle at Tesco (I'm not sure about other supermarkets) keep an eye out for this!
I bought a loaf of this the other week in Tesco, not the cheapest loaf on the rack at £1.60 but I was feeling extravagant. You'll find it on the 'World and Speciality Bread' shelf.
La Brea Bakery seems to be an American company founded in California. Their bread is allegedly based upon traditional authentic methods that make use of a natural preservation process whereby bread is baked 80% of the way, cooled and then flash frozen. The loaves are then baked further upon arrival at stores or restaurants. The final bake lasts for 10 to 20 minutes. This caramelizes the sugars present in the crust and produces an open, porous interior. The bread does have a lovely chewy texture to it.
The flavour is undoubtedly rich and satisfying - this is certainly a very tasty bread and I found that just a few thickly buttered slices washed down with a fruit Smoothie was a meal in itself and a very healthy one at that. The crust is golden, crisp and chewy rather than hard, and within the soft interior you will find plenty of half sliced Kalamata olives that surprisingly still retain considerable juiciness. The olives are oil-cured and the flavour pf the loaf is enhanced further by the addition of thyme - the bread is rich in iron. I would say that the flavour is certainly reminiscent of delicious Mediterranean cuisine but it is also a very salty loaf that may be a little overpowering for some. The loaf retains it's optimum freshness only for a day and because of its rich flavour I don't think it is something that could replace my regular daily bread but perhaps something now and again for the weekend to be eaten with simply prepared salads. Definitely worth a try if you love black olives.
Unbleached flour (wheat flower, malted barley flour), water, sour culture, kalamata olives 5%, contains less than 2% or less of the following: salt, wheat germ, semolina, thyme, niacin, reduced iron, riboflavin, folic acid, thiamine Mononitrate, ferrous sulphate.