Olive Oil Salt Bread

MAKES: 4 to 6 servings

TIME: About 45 minutes, largely unattended

There is no quicker, hassle-free way to get fresh warm bread on the table, especially if you make the griddled variation. Rich and flaky with olive oil, this biscuitlike dough is easy to handle and takes to all sorts of additions, like cheese, chopped olives, or seasonings (see the list in 12 Additions to Virtually Any Quick Bread, Muffin, Biscuit, or Scone). Just knead them in with your hands after processing. Like most unyeasted breads, it doesn’t keep for more than a day and is best eaten still warm from the oven.

1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt, preferably coarse or sea salt, plus more for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 375В°F. Grease an 8-inch skillet or square baking pan with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Put the flour, baking powder, and salt in a food processor and turn the machine on. Pour through the feed tube first 1/3 cup of the olive oil, then most of 1 cup of warm water. Process for about 30 seconds, then remove the cover. The dough should be in a well-defined, barely sticky, easy-to-handle ball. If it is too dry, add the remaining water 1 tablespoon at a time and process for 5 or 10 seconds after each addition. If it is too wet, which is unlikely, add a tablespoon or two of flour and process briefly.

Put the dough into the prepared pan and press until it fits to the edges. Flip it over and press again. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes; then remove the foil, sprinkle the top with a little coarse salt, and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until the top is golden and springs back when touched gently. Cool in the pan a bit, then cut into wedges or squares and serve.

Variation

Griddled Olive Oil Salt Bread. Even faster to the table: Instead of preheating the oven, heat a griddle or set a heavy pan over medium heat. Have the extra olive oil handy for greasing. In Step 2, divide the dough into 8 to 12 pieces and pat them into patties between your hands until they’re about 1/2 inch thick. When the griddle or pan is hot, use enough olive oil to film the bottom and put in as many breads as will fit comfortably without crowding (you will probably have to work in batches). Cook, undisturbed, until they begin to brown around the edges and the tops bubble a bit, about 5 minutes. Then turn and cook the other side until crisp and golden.