Asiago bread draws me back to B’s kitchen. Home.

A few weeks before we devoured Louie’s culinary treat, I found these in B’s kitchen–

Under the kitchen sink: apparently, vanilla extract in a bottle. I thought it was wood or some kind of science experiment.

Cupboards and a fridge full of expired food

I thought it was E.T. but B told me that it was a Chia pet, a sculpture where you can plant seeds that grow into Chia pet fur.

It took me a week of throwing, washing, scrubbing kitchen drawers and tossing off the deplorable moss-colored tablecloth, which we eventually used as a beach blanket. B and I also made food lists and explored several groceries around the area. Soon the fridge was filled with strawberries, salmon and organic yoghurt. (I wish I had photos!)

One day we cooked Cod Fish Chowder and paired it with–

Louie's Asiago bread!

The mouthwatering saltiness, the rough texture that grazed our tongues, the thick density of the flour we sank our teeth into all made for a delectable side dish, which eventually became our main dish as we kept submerging the Asiago into a pool of olive oil, balsamic and sharp cheddar cheese.

Louie was kind enough to share his recipe with us which I will pass on below. Thank you for the Asiago bread, Louie! But more than that, thank you for the love.

As for the Chia pet, by the time I left Cortland, it’s fur was one inch long in places where the seeds didn’t rot. (I wish I had photos!)

Ingredients:

Artisan Mediterranean Loaf. I make this once a month or so, and I don’t really have an ‘exact’ recipe, but this is kinda the basic recipe and close to the one I made for you guys. But I may have used a full cup of Greek in yours, instead of 50/50 on olives.

2 cups warm water
1/2 cup chopped kalamata olive
1/2 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped oil cured Greek olives
1 cup shredded Asiago cheese
1 tsp sugar
1 package (1 tablespoon) dry yeast
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 cup cracked wheat flour
2 1/2 cups white flour

Put all the ingredients except the water into a bowl and dry mix until well blended. Add water and mix well and it will be a wet stiff dough. Put in the fridge, covered, but not sealed, overnight. The dough should double or triple in volume.

Next morning, preheat the oven to 450F for at least 20 minutes. Put the broiler pan on the bottom, and the pizza stone on center shelf.

Dump the dough on a floured counter and remember that it will be VERY sticky. Cloak the dough (don’t knead the dough) stretch it a little and fold it in on itself, like a letter. Rotate 90 degrees and stretch and fold a second time.

Cut the dough in half and form two round loaves and slit the tops. Put on floured pizza peal and let it rise for 1 hour. Get 1/2 cup water ready….and QUICKLY …open the oven door, throw water into the bottom broiler pan, slide loaves from peal onto stone, and close the oven door. (This is to give you that nice chewy artisan crust.)

Bake for about 30 minutes. (Nice brown crust, hollow sounding when thumped.)

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