Talking about bread knives, which are critical to the success of this bake, I started with a check list. Good bread knife. Checked. But I can’t say that my olives were equally as good. I used some generic Greek olive medley for the salted olive crisps.
Good knives are essential in the kitchen. We received a good set of chef knives as a housewarming gift decades ago. I passed on the set to my daughter when she went to college. To my surprise, she brought home her knives during the semester break — to be sharpened. She too appreciates the importance and effectiveness of shape knives. We have since developed an unspoken routine. Instead of her traveling with the chef knives, I travel with my knife sharpener when I visit her. With my Chef’s Choice professional sharpener, I’d go to work and sharpen every knife I can find in her kitchen.
The easy part of this salted olive crisps recipe in David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen is mixing the batter. The dry ingredients: all-purpose and whole wheat flour, sugar, herbes de Provence, baking soda, salt and pepper, are mixed in with the buttermilk. I substituted kefir milk, which I had on hand, for buttermilk. Key flavor and texture ingredients of olive and almonds went in last.
I used two mini loaf pans instead of one full-size 9-inch loaf pan. They went into a 350°F oven, until the toothpick came out clean when inserted in the center, about 30 minutes. They looked like quick breads. I tried to resist the temptation to kick start the next step (cutting the loaves into thin slices of no thicker than 1/4 inch), until the loaves were completely cool. Even with a sharp bread knife, it was hard to keep the edges of the loaf from crumbling. That’s the tricky part of the exercise.
The thin slices were laid flat on the baking sheet and baked at 325°F for about 30 to 35 minutes. I managed to get about 36 mini crisps. I probably did not slice them thin enough. They are still perfect snacks. The saltiness of the olives deliver an appealing sophisticated flair.