The Simply Irresistible Mediterranean Olive Bread

Rustic Mediterranean Olive Bread Made With Kalamatta Olives
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This  could  easily be the  most  relished  bread  in our  home.   A  crusty olive bread  with a  extra  virgin  olive oil and  balsamic  vinegar  to  dip in  seems  to make  everyone  here  happy.   According  to my family none  of the  olive  loaves  that  we  have  tried  elsewhere  quite  match this. I know  it  is  their  way   of   telling me  to make  this  more  often – but  am still  happy when they say that 🙂 .

Rustic Mediterranean Olive Bread Made With Kalamatta Olives

It is  not  surprising  that  this  home made  olive  loaf  is  better than the store bought  or   restaurant  versions. It is  one of the  side  effects  of  baking  bread  at home ;-).   The  ingredients  that  go into a  home  made  loaf is  going  to be of   the  highest  quality   that  one  can  afford.  It may not  be  the  best  of  the best  that one  has  to  pay an  arm  and  a leg  for,  but  the  best  value for  money you spend.  I am  assuming that  if  you open a  can  of  olives  and  is put off  by the  metallic  odor,  you  wont  be  feeding  that  to your  family.  The  the  company on the  far  end of  the  town  might  just  do that.

The other  side  effect of  baking or  cooking at  home  is  that one learns about  seasonal  foods  and  what  goes  into the  food  that  you buy.  Having  an  understanding  of  all these  helps  one   make  better  buying decisions.  This in  turn  leads  to a  better  outcome  for  the  families  and  the  environment.

All that may sound  good  and   noble  but  at  the  end  of the   day  if  the  food  that   you prepare is  not  edible – it counts  for nothing.  This  is  where your  taste buds , creativity and  the  willingness to try  become  important.   For  example I make  these   with  kalamata  olives  cured  in  olive  oil and  red wine vinegar.  If   that is  not  your  favorite or  the  use  the best  you like.

This  Mediterranean Olive  Bread  uses  only a  few  simple  ingredients.  The  olives  are  the  star  and  it  shines  through.  All the  more  reason to   use  the  best  olive you have.

I use a  mix  of   bread  flour  and  white  whole  wheat  flour  in this  recipe. But  you could  use  any  high protein  white  flour.  If  you are a  beginner I recommend   that  you use  all bread/high protein  all purpose  flour  It makes a beautiful crusty loaf.   In fact  I have 3  different  versions of  this  bread. Today’s  is  made  with   regular  commercial  yeast – the  active  dry  version.  From start to  finish  it  take  around 3  hours.  Again this is the  version that I would  recommend  for  beginners.

There is  also a  no knead  version and  my favorite  the sourdough  version.  These  two  take  longer  time  – almost 24 hours. All 3  versions  follow roughly the  same  blue  print ,  with   different  rising  times   and  slightly  different  flavors. The  sourdough   one  is the most  intense  one  with incredible  complex  flavors while the regular    version   has  more  mellow  flavors.

Unfortunately today  I do not   have  any process  shots.   But    it is  very similar  to a  standard  bread  recipe.

Here are  a  few  things  to keep in mind

  • Add the  olives  after  the  first  rise.
  • For  extra  flavor you can  add a  few  olives  towards  the  end  of    kneading , but  keep in   mind   that  these  could  add more  salt  to the  recipe.  Excess  salt   will destroy the  yeast.
  • Roasted   garlic  is  a good  addition to this  recipe. If  you add   do it  after  the  first  rise.

What  to serve  with these ?

Well  I   usually  serve  these  with  olive oil  and  balsamic  vinegar  while  we  are  waiting  for   the  rest  of  the  meal to  finish  cooking  on the grill.  This is  not  the  Italian  way  I am  told –  but to heck  with it – it is  an  absolutley delicious  way to  start a  meal.

I serve  these  with  Shakshuka for  breakfast 🙂  or  sometime  with a  hearty salad or  soups.  All I am  trying  to say is  that  use  it any way you like – It is  home  made  food – so your  house  , your  rules.

 

5 from 1 vote
Rustic Mediterranean Olive Bread Made With Kalamatta Olives
Mediterranean Olive Bread
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Rising Time
1 hr 30 mins
Total Time
3 hrs
 

A  rustic  olive  loaf  made  with  just a  few ingredients.

Course: Bread
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 1 Loaf
Author: Syama
Ingredients
  • 2 C Bread Flour (240 g) See Notes
  • 1 1/2 C White WW Flour (180 g )
  • 1 1/4 Tsp Fine Sea Salt (8 g)
  • 1 C Water (250 g)
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 1/4 Tsp Active Dry Yeast (7 g or 1 Packet)
  • 1 Tsp Sugar
  • 1/2 C Kalamata Olives Pitted and Roughly Chopped - See Notes
Instructions
Activate the yeast
  1.  Warm 1/4 C water to 110 F or just warm to touch. Mix in the sugar and sprinkle the yeast on top . Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes until the mix becomes bubbly. 

Make Dough
  1. Take the flour in a mixing bowl (or on clean counter) and add the salt. Make a well in the flour and add the activated yeast to it followed by the oil. Add about half of the water and start kneading by incorporating more of the flour to the water. Add as much more of the water as required to make the a soft dough. Knead for 10 to 15 minutes until the dough becomes soft and relaxes a bit. First rise. Form the dough into a smooth ball and place in an oiled bowl. Turn the dough to coat all sides with oil. Cover and let it rest in a warm place for 1 hour or until it doubles in size 

Shape and second rise
  1. Uncover the bowl and punch down the dough. Dust the work surface with flour and place the dough on it. Add half the chopped olives and gently knead in. Repeat the process with the remaining loves , dusting with more flour if necessary. Once the olives are distributed evenly ( 1 to 2 minutes of kneading) shape it into a log .or 2 for smaller loaves . Place parchment paper on a baking sheet or dust it with corn meal and transfer the loaves to it. Lightly brush the tops of the loaves with oil. Cover and let it rise until almost doubled - 25 to 30 minutes  

Bake
  1. Place one oven rack in the center and another one just below it. Place a cake tin or small oven proof  metal pan  on the bottom rack. Pre-heat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Uncover the shaped bread and transfer to the hot oven. Add a cup full of ice cubes to the pan set in the bottom rack . Close the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (175°C) . Depending on the size of the loaf bake for an additional 15 to 25 minutes or until done. 

  2. To check whether the loaf is cooked through , tap the bottom of the loaf . When cooked through it will sound hollow. 

  3. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool before slicing.

Recipe Notes
  • You  could  make  this  bread  with all  bread  flour or  high protein   all purpose  flour
  • Increase  the  olive  to  1 C  for  more  intense  flavors 

 

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Mediterranean Olive Bread

 

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