Freshly baked bread complements any delicious meal. Although there is much time and effort required to prepare, knead and bake, the results are always worth the effort. The today's rustic Greek olive bread is made using a simple dough and black olives. During baking, it develops a beautiful textured interior crumb and a nice crunchy crust. When the aroma of freshly baked olive bread fills your home, you will feel like you were visiting a cafe in Greece.
This black olive bread recipe is quite easy to prepare, it's delicious with mozzarella or soft goat cheese and wonderful for toast. Even though there are olives in this bread, they are not overwhelming. In every other bite or so, you'll find a black olive which has made a briny, slightly salty pocket of healthy flavor. The black olive bread stays moist for three days and it works very good on sandwiches as well.
For this bread recipe, I used a combination of whole wheat flour with all-purpose flour and a little olive oil. Canned black olives are appropriate in this recipe but you can also use kalamata, manzanilla or sevillano olives to get different flavors. It can be made either using a standing mixer or just your own hands, as you will see in the instructions.
One of my favorite things to do in the kitchen is to bake bread, from basic artisan bread and whole wheat to delicious dinner rolls. I am in love with the warm aroma of freshly baked loafs and I enjoy the variety of different, good and hearty breads.
Yield: 1 bread loaf Time: 4 hours
- 120 ml (1/2 cup) warm water (45°C/110°F)
- 240 ml (1 cup) warm whole milk
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 75 g (1/2 cup) whole wheat flour
- 375 g (3 cups) all-purpose flour, sifted plus more if needed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups black olive, pitted, chopped
- The first step is called yeast proofing. In a medium bowl, add the warm water, milk, honey and the active dry yeast. Mix for a few seconds and then let the mixture stand for 10 minutes until the yeast starts to foam.
- Using a standing mixer (KitchenAid): Attach the dough hook and place the proofed yeast in a standing mixer bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and start mixing at the lowest setting. Knead for 10-12 minutes. The dough should be slightly sticky and elastic.
- Using your hands, in a large bowl, add the proofed yeast, flour and salt and mix well. Then add the olives and olive oil and start kneading the dough. Turn the dough on a light floured surface and knead to 10 to 12 minutes until smooth and somewhat elastic.
- Set the dough aside, cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size, in a warm place.
- Punch the dough down and knead it well for 5 to 10 minutes. Cover it again and let it rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Round the dough on a kneading board. Use your hands to shape the dough in a round ball.
- Line a large bowl with a tea towel and coat it generously with flour. Place the dough in the bowl and let it rise again until doubled.
- Preheat the oven to 230°C (450°F). Place an oven-proof pan with water in the bottom of the oven.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper and sprinkle with cornmeal.
- Gently invert the dough onto the baking tray. Using a sharp knife, place 3 diagonals cuts along the top of the bread, for a more rustic appearance.
- Bake the bread at 230°C (450°F) for 15 minutes then reduce the heat to 190°C (375°F) and bake for 30 more minutes, until golden and sounds hollow when tapped.
- Allow the bread to cool on a wire rack before slicing.
Tips and Tricks:
- For a brighter and crisper crust, brush the bread with olive oil before baking.