Olive bread is a crusty vegan loaf dotted with kalamata olives.  This simple white bread recipe is easy to make and delicious with soup or in a sandwich.  Dip each slice into olive oil to make an incredible Mediterranean appetizer!

Prep Time: 40 minutes
loaf and slices of olive bread on a cutting board
Savory Bread

Rustic Greek Olive Bread

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Calling all olive lovers!  I have something delicious for you to try: rustic Greek olive bread.  It’s a beautiful white loaf with a crunchy crust, soft crumb, and lots of salty black kalamata olives.

person holding a slice of olive bread

What is olive bread?

Olive bread is a crusty white loaf that has olives mixed into the dough.  It’s usually made in a round, artisan-style loaf that’s been sprinkled with flour and slashed on top.  The taste is reminiscent of Italian and Greek breads, and makes a fantastic Mediterranean appetizer when dipped into olive oil.

Is olive bread good for you?

Olive bread is overall healthy for you in reasonable quantities.  It contains a lot of protein and fiber to give you energy and keep you full.  Scroll down to the end of the recipe card below to see the full nutrition facts for this olive bread recipe.

person dipping a slice of olive bread into olive oil

Are black olives good for you?

Yes, the black kalamata olives are healthy for you.  Here’s some great things about these delicious black olives!

  • Rich in healthy fats.
  • Contain iron, calcium, and vitamin A.
  • Contain fiber.

Can you use olive oil in baking bread?

Yes, you absolutely can use olive oil in baking bread!  It adds a nice, subtle olive flavor to the dough, and is a great fat for vegans to use.  You can even use olive oil instead of flour when you’re kneading the dough!

loaf of olive bread with slices and bowl of olive oil

Can I make olive bread ahead of time?

You can start the dough the night before and let it do its first prove (or rise) in the fridge overnight.  Knead in the olives, shape the dough into a loaf, and let it prove again before baking it the next day.  Just keep in mind that the second prove may take longer than written in the recipe, since the dough will be cold from the fridge.

How to Serve Olive Bread

  • Pour some extra virgin olive oil into a shallow dish.  (It’s best if everyone has their own dish.)
  • Grind some black pepper on top of the olive oil.
  • Cut in thick slices or tear apart with your hands.
  • Dip each bite into the olive oil and enjoy.

person holding a slice of olive bread

What olive oil is best for bread dipping?

Good quality extra virgin olive oil is the best choice for dipping bread.  It’s the purest and tastiest kind of olive oil out there.  You’ll be amazed at the wonderful flavor it adds to fresh homemade bread.

Can olive bread be frozen?

It can be tricky to keep homemade bread fresh!  Without the preservatives of store-bought loaves, homemade bread tends to go stale more quickly.  Here’s my favorite way of keeping bread fresh: freezing it.

  • Homemade bread tastes the best if eaten within 12-24 hours of baking.
  • Freeze leftover bread in a zip-top freezer bag for up to 1 month.
  • Defrost at room temperature or in the microwave.  Do not refrigerate the bread; it will make it go stale quickly.

How to Make Olive Bread

Gather the ingredients for the olive bread.

ingredients for olive bread

Pour the flour into a bowl and stir in the salt and yeast on opposite sides of the bowl.  The salt can’t touch the yeast directly, or it can kill it.

bowl of flour with salt and yeast

Dump in the olive oil and half of the water.

adding olive oil and water to bowl of flour

Mix with your hand to bring the dough together.  Keep adding more water as needed and keep mixing until all the flour is picked up and a somewhat sticky dough has formed.

sticky dough in a bowl

Knead on a floured surface for 10-15 minutes, until smooth and no longer sticking to the work surface.  Use the windowpane test to see if it’s kneaded enough.  (See the Pro Tips section in the recipe card below for an explanation of this technique.)

kneaded dough with flour on a cutting board

Shape the dough into a ball and put in a greased bowl.

dough in a greased bowl

Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to prove in a warm place until at least doubled in size, about 1 hour.

risen bread dough in a bowl

Punch down the dough to release the trapped gas, then pile half of the olives on the dough and knead them in.  Add with the remaining olives and knead until the olives are evenly dispersed throughout the dough.

bread dough on a cutting board with kalamata olives kneaded in

Shape the dough into a tight ball and place seam side up in a floured banneton.  (If you don’t own a banneton, just use a greased and generously floured bowl.)

loaf of olive bread in a banneton

Cover with the linen cap or with a clean, dry tea towel.

covered banneton

Let the dough rise (called proving) until it springs back when prodded with a fingertip.  This should take about 30-40 minutes, depending on the temperature of the room.

risen loaf of olive bread in a banneton

Flip the loaf onto a baking stone or cookie sheet and cut a slash on top with a lame or serrated knife.  Bake at 425 F for 30-40 minutes, until the loaf is browned and has an internal temperature of at least 190 F.

Let the bread cool completely on a wire rack, then slice and serve with a dish of extra virgin olive oil mixed with cracked black pepper.

loaf of olive bread on a wire cooling rack

Pro Tips for Making Olive Bread

  • Always use bread flour.  Bread flour has a higher protein content than all-purpose, meaning it will make higher rising and more chewy breads.
  • Use the windowpane test to see if the dough is properly kneaded.  Do this by breaking off a lump of dough and stretching it really thin.  If the dough can stretch to be translucent without tearing, it’s kneaded well.  If it tears, knead for a minute longer and check again.
  • Making the bread in a cold room?  Create a warm place for the dough to rise by putting a pan of boiling water on the bottom shelf of a cold oven.  Place the bowl of bread dough on the shelf above the pan and shut the oven door.
  • Using a baking stone to bake the bread?  Put the stone in the oven while the oven is preheating.  This will help the bread’s bottom crust crisp nicely.
  • Let the loaf cool completely before slicing.  If you cut into the bread too soon, all the steam will escape, leaving the bread gummy and doughy.

scale, cutting board, banneton, and thermometer

Our Go-To Kitchen Tools for Olive Bread

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The pleasure of a 5-star review for this olive bread would be greatly appreciated.

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loaf and slices of olive bread on a cutting board

Rustic Greek Olive Bread


  • Author: Emma
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
  • Yield: 1 round loaf 1x

Description

Olive bread is a crusty vegan loaf dotted with kalamata olives.  This simple white bread recipe is easy to make and delicious with soup or in a sandwich.  Dip each slice into olive oil to make an incredible Mediterranean appetizer!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 4 1/4 cups bread flour (500g)
  • 3 teaspoons fast-action yeast (10g)
  • 2 teaspoons salt (10g)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (45 ml)
  • 1 1/3 cup room temperature water (325 ml)
  • 1 cup Greek kalamata olives, pitted and halved (162g)

Instructions

Making the Bread Dough (25 min + 1 hr proving)

  1. Pour the flour into a bowl and add the salt and yeast on opposite sides of the bowl.  Dump in the olive oil and half the water, then start mixing with your hand.  Gradually add more liquid as you mix to form a slightly sticky dough.  Keep mixing until all the flour is picked up from the bowl.
  2. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes, until the dough is quite smooth, stretchy, and no longer sticks to the work surface.
  3. Use the windowpane test to see if the bread is kneaded enough.  Break off a sizeable lump and stretch it as thin as you can to form a windowpane.  If the dough is translucent without tearing, it’s kneaded enough; if it rips, knead for a minute more, then check again.
  4. Shape the dough into a ball, place in an oiled bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Put in a warm place and let the dough prove until at least doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Shaping the Olive Bread (15 min + 30 min proving)

  1. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and punch it down all over to knock out the gas pockets.
  2. Pile about half of the kalamata olives on the dough, then fold the dough over the olives.  Knead to evenly distribute the olives in the dough, adding flour as needed.  Add the remaining olives.
  3. Roughly flatten the dough into a circle, then fold the edges of the circle into the middle to create a ball.  Pinch all the ends together firmly, then turn the loaf seam side down.  Cup your hands around the loaf and gently turn it around to smooth the shape.
  4. Generously flour a banneton (cane basket for proving bread), or grease and flour a large mixing bowl if you don’t own a banneton.  Place the loaf upside down (seam side up) in the banneton or bowl, cover with a linen cover or tea towel and let prove until the loaf springs back quickly to the touch, about 30 minutes.
  5. About 10 minutes before the bread is ready to bake, preheat the oven to 425 F.

Baking the Olive Bread (30 min baking + cooling)

  1. Turn out the proved loaf onto a baking stone or cookie sheet.  Don’t worry if it deflates a little; it should spring back up in the oven.
  2. Cut a slash on top with a bread baker’s lame (razor blade) or a very sharp serrated knife.
  3. Bake the bread at 425 F for 35 minutes, until the bread is well browned and has an internal temperature of at least 190 F.
  4. Let the bread cool completely on a wire cooling rack before slicing and serving, about 1 hour.  This allows the bread to finish cooking through.

Notes

  • The pleasure of a 5-star review for this olive bread recipe would be greatly appreciated.
  • 👩🏻‍🍳 Want to see our latest recipes?  Subscribe to our email newsletter to get our latest recipes, fun food facts, food puns, and behind the scenes news about our blog.
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Greek

Keywords: kalamata olive, olive bread recipe

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4 thoughts on “Rustic Greek Olive Bread

  1. I love the big olives in the bread that just pop with flavor!😊 The bread tastes even better dipped in olive oil. I highly recommend this tasty bread.

  2. Oh my goodness – this bread is so delicious! It has the wonderful taste of homemade bread with the added bonus of the olives. The flavor of the olives wonderfully compliments the taste of the bread. I tried it with olive oil and also with butter. Both were great, but the olive oil really brought out the flavor. That’s now my favorite way to eat it.

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