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.
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How to Make
Gather the ingredients.
- 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.
- Dump in the olive oil and half of the water. Mix with your hand to bring the ingredients together. Keep adding more water as needed and keep mixing until all the flour is picked up and a somewhat sticky dough has formed.
3. 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.)
4. Shape into a ball and put 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.
5. 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.
6. Shape 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.)
Cover with the linen cap or with a clean, dry tea towel. 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.
7. 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.
8. Let it cool completely on a wire rack, then slice and serve with a dish of extra virgin olive oil mixed with cracked black pepper.
What is olive bread?
It 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 it good for you?
This recipe is 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.
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 this recipe?
Yes, you absolutely can! 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!
Can I make it 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 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 it 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.
What olive oil is best for dipping?
Good quality extra virgin olive oil is the best choice for dipping. It's the purest and tastiest kind of olive oil out there. You'll be amazed at the wonderful flavor it has.
Can this be frozen?
My favorite way of keeping it fresh is to freeze it.
- Homemade loaves taste the best if eaten within 12-24 hours of baking.
- Freeze leftovers in a zip-top freezer bag for up to 1 month.
- Defrost at room temperature or in the microwave. Do not refrigerate; it will make it go stale quickly.
- Always use bread flour. This type of 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 it can stretch to be translucent without tearing, it's kneaded well. If it tears, knead for a minute longer and check again.
- Baking in a cold room? Create a warm place by putting a pan of boiling water on the bottom shelf of a cold oven. Place the bowl of dough on the shelf above the pan and shut the oven door.
- Using a stone for baking the loaf? Put the stone in the oven while the oven is preheating. This will help the bottom crust crisp nicely.
- Let the loaf cool completely before slicing. If you cut it too soon, all the steam will escape, leaving it gummy and doughy.
- Digital Kitchen Scale: measuring flour accurately is super easy with this scale.
- 12x17-Inch Cutting Board: a large cutting board is great for shaping and serving.
- Banneton with Linen Cover: this cane bowl is designed for proving dough in it.
- Digital Thermometer: a thermometer is a foolproof way of checking to see if the loaf is baked.
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Rustic Greek Olive Bread
- 4 ¼ cups bread flour
- 3 teaspoons fast-action yeast
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ⅓ cup room temperature water
- 1 cup Greek kalamata olives, pitted and halved
Making the Dough (25 min + 1 hr proving)
- 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.
- Turn it 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.
- Use the windowpane test to see if the dough is kneaded enough. Break off a sizeable lump and stretch it as thin as you can to form a windowpane. If it is translucent without tearing, it's kneaded enough; if it rips, knead for a minute more, then check again.
- Shape into a ball, place in an oiled bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Put in a warm place and let it prove until at least doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Shaping the Olive Bread (15 min + 30 min proving)
- Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and punch it down all over to knock out the gas pockets.
- Pile about half of the kalamata olives on the dough, then fold the dough over the olives. Knead to evenly distribute the olives, adding flour as needed. Add the remaining olives.
- 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.
- Generously flour a banneton (special cane basket), 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.
- About 10 minutes before the dough is proved, preheat the oven to 425 F.
Baking the Loaf (30 min baking + cooling)
- 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.
- Cut a slash on top with a baker's lame (razor blade) or a very sharp serrated knife.
- Bake at 425 F for 35 minutes, until it is well browned and has an internal temperature of at least 190 F.
- Let the bread cool completely on a wire cooling rack before slicing and serving, about 1 hour. This allows the loaf to finish cooking through.
- Always use bread flour. Its higher protein content will give you a high-rising fluffy bread.
- Use the windowpane test as in the instructions above to see if the dough is properly kneaded.
- Slow rising bread? Create a warm place by putting the dough in a cold oven and putting a pan of boiling water on the shelf beneath.
- Using a baking stone? Put the stone in the oven while the oven is preheating to help the crust crisp nicely.
- Let the bread cool completely before slicing to prevent a doughy, gummy bread.
Serving sizes and nutritional information are only an estimate and may vary from your results.
Will wheat flour work? I’ve never made bread before and that’s what I have in pantry.
Hi Ramela, I'm so thrilled that you want to make bread for the first time! This olive bread tastes the best and has the best texture with white bread flour, not whole wheat. Breads made with whole wheat flour still need some white flour added to lighten the texture, or they are extremely dense and unappetizing. I'd recommend waiting to make this recipe until you can get some bread flour. Happy baking!
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.
Thank you, Beth! I really enjoy the olives in this bread, too.
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.
Thank you so much, Mrs. Hillary! I'm so thrilled that you enjoyed the bread! 🙂