Homemade Olive Bread is as close to the Mediterranean Sea that I’ve been, except for that one fabulous trip to Italy. Man how I would love to live in Greece for a few months. I would be a complete ‘bread-aholic’ and visit every artisan I could find, learning knew ways to play with dough. In the meantime I will just enjoy this olive bread recipe and play with my dutch oven.
The funny thing is that I don’t even like to eat olives plain. I know, I’m a big contradiction wrapped in an apron sometimes. But, I do LOVE olives baked in bread. Maybe its the mixture of flavors that I enjoy, because olives on pizza works too.
How to Make Olive Bread
This is one of those minimal hands on breads that anyone can make. You will need to start your recipe the day before you plan to bake it. The dough requires a 14-18 hr rest period to activate gas bubbles created by the yeast through fermentation. So, mix the dough, cover it and set aside early afternoon to be able to bake the next morning.
Next day, mix in your olives, herbs and cheese if your mediterranean recipe loving heart desires. Shape into a loaf and let rest for another hour or so. Bake in a dutch oven for a soft texture and crispy crust. Then, I highly suggest pairing with a delicious wine and a good book. Maybe a book on traveling to Greece 🙂
What is a Dutch Oven?
A dutch oven is a large heavy pot with a lid that traps in steam around this wet dough allowing for a better rise and expansion of the loaf. I have both a ceramic and a cast iron dutch oven, wither will work for this olive bread. This recipe works great in a 3.5 quart, 5.5 quart, and 6 quart dutch oven. The recipe bakes well in all three sizes, just the larger the oven the flatter the bread.
What is No Knead Bread?
Most yeast bread takes a bit of work to activate gluten whether your using a mixer with dough hook or that good ole arm workout.
But No-knead bread creates gluten by allowing the dough to ferment for a long time, usually 12-14 hrs. The fermentation creates lot of air bubbles which aids in the bread rising while baking. This form of bread dough us usually very wet and has a low yeast content.
Tips for Making Dutch Oven Olive Bread?
- Mix the warm water (110 F), flour, salt, and yeast together with a wooden spoon in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 14-18 hrs.
- The dough should have doubled in size, be very sticky and full of air bubbles.
- Transfer dough to a floured surface. You should see a web like structure to the dough.
- Generously flour your hands before working with the dough to prevent sticking. You may still have dough stick to your fingers, just have fun!
- Gently press dough into a rectangular shape. Place your chopped olives and herbs onto dough and began folding the dough inwards to work in the ingredients.
- Shape into a round loaf, seam side down.
- Cover a flat baking sheet with parchment paper and transfer dough using a bench scraper onto parchment paper.
- Lightly cover dough with flour and cover with a tea towel.
- By preheating the dutch oven before baking the bread, it helps to replicate the heat of stone hearth bread ovens.
- Use oven mitts to remove preheated dutch oven. (personal reminder from experience!)
- Gently lower dough into dutch oven still on the parchment paper and place lid on top.
- Option to not use parchment paper and simply coat a light layer of olive oil onto dutch oven prior to heating. Then transfer loaf with a bench scraper. I personally find the parchment paper method easier.
- Bake the bread for about 35 minutes, then remove lid and let it bake the final 15-20 minutes uncovered. This gives your olive bread that nice crispy crust.
- Once baked, lift the loaf from the dutch oven by the parchment paper and let cool on rack for 10-15 minutes before slicing.
Dutch Oven Olive Bread
- 3 cups (384 g) Bread Flour
- 1 tsp Active Dry Yeast
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1 ½ Cups (375 ml) Warm Water
- 1-½ Cups Kalamata Olives pitted, and chopped into halves or thirds
- 2 Tbsp Fresh Rosemary chopped
- 1 tsp Olive Oil for lining bowl
- Extra flour for dusting
- Mix the warm water, sifted flour, salt, and yeast together with a wooden spoon in a large bowl.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 14-18 hrs at room temperature.
- The dough should have doubled in size, it be very sticky and full of air bubbles. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. You should see a web like structure as you dump it out onto the work surface.
- Lightly flour your hands and gently press the dough into a rectangular shape.
- Place your chopped olives and herbs onto the center of the dough and began folding the dough inwards to work in the ingredients.
- Shape into a round loaf, positioning the seam side down.
- Transfer the dough to a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Cover with a floured light kitchen towel and then place the baking sheet in a draft free location to rest for another 1-2 hrs.
- Preheat your oven to 450 F ( 232 C) and place your Dutch Oven on the middle to lowest shelf to warm.
- Use oven mitts to carefully remove the preheated dutch oven.
- Gently lower dough into the dutch oven still on the parchment paper and place the lid on top.
- Bake the bread for about 35 minutes, then remove the lid and let it bake the final 15-20 minutes uncovered for a nice crust.
- The finished loaf should have a nice golden brown crust.
- Once fully baked, lift the loaf from the dutch oven by pulling up on the parchment paper. Place the olive bread directly onto a wore cooling rack for 10-15 minutes before slicing.