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Sunday, 17 January 2016

Baking an Olive Bread fit for Italy

Olives. You either hate them or you love them. I fall into the latter category and can hardly think of enough uses for that delectable little fruit. Small wonder then that my experimentation with bread brought me to a recipe for baking olive bread. I baked this one during the course of a morning and it was ready for early lunch. Very easy to do.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together 2 1/2 cups (625 ml) white bread flour with 1/2 (125 ml) cup brown bread flour/Nutty Wheat.

Add a packet of instant yeast and 1/2 teaspoon (2,5 ml) salt. Mix the dry ingredients well.

Alternative 1: Add a cup (250 ml) of tepid water with 1 tablespoon (12,5 ml) olive oil.
Alternative 2: Drain the water from the olives in a cup. Add 30 ml balsamic vinegar and a tablespoon (12,5 ml) olive oil. Fill up to the 250 ml mark with water (if necessary) and warm to a lukewarm state.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix well. Bring the dough together into a ball. Add a tablespoon of water at a time if the dough is not wet enough.

Sprinkle a work surface with flour and knead the dough for 5-10 minutes.

Lightly oil your mixing bowl, as well as the plastic that you cover the dough with.

Leave the dough in a warm dry place until it has doubled in size.

Knock the dough back (knock the air out of the dough). Add a cup of mixed olives that have been pitted. Knead the olives into the dough for another 5-10 minutes.

Lightly grease a baking tray with olive oil.

Form your dough into a long loaf.

Make deep cuts into the top of the loaf, about halfway through the loaf.

Bend the loaf back so that the grooves will open up. Shaping it into a crescent is optional.

Cover with the oiled plastic again an leave to rise in a warm dry place until it has doubled in size.

Brush the loaf with olive oil and bake in a preheated oven at 220°C for 35-45 minutes. The bread will sound hollow when you knock on it when it is done.

Squirt some Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil into two ramekins.

Prepare some fresh salads to serve with the bread. Here I have mango and grapes.

 The traditional garden salad is always a great accompaniment.

Prepare the baked bread on a large plate, with the ramekins conveniently placed next to it.

Do not cut the bread, but simple tear it off. Dip the bread into the Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil and enjoy!

A feast for the eye and the mouth!

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Remember to keep nurturing your TALENT for making PRETTY things.
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