Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Olive Loaf

Black and green olives from Aragon, in the northeast Spain
Which electric appliance you can't live without? No light, candles sound romantic; no water-heater, it's ok too as we went through for 2 months without it (thanks for the stringent safety regulation that took us such a long time to settle it). But no refrigerator, I can't as I won't be able to make bread... I think I've just heard you saying 'pardon me'.

Yes, I need my fridge to proof my dough.

First I learnt about it from one of the Scandinavian pastry/bread books written by Beatric Ojakangas (a professional baker, American of Finnish descent). She presented a collection of recipes done by refrigerating the dough overnight, and I tried them all, all fantastic, and more importantly, such method perfectly fits in my schedule. Come to think of it, the breads I like to make usually require 3 proofing, so every 2 hours or so I have to get back to the dough; that means a half day being stuck around the house. The experience of bread making should bring along a joyous anticipation but not that 'when-I-can-finally-get-it-over' frustration. So now, what I am doing, before bed I finish kneading the dough, then let it rise in fridge overnight. Next morning I do the shaping and let it finish the last rising. By the time I finish brushing my teeth and taking shower, the dough is ready to go to hot oven. The rest of my day remains undisturbed, except getting more phone calls from friends and family who want to join me this lunch :)

It is the first bread recipe I created. Taking reference from Basic Pizza Dough (see it at the side bar), I made the starter first, and aimed for a very moist dough. I am very happy with the end result, the interior is opalescent, delicate and pretty porous. If ask me what I want to change next time, maybe reduce the yeast a little bit, just to see if the bread still comes out the same.

For the choice of olives, black olive is definitely better than the green one in this loaf. Pitted them if desire, but mine aren't since they don't bother me, what I really care is their wonderful flavor.

Sliced up olive loaf, spread with mild-flavored soft cheese, topped with cabbage sprouts

Recipe of Olive Loaf
yield: 3 loaves with the length of 23 cm

For the starter: 150g plain flour + 2 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast + 1 cup lukewarm water + 1 pinch of sugar

For the main dough:
  • 50g semolina flour
  • 250g bread flour
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 150 g black olives of your choice
  • extra virgin olive oil, preferable with floral or fruity aroma


  1. For the starter: Combine water, flour, yeast and sugar together, cover and let it proof for 1 hour at 25C room temperature. The starter should look bubbly, and almost double its original volume
  2. To make the dough: Combine the starter, semolina, flour and salt, knead until the dough is elastic and smooth. The dough should feel wet, but not sticky. Grease a large bowl and plastic wrap, place the dough in, cover, let it rise in the fridge overnight.
  3. Next morning bring the dough back to room temperature. Knead briefly, and divide it into three portions.
  4. Lightly flour the work table, roll each dough to 25 x 15 cm retangle. Generously brush extra virgin olive oil all over but leave one long end (so that it can seal easily), evenly distribute 1/3 portion of olives, roll up the long side, pinch the end, carefully transfer it on a baking tray, brush more olive oil on top. Repeat the same procedure with the other two doughs. Cover with plastic wrap, let them rise at 25C room temperature for about an hour. They should puff up their volume close to double.
  5. Set oven to 250C, pre-heat for 30 minutes
  6. Bake the loaf at 250C for the first 5 minutes, then lower to 220 for another 20 - 25 minutes. Check the doness.
  7. The loaf stores well for two days in room temperature.



Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Olive bread is one of my all time favorites. One time when we rented an apartment in Venice, we would walk around the corner every morning to the bakery, buy some olive rolls, then go a few doors farther down to the cheese shop to get some mild taleggio cheese to slice on top of the warm rolls. It was absolutely the best breakfast ever.

Anonymous said...

Oh... this looks amazing!!!
Good job!

David T. Macknet said...

Truly beautiful bread! I'll have to try the refrigeration thing some day! Thanks!

Burcu said...

Beautiful pictures and delicious looking bread, Gattina, just beautiful!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Gosh lovely Gattina. Isn't it a thrill to create a recipe and bread too. Olive bread has to be a favorite! Beautiful!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Marvelous! That bread looks delicious! I particularly love the first and last pictures... So refreshing and beautiful!

I very rarely use the fridge for my dough...



test it comm said...

That bread looks so good! The olives look like they are still nice and moist.

Anonymous said...

I've been using your basic pizza dough recipe for bread making a lot recently. It's fantastic!
I often make up a batch of the dough on the weekend, and then we have a couple of pizzas, and then the dough gets left in the fridge for a few days, and when I eventually get round to it, I've made some lovely loaves out of it, usually sprinkled with sesame seeds, poppy seeds and a few black onion seeds too. (One can never have too many seeds in my opinion).
I've definitely noticed that the flavour gets better the longer the dough has sat in the fridge. And I'm so grateful to you for the wonderful recipe - it's much the best pizza dough recipe I've come across.

FH said...

YUMMO!! Look at those chunky Olives in the loaf, love it, good one Gattina.I will try for sure. Long weekend ahead, enjoy!:))

Callipygia said...

The bread looks hauntingly delicious! And you know I have seen some recipes on the web using leftover pizza dough to make tortas de aceite- by incorporating more olive oil and anise seed...hmm!

aminah said...

Here in Oslo a few brilliant French and Danish bakers opened a small bakery ...that was in the late 90s and now its one of the most popular bakeries in the city...people travel far to taste their walnut bread, sourdough bread and Danish rye bread...its been a long time since I tasted the bread ,since being diagnosed with coeliaci, but I have a distinct memory of the still warm bread smothered with fresh butter just melting on my tongue...

I have the feeling your olive bread is something of the same...salty? Just a tiny bowl of olive oil and sea salt and mmmmmmm

Hope all is well Gattina and the sun is shining where you are.

Pooja said...

you are synonym to word "creative" :) .
Picture is great and the way you presented it is even better.
I have an award for oyu , check out in my post.

Lisa Turner said...

I can never resist olives, in fact it takes all of my will power not to eat them all up before they end up in the recipe I am preparing. Just lovely!

Anonymous said...

i love your bread, looks lovely, chewy & hearty. great job Gattina.

Lore said...

What a beautiful creation Gattina, and what I love about it is that it looks so delicate! I too love olive flavour :)

Anonymous said...

Oh, wow! Your olive loaf looks so good!


sher said...

That is the prettiest looking olive bread I've ever seen. Then, I began to really look at the crust and the crumb of the bread. Now, I'm dying for bread! Will I be able to sleep?

kitten said...

I'm just curious, how would this recipe work with a bread maker? I am terrible making bread by hand which is why I have a bread maker, as I dearly love home made bread but just cannot for the life of me get it to turn out right, ever no matter what I do. Anyway, just wondering if I could use it the same way, just pop it into a bread maker and set it to cook as I would a standard loaf of white bread - which is what I do to make herb bread.

Gattina Cheung said...

kitten, thank you for the comment. Sorry that I can't help your question because I never own a bread machine. You know what, please scroll up this comment colume you'll find "mykitcheninhalfcups" (her name is Tanna), this blogger is a terrific bread baker! And I've seen her using bread machine to produce excellent different breads and rolls. Maybe try to ask her? Just a suggestion.

kitten said...

I am absolutely TERRIBLE at making bread...for some reason I just cannot get the kneading part right, therefore I tend to use my breadmaker for it. Do you think I can use this same recipe in my breadmaker? I'd love to know if I, I'm bread challenged!

Gattina Cheung said...

Hi kitten, thanks for the visit :)
I never own a bread machine so I can't give you any advise on how and what adjustments should be made, although the bread definitely can be done by machine. Good luck and have fun :D