One of my favorite breads to buy fresh from the bakery is olive bread. I'm crazy about olives to begin with so when they're baked into a fresh, crusty loaf of bread I just can't resist! I added some dried herbs for extra oomph and used part whole wheat flour to reduce my guilt (because we all know the entire loaf will be devoured in less than a week).
I used dried thyme but feel free to use whatever herbs (fresh or dried) that sound good to you. If you're not sure what herbs would taste good, eat an olive and then go smell some herbs. Whatever smell mixes well with the taste of the olive in your mouth will probably taste good in the bread. At least that's how I decided which to use.
I dropped by the olive bar to get my olives so that I wouldn't have to buy a whole $6 dollar jar. The cool part is that the kalamata olives that I used were marinated in some sort of oil with red pepper so I got a little spicy kick in my bread. That was a pleasant surprise :)
This recipe takes next to no work but it does need to sit around for a while so make it on a day that you'll be home but busy doing other things.
Total Recipe cost: $2.30
Servings Per Recipe: 12
Cost per serving: $0.19 per slice
Prep time: 3 hrs. Cook time: 30 min. Total: 3.5 hrs
|1 cup||whole wheat flour||$0.16|
|2.25 cups||bread flour||$0.33|
|.75 Tbsp||active dry or instant yeast||$0.20|
|1/3 cup||pitted kalamata olives||$1.48|
|1 tsp||dry thyme||$0.05|
|1.25 cups||warm water||$0.00|
STEP 1: In a large pot or bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flours, yeast, salt, herbs). Stir until everything is evenly combined.
STEP 2: Slice or roughly chop the olives. Add the olives and warm water to the dry ingredients and stir until everything is moistened. If the mixture does not form a cohesive ball of dough (no dry flour left on the bottom of the bowl), add more water 2 Tbsp at a time until there are no more dry bits (see photos below).
STEP 3: Loosely cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature for two hours.
STEP 4: After two hours, sprinkle a little flour on the dough and your hands and form the dough into a smooth ball. Prepare a baking sheet with either parchment paper or foil and a generous sprinkle of cornmeal. Place shaped dough ball on the baking sheet and let rise for 1 to 1.5 hours or until double in size.
STEP 5: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. With a very sharp knife, make a few shallow slashes across the dough from one side to the other. Brush the dough with water and then bake for 30 minutes. Let the bread cool on a wire rack before slicing.
Step By Step Photos
Combine all of the dry ingredients (flour, salt, yeas, herbs) in a large pot or bowl. Stir until they're evenly combined.
Slice or roughly chop the olives.
Add the olives and warm water to the dry ingredients. Stir until everything is combined and moistened.
If it looks like this (some dry flour, not in one solid ball of dough) then you need to add more water. Add a little at a time until it all comes together into one piece.
It should look like this. It's all stuck together in one piece and it has picked up all of the dry flour and bits off of the bottom of the pot. I ended up having to add an extra 1/4 cup of water but did so only 2 Tbsp at a time. The amount of water you will need depends on how dry your flour and air are.
Loosely cover the dough and let it rest for two hours at room temperature. After two hours it will have expanded and look like the dough in the picture above.
Sprinkle a little flour onto the dough and your hands. Form the dough into a smooth ball. Place the ball on a baking sheet with either parchment paper or foil and a generous sprinkling of corn meal.
Let the dough rise until it has doubled in size (about 1 to 1.5 hours).
Gently make a few slashes across the top of the dough to allow it to expand during cooking. Brush the loaf with water and then bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for about 30 minutes.
Let the bread cool on a wire rack before slicing.
This bread made the most amazing sandwich with eggplant caponata, a fried egg, feta and mozzarella. I was in heaven.
...of course it's not so bad with just a slather of butter either. ;)