Crusty Olive Bread

Jan Rood-Ojalvo
Recipe by
Jan Rood-Ojalvo

What could make a crusty loaf of artisanal bread even better? Just imagine studding it with an assortment of kalamata and green olives. Olives are one of the Seven Species eaten on Tu BiShvat, and they add a depth of flavor that is both fun and sophisticated.

This bread is easy to assemble, with just a few ingredients, and even easier to bake with fool-proof refrigerator rising and Dutch oven baking.

3 1/2 cups unbleached or bread flour (or a combination of 3 cups white flour, 1/2 cup whole grain flour)
1 scant tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1 3/4 cups olives, pitted, patted dry and coarsely chopped (a mixture of Kalamata and green olives is attractive and delicious)
  1. Combine the flour, yeast and salt in a stand mixer with a dough hook.

  2. Add water and mix on medium speed until dough begins to come together on the hook. 

  3. Add olives and mix gently until dough is smooth and elastic.

  4. Take dough out of bowl and knead into one ball for a large loaf, or cut in half and form two balls for smaller loaves.

  5. Place each ball into a greased plastic bag and store in the refrigerator for four hours or up to three days.

  6. To bake, remove dough from fridge and let it rest on the counter in its plastic bag. 

  7. Put dutch oven into cold oven, set at 500°F. Heat for one hour.

  8. Remove pot from oven, lift lid, place dough gently inside, score with sharp serrated knife, replace lid and place back in oven. 

  9. Lower temperature to 450°F. Bake 25 minutes covered. 

  10. Remove lid and bake for another 20 minutes, until the crust is browned and crisp.

  11. Let cool before slicing (if you can – we never make it).

Flavor Variation

Lemon-Herb Olive Bread: Add the zest of one lemon and 2 teaspoons of Herbs de Provence to the dry ingredients in the initial mixing.