I love bread. Especially homemade, rustic bread with the crunchy crust. Dr. Oz once compared bread to crack for our bodies and I really see his point. Once I take that first bite of homemade bread, I hit carb bliss and the next thing I know, half the loaf is gone. Still, I can’t help but make a loaf of two each weekend. I have no willpower.
One of the first subscription box recipes I created was for a rustic homemade olive bread using the olives from my Paella Party Hungry Globetrotter box. I am not a huge fan of olives. I am very particular about the olives I eat. I am a little obsessed with tapenade and spicy olive bread though. In fact, I make olive bread at least once a month and top it with some grilled halloumi. Yum.
Usually I do a no-knead bread when making my olive bread because it is easier to mix in the olives, but no-knead bread usually means you have to wait at least 18 hours before you can bake. When I get a craving for bread I want it right away. There is no way I can wait until tomorrow for bread! This recipe is a great for a quick fix of bread with all the same rustic charm and takes only about 2 and a half hours to make. It is a little harder to incorporate the olives, but hey, all for the sake of getting your bread fix, right?
- 1 jar of olives*
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar, honey or agave nectar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1½ cups warm water, plus 1 cup
- 3½ cups flour**
- ½ tablespoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- Mix the yeast, sugar and salt in the 1½ cups warm water. The water should be very warm, but not scalding hot. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
- While you are letting the yeast activate, drain your olives and roughly chop them. You can use any olives you like.
- In a large bowl, slowly add the yeast mixture to the flour and mix well. If you are using a mixer, make sure you are using a bread hook. and mix for about 5 minutes (this will replace the need for you to knead the bread). If you are mixing by hand, use something sturdy. I find I need to really work the flour together in order for everything to full incorporate.
- Mix in your olives and red pepper flakes.
- Knead the bread on a floured surface for 10 minutes if you were mixing your dough by hand. You may need to add more flour to help with the stickiness, but try to to add too much as you do not want to dry out the dough. Be careful not to mush the olives. I personally prefer to incorporate the olive post-kneading.
- Place your bread in a bowl lightly greased with olive oil. Cover and sit in a warm area to rise for 60 minutes.
- Punch down the dough and form into a loaf. You can experiment with the shape - I prefer a round loaf.
- Sprinkle a light dusting of flour on top and cut an "X" on top of the loaf. Leave it to rise a second time for 40 minutes on your baking sheet. If you are using a baking stone, let this pre-heat in the oven.
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees while the dough is rising
- Place your loaf in the oven and fill a shallow dish or similar tool with the remaining water and place on the rack below your bread.
- Bake for 25 - 30 minutes.
**All-purpose flour is fine, but I prefer bread flour