Recipe: Sourdough Olive Bread

Olive Bread

Olive Bread

I like an olive bread that has a LOT of olives in it, my favorite being the loaf at Acme Bakery in the Bay Area. Problem is that olives are expensive compared to the other ingredients. The best solution I have found is to use green pitted Mediterranean style olives from Amazon, which are currently about $3/can in a pack of six, each giving you enough for two loaves. They’re packed in a mildly salty brine which is what you want; the brine becomes part of the liquid in your recipe. 2 1.5-lb loaves.

200g 50/50 whole wheat/white flour starter at 100%
Lukewarm water+brine from olives to total 700 g
800 g all purpose flour, unbleached
200 g whole wheat flour
about 1 1/2 t Kosher salt
24 oz can Galil pitted green olives or equivalent in brine, not oil

Method: The base recipe is my Kettle Bread so see that as well as Country Style Miche for more detailed dough handling instructions. Refresh your starter according to your preferred method. Add 200 g to a large mixing bowl and reserve the rest for next time. Add about 500g lukewarm water to the bowl and stir to mix; add the brine from the jar of olives then top it off with more water to 700 g total. Add flours and mix thoroughly then autolyse for at least 30 minutes. Coarsely chop the olives. Stretch and fold the dough at 30 minute intervals, adding 1 t salt before the first S&F and olives after the second S&F and covering with a plate or plastic wrap between foldings. Taste as you go and add salt as needed, but you won’t need as much as usual because the olives and brine are salty.

When dough is smooth and cohesive and passes the windowpane test (after 2-3 hours) cover and let it bulk ferment 4 hours. Transfer to a floured board, divide in half, and shape into two rounds. Cover and let rest on board 30 minutes. Turn into well floured bannetons and put each in a plastic grocery store bag (or wrap in plastic) and allow to rise for 2 hours. At 1 1/2 hours, preheat oven with two dutch ovens inside to 500 degrees. Handling the cast iron pots carefully (Bruce Frankel’s fire gloves are good for this), place them on the stovetop and flip in the loaves from the bannetons. Score the top, cover and return to oven. Immediately lower heat to 450 degrees. After 20 minutes remove the lid; loaves will have risen dramatically. Continue cooking for another 30-40 minutes until the loaves are dark but not burned and the internal temperature of the bread reaches 205 degrees*. Turn out onto a counter and cool for a couple hours before slicing.

*After a couple of recent episodes with gummy bread, I’ve started checking internal temperature with a BBQ probe to confirm doneness.

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