Recipe: Olive Bread with Rye Starter

Olive Bread with Sourdough Rye Starter

I have to say this is the best olive bread I have experienced, with wonderful tartness due to large amounts of rye starter plus a long fermentation. Makes two 1 1/2 lb loaves.

225 g  rye starter at 100% hydration*
500 g all purpose flour
340 g water**
1 c pitted olives, coarsely chopped (I used a mixture of Kalamatas and Mediterranean green olives)
1 1/2 t Kosher salt
1 t lemon zest, grated or finely chopped
3/4 t Herbes de Provence, dried

Method: Mix rye starter, flour and water and autolyze 30 minutes. Add salt then knead with your preferred technique (I did four sets of stretch-and-folds, 15 minutes apart) until gluten is well developed. Cover and bulk ferment at room temperature for 3 hours, then transfer to refrigerator and proof for at least 48 hours. Bring back to room temperature; flatten dough on your work surface and knead in olives, lemon zest and Herbes de Provence. Shape into two loves and proof in bannetons till nicely risen, about 2-4 hours. Preheat cast iron dutch ovens or baking stone in a 500 degree oven. Load the bread and immediately reduce heat to 475 degrees. Bake covered for 20 minutes if using dutch oven, then remove cover and bake 25 minutes more or until nice and brown.

*This is a lot more starter than I usually use, and an important factor in the tartness of the bread. If you don’t have rye starter you should make some, using the method described here using whole rye/dark rye flour and an equal measure of water by weight. I guess you could substitute white flour starter if you don’t want to wait to build a new starter, in which case I’d recommend using 125 g rye flour/375 g white flour.

** UPDATED: dropped the water volume slightly after further experimentation. If you are comfortable shaping very wet dough, feel free to add more.

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