Bread is one of the most magical foods. Only few ingredients can transform dusty flour, water, and dry yeast into a pillowy loaf of bread. That is not to say there are many kinds of breads, some with many ingredients, some without yeast, some flat, some doughy, some hearty, some dense, some kneaded, and some not kneaded. To me bread is one of the most underrated kitchen recipes. It seems like a tedious and time-consuming task, but after a few tries, becomes familiar and almost second nature. Bread is alive (in ways) and watching it change and respond to its environment is incredible!
One of my goals this year was to make more bread. I started with a recipe from Alexandra Cooks’ My Mother’s Peasant Bread that was simple and flawless. I mean, I’ve made this bread multiple times, and every time it comes out perfectly. I’ve adapted this recipe to make an easy, No Knead Olive bread, and like it, it is full-proof. There is no kneading involved, so all you need is a wooden spoon to stir together the ingredients. Maybe it’s my love for olives and olive oil, but olives add an undeniable richness, earthiness, and slight sweetness to the bread. Most of the time I’ll dunk bread in olive oil and add olives, but when it’s already in the bread, I don’t have to! It’s like we just skipped a step. Salted, oil-cured black olives are my favorite, maybe because they are slightly sweet and super salty, but use whatever olives are your favorite!
You’ll notice the recipe calls for 3 cups all purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour. In the original recipe, it’s only all purpose flour, but especially because we are adding olives here, the whole wheat flour add just enough earthiness and density to the bread.
If you are a fan of olive bread and love a good, easy, no knead bread recipe then this is for you! All you need is a few ingredients, a bowl and a wooden spoon. The hardest part is waiting for the bread to cool. The first one I made I was planning to photograph the next day, but who’s to say it could last that long. I mean what a disgrace it would be to have warm, freshly baked bread sit and cool on the counter, only to be eaten the next day. You could assume that I went through a few loafs before finally getting the shot! And if you thought baked cookies smelled good, this bread just perfumes the kitchen with a homey and doughy scent. So I must advise you, on your next rainy day, whip out the flour, salt, sugar, and olives, and make this bread! It’s truly delicious and really, nothing beats fresh, homemade bread. Enjoy!
Preheat oven to 425 fahrenheit.
In a pyrex or small bowl place in the lukewarm water with the sugar and yeast. Let sit for 10-15 minutes, until yeast is foamy. In a large bowl, whisk together both flours and salt. Add the olives. When ready, add the yeast water to the large bowl and stir together a wooden spoon until a loose dough comes together (it should not be smooth like a pizza dough, but the water and flour should be absorbed and formed together). *See above for reference pictures. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm area. Let rise for an hour or until it doubles in size. After it’s risen, punch the dough down a few times and carefully remove the dough from the bowl and place in a well-oiled cast-iron skillet or baking sheet. Form into a round shape as much as possible and let sit, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes. Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes, turn the oven down to 375 degree fahrenheit and continue to bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and let cool slightly before placing the bread on cooling rack to cool completely (or as much as you can before eating it!). Enjoy!
Makes: 1, 10 inch loaf bread
Total time: 2 - 2 1/2 hours
2 cups lukewarm water (1/2 cup boiling water mixed with 1 1/2 cup cold water)
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons active dry yeast or one 1/4 ounce package
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup pitted salted cured black olives
2 tablespoons olive oil for greasing