Luscious Bread with Black and Green Olives

by meike peters

Black + Green Olive Bread

Baking bread is a very relaxing and satisfying ritual. You mix the dough and watch it rise slowly, then you shape it and bake it in the hot oven where it doubles in size again. It’s such a simple yet wonderful food, one of my favourites! Nothing beats a slice of fresh warm bread spread with butter or sprinkled with olive oil. So many people from different cultures celebrate this ritual, with similar recipes even though they live on opposite sides of the world. It’s one of our traditions that connects us and shows how much we have in common.

I have a good friend who lives in Sydney and whenever he comes to Berlin we all meet at our’s together with a few of our friends. Sometimes it’s a big dinner, sometimes we just have some wine and snacks. The only problem is that he never tells me in advance, it’s a very spontaneous thing, he’s just here at one point. Followed by another 10 – 15 people. This calls for some improvisation tricks in the kitchen, we just have to eat what my fridge offers!

Around two years ago he called to announce his arrival and I was lucky to have a few pumpkins in my kitchen, so a soup for 10 was quickly thrown together. For whatever reason I had lots of black olives as well. I like to have more than enough good bread on my table when it’s a long night so I decided to bake 2 loaves of olive bread with lots of olives and olive oil, juicy enough to nibble on after finishing the soup. The texture is light but you taste and feel the olives and the olive oil, it makes the bread really smooth. Everybody loved it and couldn’t stop eating it. This was a feast to me, it always is, sitting together with friends at my long wooden table, talking, laughing and enjoying some red wine and nice bread.

Tomorrow it’s my Sandwich Wednesday again and I will make a special sandwich with this bread which is very popular in the Middle East!

Black + Green Olive Bread

A Juicy Bread with Black and Green Olives

For 1 loaf of bread you need

plain flour 250g / 9 ounces
(I use spelt flour type 630 but you can use any other plain flour)
dry yeast 1 tablespoon
salt 1/2 teaspoon
a pinch of sugar
water, lukewarm, 70ml
milk, lukewarm, 70ml
butter 1 tablespoon
olive oil 2 tablespoons
black and green olives, chopped, 60g / 2 ounces

Combine the dry ingredients and add the water, milk, butter and olive oil. Mix with your dough hooks till everything is combined. Add the olives and continue mixing for a few minutes. Continue kneading and punching with your hands until you have an elastic dough ball, it will be a little sticky but that’s fine. Put the dough back into the bowl and cover with a tea towel.

When I prepare the dough the day before I bake it, I put the bowl with the dough in the fridge (covered with cling film) and let it rise overnight. You will have to take it out of the fridge 30-60 minutes before you can continue with the next steps.

Option 2:
In case I want to bake my bread the same day, I let the dough rise in a 35°C / 95°F warm oven for 45 minutes. This works really well but make sure that your oven is set to top / bottom heat and not to fan.

When the dough has doubled in size, take it out, punch it down and knead with your hands for 2 minutes. Form the dough in a long loaf shape and put it on an oiled baking sheet. Cover with a tea towel and let it rise for another 25 – 35 minutes in a warm place.

Set your oven to 200°C / 390°F top / bottom heat.

Bake the bread for 30 minutes or until cooked through. If you’re not sure if it’s done turn the bread around and knock on its underside, it should sound hollow. Let it cool for 5 – 10 minutes, cut a thick slice off it and drizzle some olive oil on top, just a bit, and sprinkle with salt.

Black + Green Olive Bread