Olive lovers, you know how when you buy a loaf of olive bread, there are never enough olives in there? I have a solution: make your own at home! I assure you, it’s not that hard. (And if you don’t like olives, you can still make your own bread with different flavorings of your choice.) For this recipe you do need an oven-proof pot with a tight-sealing lid that will withstand 450 F/ 230 C degree heat. I use my 5.5-quart Le Creuset dutch oven and it works like a charm. You just mix everything together the night before, let the yeast do its magic overnight, then plop it in a preheated pot and cook. It comes out crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside, and (my version, at least) loaded with olives and herbs. It’s the only bread recipe you’ll ever need (and never knead)!
This is my entry for the first Fiesta Friday Challenge hosted by Angie at The Novice Gardener. You’ve got to see the amazing things people are making with the challenge’s two required ingredients, yeast and herbs. We’ve all pledged to battle the yeast beast, and I think we’re finding it’s not at all as intimidating as we anticipated. I’ve had fun getting to know many of my fellow challengers at Angie’s weekly Fiesta Friday gatherings, and I can’t think of a more fun and encouraging group than this one to share our kitchen trials and tribulations.
Now, for this No-Knead Artisan Olive & Herb Bread, I’ve relied on the awesome post from Simply So Good for the recipe that originated from Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery and went viral a while back. I’ve seen different variations, but Simply So Good‘s post is so thorough and clear, I think it’s the best place to start. I’ve just added some of my favorite ingredients to the mix: kalamata olives, rosemary, thyme & lemon zest. I’ve also adapted some of the techniques to what worked for me. So let’s roll up our sleeves and get baking!
Here’s what you do in the early morning or the night before you want to bake the bread: In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon instant or rapid rise yeast (make sure it’s not expired), and 1 heaping tsp. kosher salt, and mix well with a whisk. Then add any other fixings to the mix that you like (I add my two heaping cups of pitted kalamata olives, finely chopped herbs and grated lemon zest here), plus 1 and 1/2 cups cool tap water and mix with a spatula. The dough will be shaggy and sticky, that’s okay, you don’t want to overmix it. Oil another bowl with a dab of olive oil smeared all over the inside, plop the dough in and cover with plastic wrap. Leave it for 12 to 18 hours for the yeast to do its magic.
I don’t have a photo of the dough before it rises, but the top right photo above is what it looks like after 12 hours: stretched and pocked with bubbles throughout. Here’s where I put my dutch oven, lid and all, into the (cold) oven and set the temperature to 450 F/ 230 C to let the oven and the pot heat up gradually. Now back to the dough: cover a large piece of parchment paper with a handful of flour and dump the dough out onto it. Flour your hands well too and gently shape the dough into a ball (or egg-shape, it’s fine; just don’t knead because you want to keep those nice bubbles inside). Brush/dump off the excess flour from the parchment paper and use the same plastic wrap to cover and let the dough rest for 30 minutes like this on the clean paper (bottom right photo in the gallery above).
When your oven and pot are heated to temp (at least 30 minutes), carefully take the pot out, set the lid aside, and (very, very carefully so you don’t burn yourself on the hot pot) lift the dough on the parchment paper up over the hot pot and let it fall into the pot. Don’t worry if it warps or loses its shape when it falls into the pot; see mine above in the bottom middle photo — it’ll all work out! Leave as is and sprinkle with some fleur de sel or other fine sea salt, cover with the hot lid, and bake for 30 minutes. Note: You do not need to oil the pot! The sealed pot is creating a steam bath for your dough to get crisp and crusty on the outside. After 30 minutes, remove the lid, and continue baking for 15 more minutes. Remove from oven and transfer the bread to a cooling rack. It will take about 15 minutes to cool, but you might not be able to resist slicing into it warm from the oven. And what goes best with olive and herb bread? Olive oil infused with more herbs, of course! But eat it however you like it – it’s also great with cheese, toasted, and as sandwich bread!
Can you believe it, we made bread! And just look at all those olives peeking through the crust! Now this is my kind of olive bread. 🙂
No-Knead Artisan Olive & Herb Bread
Adapted from this Artisan No-Knead Bread recipe on Simply So Good
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping dough later
- 1/2 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast (make sure it’s not expired)
- 1 heaping teaspoon kosher salt (to taste, but the olives are quite salty)
- 2 heaping cups pitted and halved kalamata olives *
- 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
- 1 and 1/2 cups cool tap water
- olive oil for greasing the bowl for the dough before rising (plus more for dipping later)
- Sprinkle of fleur de sel or other fine sea salt
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, yeast, salt, and mix well with a whisk. Then add olives, herbs and lemon zest, plus tap water and mix with a spatula. The dough will be sticky & shaggy, that’s okay, you don’t want to overmix it. Oil another bowl with a dab of olive oil smeared all over the inside, then pour the dough in and cover with plastic wrap. Leave it for 12 to 18 hours for the yeast to do its magic.
- When ready to bake, place the dutch oven (or other heat-proof lidded container) with lid into the cold oven and heat to 450 F/ 230 C for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, cover a large piece of parchment paper with a handful of flour and dump the dough out onto it. Flour your hands well too and gently shape the dough into a ball (don’t knead or overwork it because you want to keep those nice bubbles inside). Brush/dump off the excess flour from the parchment paper and use the same plastic wrap to cover and let the dough rest for 30 minutes like this on the clean paper.
- When your oven and pot are heated to temp (at least 30 minutes), carefully take the pot out, set the lid aside, and (very, very carefully so you don’t burn yourself on the hot pot) lift the dough on the parchment paper up over the hot pot and let it fall into the pot. Sprinkle with some fleur de sel or other fine sea salt, cover with the hot(!) lid, and bake for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, remove the lid, and continue baking for 15 more minutes. Remove from oven and transfer the bread to a cooling rack. Slice and enjoy!
* Note: I buy whole kalamata olives and pit them myself; I just lay a knife flat on top of each olive, use my fist or palm to give it a pound from above to squash (watch out for flying olive juice). The flesh of the olive should then loosen from the pit and unfold easily to release the pit. I halve the olives for this recipe.
May 20, 2014 at 1:46 pm
wow! so good!
May 20, 2014 at 1:49 pm
Ooh, this looks fantastic! 🙂
May 20, 2014 at 3:43 pm
What a gorgeous bread. Have saved it.
May 21, 2014 at 12:45 pm
Thanks, hope you try it, it’s very amenable to changes based on your preferences, and so easy!
May 20, 2014 at 5:52 pm
Pics r welcoming!!
May 20, 2014 at 5:55 pm
Love EVERYTHING about this!
May 21, 2014 at 12:46 pm
Thanks, so happy you stopped by. You’ve got to try this bread, it’s so easy, and you’ll love that you made it!
May 21, 2014 at 4:05 pm
Oh yes! I plan to!
Making bread I won’t feel guilty eating is actually on my blogs Bucket List!
May 20, 2014 at 7:54 pm
That’s amazing Laura! Looks stunning 🙂
May 21, 2014 at 12:46 pm
🙂 Thanks, Elaine!
May 20, 2014 at 8:20 pm
Beautiful Bread!! I could eat olives all day, love them in the bread and with the herbs, delicious!! Absolutely gorgeous loaf!!
May 21, 2014 at 12:47 pm
Thanks, the beauty of this is that you can load it up with as many olives as you like!
May 20, 2014 at 10:12 pm
No knead sounds awesome for a bread 😀 and when it looks as good as yours, why knead 😉 Beautiful!!
May 21, 2014 at 12:48 pm
Yeah, you can’t go wrong with this no-knead method, it’s so simple 🙂 Thanks!
May 20, 2014 at 10:40 pm
Laura! This looks amazing! What a great addition to the challenge! Gorgeous!!
May 21, 2014 at 12:48 pm
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May 20, 2014 at 10:45 pm
For real? It’s that easy? Okay I’m trying it. I love olives and bread. Beautiful entry… I’ll let you know how it goes.
May 21, 2014 at 12:50 pm
Yep, totally easy! Thanks, Amanda 🙂
May 21, 2014 at 6:15 am
I LOOOVE the no-knead technique, and your bread looks perfect! I really like this blend of rosemary, lemon zest and black olives. I will try this very soon 🙂
May 21, 2014 at 12:52 pm
Thanks, Catherine, so happy you like the idea — I can’t emphasize enough how simple it was, with no kneading, and the rapid-rise yeast, I think it’s foolproof 😉 As long as I can remember to mix it up the night before, I don’t see why I can’t make this bread weekly or even more often; looking forward to more experimenting with ingredients!
May 21, 2014 at 8:01 am
It looks wonderful and pretty easy, I am an olive lover!
May 21, 2014 at 12:53 pm
Thanks, it really is easy and the best option for olive lovers 🙂
May 21, 2014 at 1:54 pm
Laura, this is a great looking loaf – I have heard a lot about this method and have kept meaning to try it and now I definitely will. I love your additions of the herbs, olive and zest – fabulous entry to FFC#1!!
May 25, 2014 at 11:28 am
Thank you, Selma! I’m happy to join the great crew for FFC#1. This method really lives up to the hype for its tasty results for little effort 🙂
May 21, 2014 at 4:02 pm
The loaf is, indeed, packed with lovely salty Kalamatas! I remember when this breadmaking technique went postal! I had emails from a dozen friends/family members telling me about it. It is great. Couldn’t resist and just assembled the ingredients my own loaf tomorrow. But, one thing I could never understand is why all purpose flour and not bread flour? Something to do with the chemistry of baking – I know the gluten contents differ – could this be it?
May 25, 2014 at 11:30 am
Not sure, I suspect the AP flour is to make it easier & more accessible to anyone, and I bet you could use bread flour too for good results. Let me know if you try it!
May 25, 2014 at 11:33 am
Tried it with bread flour – good result regarding crustiness, but slightly heavy. Will try again with AP flour and I just put in an order for French type 55 flour used in making baguettes, etc. I suspect the gluten in strong bread flour needs long and multiple rise times to get a lighter loaf. But, will let you know!
May 21, 2014 at 4:33 pm
Wow, a no-knead bread recipe is always welcome. Amazing blog as well!
May 25, 2014 at 11:30 am
Thank you, Anjana – happy I discovered your blog too!
May 21, 2014 at 8:54 pm
I totally agree about the breads never having enough olives! This looks delicious I’ll definitely be giving it a try!
May 25, 2014 at 11:31 am
Thanks, Alex, hope you like it if you try it — the recipe seems very adaptable to different seasonings and flavorings.
May 22, 2014 at 2:16 am
A beautiful loaf Laura! It turned out so wonderfully rustic. We love olive bread and you are right, never enough olives in there. I can imagine the glee upon lifting that out of the oven perfectly browned and shaped. Nice post and wonderful entry into this challenge.
May 25, 2014 at 11:33 am
Thanks! I love the rustic quality of this recipe too; I’m still in awe of how little effort it takes on my part to create that crusty bread.
May 22, 2014 at 8:21 am
Wow, Laura!! This is beautiful! So wonderful and I have the perfect pot to make it in! This is a great recipe and your photos are sumptuous! Thanks so much!
May 25, 2014 at 11:34 am
Thanks, Julianna 🙂 Hope you try it!
May 22, 2014 at 2:29 pm
Nicely done, Laura. The crust on that bread looks incredible. As always, your photos are superior!
May 25, 2014 at 11:36 am
Thanks, Angie. You’ve organized a great challenge, with lots of inspiring entries and as ever a fun crew.
May 22, 2014 at 5:57 pm
I’ve waited too much to come here and leave my comment, I’m sorry I had crazy weeks so far. Btw your bread is great, I’ve cooked the bread 3-4 times in that kind of pot, so I know how good is it. I love the addition of olives, you’re right, the olive are never enough when you buy it!
May 25, 2014 at 11:38 am
Thanks, Margy, and I totally understand about crazy weeks – I’m right there with you! I desperately need to devote some time to visiting my favorite blogs and catching up. Thanks so much for stopping by, I’m always happy to get your feedback. Hope you’re having a great & relaxing weekend!
May 23, 2014 at 2:59 pm
Your right about olive bread never having enough olives in it….yours looks great.
May 25, 2014 at 11:39 am
Thanks, Karen! This one was ridiculously packed with olives 🙂
May 23, 2014 at 8:57 pm
Beautiful herbs and olives… and EVOO! I could eat this for dinner and be pleased as punch.
May 25, 2014 at 11:39 am
Yes, I think it was my dinner 🙂
May 24, 2014 at 6:13 pm
This is fabulous, Laura! No-knead bread seems to be the most-fitting bread for me to try! Great entry for FFC#1. 🙂
May 25, 2014 at 11:40 am
May 27, 2014 at 5:49 am
Laura, your bread is so beautiful! I have to tell you, I almost made something very similar to this, but I was too worried about the overnight rise in the pot to do it. Being a beginner, I just didn’t know what to expect or if it would turn out correctly, so have been trying recipes with less rise time. I think you’ve convinced me to give it a try with your delicious photos! I love the generous amount of olives in this recipe too.