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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Rustic Olive Loaf

Once again, I am trying to bring Seven Stars Bakery into my kitchen. Seven Stars, an amazing bakery in Providence, has an "Olive Loaf" that makes me weak in the knees... crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside, with whole Kalamata olives studded throughout the bread. The taste of the whole olives is almost like dipping the bread into olive oil.

Every since my bread project earlier this week, I've been itching to make an Olive Loaf. It's a simple adaptation of the Chewy Italian Bread I posted earlier - with the addition of whole Kalamata olives kneaded into the dough before the final proof. Since I took more detailed photos of the process this time (biga, kneading, final proof, etc.) I thought it was worth posting. I highly recommend making a loaf! It's so satisfying to know that you can make great, fresh homemade bread whenever you want!

1 1/4 teaspoon yeast, divided (about one packet)
3 1/2 cups of flour, divided
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 lb Kalamata olives (about 1/2 cup)
Water (ice-cold and lukewarm)
Olive oil

Step One: Make the biga
1. In a bowl, combine 1/4 cup lukewarm water and 1/4 teaspoon yeast. Let stand until yeast is dissolved.
2. With your hands, mix in 3/4 cup flour until evenly moistened. The dough will be very stiff. Rub the outside of the dough with olive oil.
3. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until the biga is bubbly and has tripled in volume, 3 to 5 hours.

Step Two: Mix the dough
1. In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup lukewarm water and 1 teaspoon yeast. Let stand until yeast is dissolved.
2. In the food processor, whirl the biga and 1/4 cup ice-cold water until smooth.
3. Add the yeast mixture, 2 teaspoons salt, and 3/4 cup ice-cold water. Pulse until blended.
4. Add 2 3/4 cups flour. Pulse until incorporated, then whirl until dough is very smooth and elastic, about 2-3 minutes. The dough will be very sticky.
5. Turn the dough out onto the counter. Use your hands to knead the whole olives into the dough until evenly incorporated. (Some may stick out, which is fine.)
Step Three: First rise
1. Scrape dough into an oiled bowl . Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until tripled, about 3 hours.

Step Four: Shaping and final rise
1. Place a sheet of parchment paper on the counter and turn the dough out onto the parchment.
2. Rub with olive oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let loaf stand on board until puffy, about 30 minutes.
3. While dough rises, place a 14 x 16 inch baking stone or 14 x 17 inch baking sheet in oven and set at 425 degrees. Let the stone and oven heat for at least 30 minutes.
Step Five: Baking
1. Lift that parchment up and gently place it onto the hot stone or baking sheet.
2. Bake bread until deep golden, about 30 minutes. Let the loaf cool on a rack.
3. Serve immediately, store in a paper bag up to 1 day, or freeze it.
Adapted from Elaine Johnson's article.


  1. wow, i'll start coming to your blog more often now that ive found you!

  2. Thanks so much for your comment! I'm so glad you enjoy the site! Happy eating!


  3. Oh goodness, that looks amazing. And yes, the olive loaf from Seven Stars is out of this world... That's one of the many things I miss about Providence. I can't wait to try this out when I have a free day! Thanks!

  4. Jamie, thanks! You made me want to make this again, too! Nothing beats the smell of rising bread in your house. Thanks for your comment! If you do try it out let me know what you think!

    Thanks!! Anna


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