The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Olive and Herb Levain

  • Pin It
PiPs's picture
PiPs

Olive and Herb Levain

To be honest, I hadn’t a clue what I felt like baking this weekend. My mind wandered over many possibilities. In the end my inspiration for this bake came from Nat. Though she is an avid admirer of all things bread, when I put the question to her about this weekend's bake, the answer came swiftly …

Olive bread!

Of course…

…  how could I have forgotten Nat the Rat’s most favoured of all loaves.

The strange thing is, I can’t remember the last time I made an olive bread …

I do however, remember the last time I ate olive bread. While we were on holidays in New South Wales, we took a day trip to a small town called Bellingen. In this beautiful little hideaway I tasted my first EVER woodfired sourdough. It was an olive bread, baked by a small organic bakery called Hearthfire …. It was the  most amazing olive bread I have ever tasted. A crumb that melted in your mouth, flecks of herbs throughout and large chunks of olives. We almost finished half of it with a spicy pumpkin hummos whilst picnicking by a small creek. On my return to Brisbane I even called the owner of the bakery to thank them for the amazing bread …

I think that delicious experience has scared me off making my own olive bread … until now.

When it came time to start prepping and sourcing ingredients to compliment the kalamata olives in my own bread, I needed to look no further than our front porch to find inspiration. Growing in small pots we have sage, rosemary, basil and thyme. Only a few hours later the dehydrator filled the kitchen with the aromas of drying herbs. Some lemon zest, (courtesy of the Tartine olive bread formula) and I had everything I needed.

Olive and Herb Levain

Formula

Overview

Weight

%

Total dough weight

1600g

 

Total flour

958g

100%

Total water

648g

67%

Total salt

12g

1.5%

Prefermented flour

163g

17%

Desired dough temperature 26°C

 

 

 

 

 

Levain build – 5 hrs 26°C

 

 

Starter (not included in final dough)

81g

50%

Flour (I used 70% AP flour, 18% Sifted fresh milled wheat, 9% sifted fresh milled spelt and 3% sifted fresh milled rye)

163g

100%

Water

81g

50%

Salt

1g

1%

 

 

 

Final dough 26°C

 

 

Levain

244g

30%

AP Flour

556g

70%

Freshly milled whole wheat flour

200g

25%

Freshly milled rye flour

40g

5%

Water

567g

71%

Salt

11g

1.4%

Kalamata olives halved

287g

36%

Finely chopped dried herbs

1tsp

 

Zest on 1 lemon

 

 

 

Method

   1. Autolyse flour and water 45 mins

   2. Add levain and knead 5-10 mins. Add salt and knead a further 5-10 mins. Gently mix in olives, herbs and lemon zest.

   3. Bulk ferment 2.5 hours with two stretch and folds at 30 mins in the first hour.

   4. Preshape and bench rest for 20 mins

   5. Shape and proof for 2.5 hours

   6. Bake in steamed oven for 10 mins at 250°C then 30 mins at 200°C

As you can imagine our kitchen smells heavenly this afternoon.

The crusts chorused loudly when they were removed from the oven while I fought the growing temptation to pick at protruding olives.

The crumb is soft and anything but chewy with olives nestled and peering out of every slice.

For me it won’t surpass the olive bread from our holidays but I am pretty sure I have made Nat’s weekend.

All the best,

Phil

Comments

louie brown's picture
louie brown

Very nice photography, too. I like the idea of lemon zest in this loaf.

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thanks louie,

The lemon is very subtle and you see it occasionally in the crumb. It probably needs to be as there are some quite dominant flavours at work :)

Cheers, Phil

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

and bread !!

 

 

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thanks so much AnnaInMD,

Cheers, Phil

EvaB's picture
EvaB

the whole thing looks wonderful, and super delicious. Just showed it to my husband, he said you have to do it!

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thanks EvaB,

Yeah don't wait as long as I did before you make an olive bread :) 

Its not a cheap bread to make and also its worth the effort to find good quality olives.

All the best, Phil

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Phil,

You have some fabulous ingredients there, plus your dedication to the whole process.

Lovely bread, I bet it tastes fantastic.

By the way, I'm pretty sure some distant relatives of an ex girlfriend of mine live in Bellingen.   I travelled to Australia in 1999 with my girlfriend at the time.   The family we visited were based in Gundagai, although we went to Canberra and Albany as well, besides making our way up the coast to Cairns and back.

Superb photography too.

All good wishes

Andy

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thanks Andy,

We are really enjoying the bread ... white bread is a bit of a treat for us after all my high extraction and whole grain adventures lately ... doubly a treat when paired with great olives :) 

I get such satisfaction when I can be involved in so much of the process, from picking and drying the herbs, milling grains etc... Maybe it's an appreciation from where the food comes from.

We bought an olive tree a year or so ago and I am looking forward to being able to cure my own olives when it fruits.

Gundagai ... thats a pretty famous Australian town ... never been there though. How did find Australia? Was it summer when you visited?

All the best, Phil

 

 

holds99's picture
holds99

Your loaves look terrific, as does your presentation.  I will try your formula the next time I bake.

Thanks,

Howard

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thanks Howard,

Hope the bread brings you as much enjoyment as we experienced.

Cheers, Phil

teketeke's picture
teketeke

Hi Phil,

Your posts are very impressive. I really thank you posting your breads!

Happy baking,
Akiko

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thanks Akiko,

It's a pleasure posting my bakes here.

All the best, Phil

hanseata's picture
hanseata

I'm usually not the greatest fan of olives, but I'd like to try it.

Karin

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Hi Karin,

I think I got the ratio of olives about right for us here ... not overpowering but every slice has some olives. I do know quite a few people who refuse to eat them ... I am well and truly entrenched in the other camp :)

cheers, Phil

codruta's picture
codruta

Phil, I want to make this bread today, and I have to prepare the levain. I noticed you use a stiff one, and Robertson in Tartine uses a liquid one. Have you tried his formula? I don't know which one to make, yours, or his... I'm incline to go with yours, but I need a little help, cause I've never made olive bread before. What's the difference of using a stiff levain vs a liquid one in this particular formula? do you think it changes a lot (the taste, the dough, etc)? If I want to retard the dough overnight, do you think it will work?

(Have you tried to proof the dough for this formula in the fridge?)

thanx a lot,

codruta

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Hi Codruta,

I have used Chad's liquid levain method quite a bit and you could use it in this formula as long as you adapt the formula for the hydration differences that the liquid levain will bring.

I prefer using a stiff levain for a few reasons. In the hot climate here, this kind of levain is a little more tolerant and gives me a larger indow of opportunity for use. I also like to be able to autolyse without the levain added which is hard to do with a liquid starter. I also prefer the flavour profile ...  possibly  little more interesting to me. Finally a stiff levain brings an element of strength to a wet dough.

You should be able to retard over night without any issue. If you have plenty of time the following morning I would place it into the fridge directly after shaping then give it an hour or so in the morning to complete its proof if necessary.

I really hope the bake goes nicely for you ... good to hear from you Codruta.

Cheers,
Phil 

codruta's picture
codruta

well, Phil, to be completely true, I have to cater 12 loafs (2 x 6 different breads) for an event next week. It's the first time I'll make money from baking, and I'm excited but scared in the same time. I proposed a list of 10 breads, and they choose 6, and this olive of yours was among my proposals and one of their choices too (the others are: san francisco, semolina with fennel and sesame and orange zest, 70%rye with caraway, miche and vanilla challah). This olive is the only one I never made before, that's why I want to try it today, to be sure I'm able to make it right.

Here is the beggining of spring, (teoretically, cause last night it snowed) 20C in my kitchen. I made this morning a levain of 80% hydration and I'll make the dough tonight, shape, retard and bake tomorrow, when it's ready. I'm in no hurry. Tartine's version is 75% hydration, yours is 67%... that's a big difference. I'll go with 67% and addapt the water if necessary. I miss posting on TFL, but times flies and life happens so fast, and I keep I promise myself I'l make time to write again.

Thank you, Phil, for your help.

codruta

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Your big bake sounds like a lot of fun ... Lots of planning with all the varieties. I prefer the lower hydration for this formula ... you can get a really nice crumb if you treat it nicely :)

I know all about life screaming along. I like to visit your blog when I get the chance ... the last rye bread you posted looked incredible! wow!

Looking forward to seeing how your bake goes.

Cheers,
Phil 

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

pictures.  Would you please tell me what camera and settings you are using to get this beautiful bokeh ? I am just now starting out with an entry DSLR (d3100) and will probably find my niche in close-up macros.

Best,

anna

 

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Hi Anna,

I am currently using a Canon 550D with a 70-200mm lens I think ... I am not at home at the moment to check. I use natural light so some days I have to use a tripod. I normally keep the camera on the Aperture priority setting so I can play with depth-of-field. I have been think about about a macro lens but finances keep me restricted so I tend to make use with what I have on hand :)

Looking forward to seeing your photos.

Cheers,
Phil

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

that talent explains it ! Amazing what a DSLR camera can do, I am reading 3 different books, am on 2 fora and when I finally pick up the camera the first thing comes to mind:  Now what do I do?  lol.  I am determined to do more than switch the dial to AUTO. 

Thanks, Phil.  I am also following you on Flikr.

Best,

anna

 

codruta's picture
codruta

I'm glad I listened to you and I kept the hydration under 70%! It was just right. The loafs are baking right now and they smell incredible delicious.

I'll keep you posted on how the loaf tastes.

codruta

codruta's picture
codruta

Phil, I'm reporting good news! The breads were a success (you can see some photos on my blog, link here), and this particular olive one was the most appreciated. A lots of them loved the rye loaf, others prefered semolina or miche, but everybody agreed that this one was the most special one!

I'll post the formula on my blog (with the slight modification I made), with link here. When I heard the participants praising the bread, I imediately thought of you and I wanted to thank you for your help. THANK YOU, Phil!

codruta

codruta's picture
codruta

Phil, you can see my olive bread on my latest post http://codrudepaine.ro/2012/03/paine-cu-masline-kalamata-coaja-de-lamaie-si-herbes-de-provence/. Thank you again for your help.

codruta

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Hi Codruta,

Just read your post about your olive bread adventures. The loaves look stunning. Wonderful crumb and crust. Glad to help. You have been very busy baking beautiful breads :)

So whats next :)

Cheers,
Phil

 

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

At long last this loaf made it to the head of my 'to bake' list....actually I baked it today because my son's soccer coach loves olive bread and soccer season has just started up again and a fresh loaf seemed appropriate.

This was a wonderful dough to work with Phil.  So soft and supple after a short mix followed by 3 S&F.  In the morning it was even silkier and a dream to shape.

Thanks for the formula.  It is so nice to not have to adjust hydration levels when I follow your blogs knowing the flours I use are very similar to yours.

I made 2 -750g boules and had enough dough left over for 4 small rolls.  All were baked directly on my stone at the same time - no room for DOs and rolls....Crust came out very thick and crusty as a result which I fret over but others love the crunchy crusts so my fretting is a bit less these days :-)

                                     

The dough ready to proof.                                                                       Proofed and ready to score.

                                                    

                                 A roll and a                                                                                  boule.  :-)

 

Again, thanks for the inspiration and a wonderful loaf that now has it's own file in one of my notorious 'bread files'...AKA a binder!

Sorry for no crumb shot.  All breads are for others.....

Take Care,

Janet

hanseata's picture
hanseata

I like your little knotted rolls, Janet.

Karin

PiPs's picture
PiPs

I had never thought to make rolls with the dough ... we don't eat a lot of rolls here ... but I think they would be great accompaniment to a meal.

Thanks for the idea Janet.

Cheers,
Phil 

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

The rolls just happened. 

My son volunteers at a local hardware store every week and I always send him off with a bunch for all of the employees to munch on  - rolls work better than loaves in that setting...

Daughter wanted breads to take to dance with her for friends etc. - more rolls...

Husband likes how handy they are so when making loaves for others I pinch some of the dough to hold back for us....

In doing that my family now likes fresh bread daily so rolls fit that criteria too :-)

The best of both worlds!

Take Care,

Janet

P.S. This bread of yours just made it to the 'favorite bread ever' list of one of the friends I gave it too :-)