The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


dabrownman's picture

We had one more batch of saved white Italian starter left over from the panettone bake which produced so much excess starter it is nearly obscene.  It was built up over 3 stages and had been previously refrigerated for several days. We decided to do an Italian bread and was torn between an Altamura Pope’s Hat or the Chacon it eventually inspired.


For breakfast a couple of days ago, we were finishing off the last 3 slices of the Eric’s Chacon; a marbling of challah with Eric’s Favorite Rye, toasted with a schmear of grilled salmon and cream cheese and decided to do a chacon in a way we had not done before.   It is funny how bread decisions get made sometimes.


We used the same whole grain variety of Kamut, rye, WW, quinoa, barley and oats with a little potato and Toady Tom’s Tasty Toasted Tidbits this time but reduced to 22% of the flours used so that the rest of the add in goodies could possibly come through a little better.  We kept to the 72% hydration of the last bake and hoped that it wouldn’t end up feeling as wet overall since the scald was deleted from this bake too.


We also decided to reduce the 36 hour retard and final proof in the fridge back to 24 hours after the last batch over-proofed at the 36 hour mark.  Reducing the whole grains in the mix should slow things down a little bit my apprentice noted as well.  She would be pretty smart sometimes if she wasn’t so dumb, if cute, otherwise.


We used a high percent of levain (20%) of the total dough weight again, which is more than we normally would use if we were going for sour, but that is what we had left over and after refreshing it to bread speed.


Some fine bakers like to use large levain amounts in their bakes like Peter Reinhart and our own Ian.  This might have contributed to the over proofing of the last bake though and another reason to go with a 24 hour retarded proof this time. But, after 15 hours it sure hasn’t proofed itself up much in the fridge.


The method was the same this time as the last bake except for the 24 hour final proof and retard in the fridge and we divided the dough into two, not to make two different loaves but to make two different kinds of bread in one chacon.


One half of the dough had kalamata olives, home made sun dried tomatoes and grated asiago cheese added to it and the other half had fresh rosemary, garlic and grated parmesan cheese.  Now that sounded pretty Italian to me but I cut the salt down some to account for the salt in the add ins.


The chacon started with an olive knotted roll in the middle surrounded by a rosemary twisted rope.  The rope was surrounded by balls of alternating doughs.  The remaining dough was separated into 2 ropes each and made into an alternating 4 strand round challah shape.


The ends were braided but instead of being tucked under they were rotated to the side to make the challah larger in diameter.  This was placed on top of the rest of the shapes in the basket.  It didn’t quite cover but we didn’t want to smoosh it up too much to see what the shape would be like on the bottom of the loaf after baking.  Why should top get all the pretty decoration?


This dough was still pretty wet, much wetter than our normal chacon dough, so it will be interesting to see how the shapes come though the cracking stage when baked.  Hopefully it will still crack as expected.  If it tastes half as good as it smells before baking, we will have some fine Italian bread to eat.


Just checked on it and this bread needs much more time in the fridge to proof right so, 36 hours is back on the table but it will have to be 40 hours because I’m not putting this bread in the oven a 5 AM!  Or 10 AM either.

Just put it on the heating pad to warm up and proof before we heat up Big Old Betsy.  It should bake it in A DO to be consistent with the last bake but consistency is far from my baking prowess.

Wow! After 42 plus hours in the fridge and on the counter this bread baked up the deepest, richest, mahogany color with blisters I have seen on any bread coming out of our Big GE.  It was baked on a stone at 500 F for 2 minutes and then an additional 12 minutes at 450 F all under steam with 2 of Sylvia’s steaming pans and a 12” skillet with lava rocks, ala David Snyder, that I threw a half cup of water into as I closed the door.

 This chacon is awfully handsome on the outside and it sure smells just as tasty too.  Can’t wait to slice this bread and have a taste but I will – at least till it cools.  Sadly, all the intricate balls didn't crack due to too much hydration.  The challah on the bottom didn't even show a sign of being there much less crack.

I turned the oven off and cracked the door when the chacon got to 203 F since it was so dark and let it sit on the stone till it hit 205 F on the inside.

The crumb came out not quite as open as the last bake but it was moist and soft.  The crust went softer as it cooled but was mighty tasty and chewy.  This bread is delicious and I can't wait to have it with some lemon flavored olive oil, fresh Italian herbs, black pepper and Italian grated cheese.  This is some kind of delicious that should be patented or illegal.



Build 1

Build 2

 Build 3



SD Starter


















Total Starter
























Levain % of Total












Dough Flour






Red Malt






White Malt






Toady Tom's Tasty Toasted Tidbits












Whole Wheat






Dark Rye


















Dark Rye






Potato Flakes






Oat Flour












Dough Flour


















Dough Hydration












Total Flour






Total Water






Total Dough Hydration












Hydration w/ Adds






Total Weight












Whole Grains












Add - Ins






Asiago & Parmesan Cheese






Olives & Sun Dried Tomato


















1/2 T of Fresh Rosemary






1 Clove of Minced Garlic









Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I recently asked TFL how to score Richard Bertinet's Pain aux Olives to achieve the effect shown in his book, Dough:

I made a version of it this weekend, and they were right: It's rolled and the scored on the vertical.

The original recipe is a straight dough: combine ingredients, bulk ferment, roll dough into a long, flat rectangle, spread with olive paste, roll up, shape roll into bâtard, proof, score on the vertical, bake.

I modified it to use a sourdough preferment (52% prefermented flour) and retardation. Day 1: Make preferment. Day 2: Make dough, bulk ferment, shape, retard. Day 3: Bake. I didn't change the quantities of the original recipe, only the methods.

How did I like it? A lot!

I wrote in my journal: "Favorite bread in the whole wide world = Olive Bread."


[Click image for larger version.]


[Click image for larger version.]


1. Dough scored on the vertical.

2. The result after a 40-minute bake.

3. Here's a side-by-side. Bertinet's is on left. Not to scale: Bertinet's would be 1/3 the size, as he makes three small loaves out of the 875 grams of dough. I made one loaf.

4. The crumb.


1. Download a copy of the formula in PDF format.

2. Download a copy of the process in PDF format.

3. Download a copy of the spreadsheet in Excel 2007 format. The spreadsheet is editable, so you can use it to scale quantites up or down. You can edit the orange cells; all others cells are automatically calculated from formulae.

MNBäcker's picture

Rehydrate dried Rosemary?

March 8, 2012 - 6:45am -- MNBäcker

Hi, all.

So, I have been baking a couple of batches of Rosemary-Olive sourdough. Overall, I'm pretty happy with the results, but I have one slight problem:

the Rosemary flavor is barely noticeable in the bread. I think I used a pretty good amount of fresh Rosemary already, but I could of course increase the amount. The problem I will have is, that when I get to "production stage" and make a dozen loaves or so at a time, I'd need a bush of Rosemary every week - that doesn't sound very sustainable.

breadforfun's picture

Hi fellow bakers and thanks for reading.

I have been reading and learning a tremendous amount about bread baking from many TFL posts in the past year or so.  I have been hesitant to take the plunge and start a blog until now since I have mostly been following recipes rather than coming up with new ideas to share.  The past month I have been experimenting more with developing my own recipes, inspired by all the knowledge shared by others.  I am self taught and have followed the advice to practice, practice, practice.  I live in San Francisco where there is no shortage of great breads, but (and this is nothing new to anyone here) there is great satisfaction in eating a loaf you just made.  I have kept a starter for about 18 months and have experimented (although not systematically) with variations on its feed and care.

Last month I made an Olive Sourdough loaf with rye and spelt, and I'd like to share it.  A note about the recipe format: there seem to be a couple of different standards for calculating percentages and hydration.  I have chosen to include the preferment in my calculations, although I'm not sure this is the accepted way, so I am open to suggestions.  

I hope I can contribute to other bakers enjoyment half as much as I have gotten out of TFL.  Good baking!



davidg618's picture

I haven't made an olive loaf in more than a year; I'd forgotten how delicious olive sourdough is. I checked in both Bread, randMaggie Glezer's Artisan Baking, but found the dough formulae nearly identical to what I bake routinely, so this is just my usual sourdough: 10% Rye and 90% White flours at 68% hydration, with Kalamata olives, halved and pitted. Some of them were as big as walnuts.

David G

jennyloh's picture

I've been out of action for a while because my MacBook crash,  I couldn't manage my photos without my Mac,  and therefore have been busy baking, cooking,  taking pictures but not updating.


I just got back to Shanghai from Chinese New Year Holiday.  With another 2 days before work starts,  I have time on my hand to bake.  My son requested for his all time favorite - Olive Bread.  I decided to go with Daniel Leader's Local Bread - Fresh Herb Twist Recipe.  I like it because its simple,  yet,  the taste is good.  I've baked this bread twice before,  with dried herbs and with fresh herbs.  We decided the dried herbs taste better.  The taste of the fresh herbs was over empowering the bread taste.


This time,  I doubled the recipe so that I can make one with Herb and another one with Olives.


Herb and Olive Bread


It is indeed,  1 dough,  2 flavours - For the Herb Bread,  I split into 2 dough and did a twist,  For the Olive Bread,  I kept it in a Brotform.  Each of the Bread weights about 920g.

I did notice that somehow,  with this bread,  according to the book,  I baked it at 220-230 degrees celsius,  425 F,  40 minutes,  somehow,  the lower part of the bread remains a little more most.  Why is that so?  

A few things that has been going through my mind as I cut the bread:  I've got my baking stone,  heated up properly.  Perhaps the temperature is not hot enough?  I've baked 10 minutes longer than the required time of 30 minutes,  timing should be alright.....

Well, any advice will be appreciated.

jennyloh's picture

I'm back from more than 2 weeks business trip and couldn't wait to start on the Jeffrey Hamelman's challenge.  Well,  it didn't quite happen.  With my failed attempt of the Jeffrey Hamelman's Baguette with Poolish,  and failed attempt to make my own malt flour,  still looking for high gluten flour for my Jeffrey Hamelman's bagel,  well,  I adhered to my son's appeal for Olive Bread.  He simply loves olives.  

At least my Olive Bread turns out as expected, although I thought for a moment, that I lost my touch on shaping the dough as the olive started spilling out,  making it difficult to fold the dough without affecting bubbles.  

It turns out surprisingly soft and chewy on the inside.


See recipe - click here. Olive Bread




ilan's picture

This time, I wanted bread that brings more aroma and character of its own, something that can accompany a simple meal or to be used for a not too spiced sandwiches.

The combination of black olives and thyme is not new and since I love olives in both meals and sandwiches (depend on the dishes) I decided to have bread with it.

When I opened the fridge to get the olive paste, I saw a jar of dried tomato next to it. Olives and tomato is a good combo as well and I added the tomato paste to the mix but to keep the olive base of the bread I added only small amount of it.

Olives are very salty and call for salt reduction in the recipe. The dried tomato paste brings the acidity of the tomato in the game as well and it’s better to negate with a bit of sugar. So instead of salt reduction, I added ¼ teaspoon of yeast and ¼ teaspoon of sugar to the mix.

(The dough base is the same as the one I posted in the Baguette Attempt)

The recipe:

Preferment (15 hours in advance)

-       1 cups flour

-       2/3 cups of water

-       1/4 teaspoon yeast

The Dough:

-       2 1/4 cups flour

-       2 teaspoons yeast

-       1/2 teaspoon sugar

-       3/4 cup of water

-       1 ¾ teaspoon of salt

-       3 teaspoons of black olive paste

-       1 flat teaspoon of dried tomato paste

-       Handful of fresh thyme

Preferment was mixed the evening before and let rest for 15 hours

For the dough – mix the flour, yeast, sugar and water into a unified mixture and let rest for 20 minutes.

Add the salt, olive paste, dried tomato paste and thyme and knead for 10 minutes and let rise for 70 – 90 minutes (depending on the weather).

I made two batches of this bread. One of them I folded during the rising time and one I did not. The folded dough yielded better bread (texture) 

The result: (the colors in this pictures came out all wrong for some reason)

Until the next post



Subscribe to RSS - olive