The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


jennyloh's picture

My Olive Bread....I think this time I got it right in terms of the proofing.  I used the finger test as per the advices by some.  Well,  it was really really useful.  Thank you so much for the video link that shows it.


The fluff inside seems quite even,  except that my olives are not evenly spread out......things to improve the next time.  The taste was the olive smell....


More details attached:


ehanner's picture

This is the first recipe I baked from my new copy of Dan Lepard's "The Handmade Loaf". The book is beautifully illustrated and has breads from all over Europe that are unique and well described. The official name of this bread doesn't do justice to the ingredients list. Lurking in the list are 100g of olives and olive oil that help make the dough smooth and delicious. I thought the final dough was a touch dry, so I added a couple Tablespoons additional water. In the end I might have added a little to much but it was quite a nice dough by the time I got to the stretch and fold part.  The method calls for final shaping on a baking sheet coated with oil. I used parchment with a small amount of oil rubbed in. Dan calls for semolina or corn meal to be sprinkled on the top. That gives the bread a nice texture on the surface.

I baked this at 420F for 30 minutes and then lowered the heat to 390F when I turned the loaf for color. It was browning nicely at that point. My finished bread is quite a bit darker than the one in the book and the profile isn't as flat as shown. I did dimple the top with my fingers just before loading but I was taking care not to deflate the dough. Still, you can see by the pre-bake image, it did spring nicely.

The flavor is delicious. I would say the predominate taste is from the olives but I can taste the Thyme in the background. The Thyme may improve with time if it lasts that long. This is a keeper and I know will be a hit with the family.

This is the second bread from Mr. Lepard I have baked that tastes unique and better than the ingredients would lead you to expect. I think I am going to enjoy exploring here.


md_massimino's picture

Three-Tiered Braided Christmas Bread

December 30, 2008 - 10:42am -- md_massimino

I'm a newbie breadophile and I've been baking nonstop for about three months.  Most stuff I make is good, with the occasional clunked.  This came out so good I wanted to share.  We had a large family gathering on Christmas Eve so I wanted to make a special bread.  I found this recipe on Food Network's site...

beenjamming's picture

So for a while I've been meaning to start documenting my baking a little better, and contribute a bit more to this wonderful site, and today! today is the day.

This weekend I had three buddies from Rochester come down to ithaca to visit for the weekend, and I had some more friends over and I pounded out half a dozen pizzas. I had some serious doubts that my apartments rickety half-size oven was up to the task. Turns out the bugger gets up to a solid 550F and is fantastic for pizza (though it heats kinda unevenly, but nothing a mid-bake spin can't fix). My camera batteries were dead or i'd share some pictures but for fun, here's the lineup: 2 Margherita, 2 Chicken Wing(fried chicken tossed in franks red hot, sharp cheddar, low moisture mozz, danish blue and a few dots of roasted garlic), 1 roasted tri-color pepper pesto pie and 1 sauted mushroom and roasted garlic pie. Those last couple had healthy dollops of herbed riccota, fresh cow's milk mozz, parmigiano and all the pie were on top of Reinhart's neo-neopolitan dough with an extra tablespoon of honey. Far as i'm concerned, that's about the easiest to handle and best tasting pizza dough i've ever had. Here's a pic of an older pie, white pizza with tomatoes:

white with tomatoes

This afternoon I also put my young starter to the test and mixed up a batch of thom leonard's kalamata olive bread from Glezer's "Artisan Baking".


I took a few liberties, which is to say I didn't listen to ms maggie when she told me to mail order olives, and I used a smalled percentage of ripe oil-cured olives to replace the softer kalamatas she calls for. Loaves turned out pretty well...the crumb is a bit dense and the loaves sourness isn't terribly pronounced. I've been having some issues keeping my starter sour. It was very sour initially, but one miserably hot week later its sweeter and much less potent. I've been feeding it with ice water (lowering the temp to promote acetic acid, not sure if it's working) and trying to catch and feed it before it smells even faintly alcoholic in order to bring back it's potency (it's smelling less sweet and has got a little tang back). Any suggestions on this front would be really appreciated.



As for the crumb issues, I think i could have let the dough proof a little longer and i also forgot to fold it until the 2nd hour of fermentation. I rushed the proofing a bit in a frustrated fit after I tripped over my still unpacked slow cooker in my bedroom floor and broke my pinky toe. It had been a bit to long since a mid-baking injury occured. i suppose i was due, haha.

I was pleased with how everything turned out and have to say that buying glezer's book was probably the best decision i've made since getting bba. Absolutley gorgeous pictures and warming baker profiles. I highly recommend it to any fellow intermediate baker. This following weekend I'll be in NJ, but there'll be plenty more bread on the way this week (i'm planning a roasted garlic/asiago cheese ciabatta, a saranac b&t loaf with caraway and onions, and maybe some pane siliciano). take it easy everyone!

bwraith's picture

Olive Bread - Sourdough Yeast Hybrid (1)Olive Bread - Sourdough Yeast Hybrid (1) 

Olive Bread - Sourdough Yeast Hybrid (2)Olive Bread - Sourdough Yeast Hybrid (2)

My wife said we were invited to dinner and could I make some bread to bring. This was in the morning of the same day, so I was unable to do a long rising, multiple step, sourdough bread, as I would have with more warning. So, I went for a fast approach. I had some left over starter that was intended for some bread I never got to. It was 5 days old sitting in the refrigerator. I decided to use it as a flavor ingredient, and add regular yeast to the dough in a "hybrid method". I also have had some kalamata olives in the pantry, thinking I might want to make some olive bread, which I had not done before. The result was a very mild sourdough flavor combined with olive fragrance and brine flavor. It seemed to go over fairly well. I took some photos and thought I would post this recipe. It's a way to get some sourdough flavor even if your starter is not fully revved up or if you are just in a hurry.

Olive Bread - Sourdough Yeast Hybrid

For the Dough:

  • 360 grams of 5 day old refrigerated 100% hydration sourdough culture (mine is BBA style, fed with KA bread flour)
  • 320 grams of AP (I used KA organic AP)
  • 100 grams sifted white wheat flour (this could just be more AP, some white whole wheat flour, or other "rustic" flour)
  • 50 grams KA rye blend (again any rye, whole wheat, or other "rustic" flour)
  • 285 grams water
  • 13 grams salt
  • 1.5 tsp instant yeast (I used SAF instant)
  • 0.5 tsp diastatic malted barley flour (not critical - optional ingredient)
  • 200 grams kalamata olives, pitted, halved, stored in natural brine (that's what I had, but I'm sure lots of other types would be good, too)

There is a lot of flexibility in the age of the starter and the type of starter. I'm just using it as a flavor ingredient. You could easily make this a pure sourdough recipe by using fresh starter and leaving out the instant yeast. The bulk fermentation and final proof would just run longer, maybe 4 hours for the bulk fermentation and 2 hours for the final proof if done with pure sourdough.


Mix flours and water together, and use frisage, dough hook, or mixer to get it reasonably well mixed. Let sit for 20 minutes.

Mixing and Kneading

Work in the starter, yeast, then salt, and use frisage or mixer to get all the ingredients well mixed. Press in olives a dozen at a time and fold dough a few times to get them integrated into the dough. Knead for a few minutes until the dough is resilient. It will probably be quite sticky. The hydration is about 71%, so it is wetter than regular french bread dough. The ripe starter will make it have a wetter stickier consistency also. Place the dough in a covered container to rise. You can spray a little oil in the container beforehand and also on the exposed surface of the dough, but it's not that critical.

Bulk Fermentation and Folding - about 2.5 hours at 78F (or a little longer at room temperature)

Fold the dough at about 1 hour and then again at about 2 hours. At 1 hour it should have risen to about 1.5 the original dough volume. At 2 hours, it should have risen to about double the original dough volume. To fold, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Spread it out, pressing down gently without ripping the dough. Then, grab one corner of the dough, stretch it out gently and fold it over itself into the center of the dough. Do this for all four corners. If the dough is hard to stretch, just do two opposite corners, like a letter, rather than all four corners.


Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Split into two equal pieces and let rest 10 minutes. To shape, create a rectangle about twice as long as it is wide. Roll the rectangle up from the short side, tensioning the outer surface as you roll. Pinch the sides under tightly to create more tension. Then, pinch the ends under also. Let it rest ten minutes with the seams down. Place the shaped loaf seams up in a couche lined banneton floured with a very small amount of rice flour or use other rising form as you prefer and optionally spray a little oil over the exposed surface. Cover with a towel and let rise for about 1.25 hours until puffy and probably a little less than doubled in volume (I did this at 78F, so adjust times if doing it at room temperature).


Preheat oven to 500F. Turn loaves onto a peel using your favorite method. I use parchment paper sprinkled with corn meal on a peel. Slash lengthwise a couple of times. Optionally mist the loaves with water very lightly using a fine mist spray bottle. Place loaves in oven, and generate steam using your preferred method. Just wetting the surface of the loaves is one simple appproach. Bake at 500F for about 10 minutes. Open the oven door and remove all the steam generating stuff you may have, and drop the oven temperature to 450F. Bake another 10 minutes or more until internal temperature is about 207F (at sea level).


Let them completely cool before you cut into them.


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