The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Looking for a fantastic olive bread formula

elissabee's picture

Looking for a fantastic olive bread formula

Can anyone share a formula for a truly fantastic olive bread? The baker at my farmers market makes the most delicious kalamata olive bread. It's soft and chewy inside with tons of kalamatas. The crust is golden brown and very crisp. This bread is fantastic eaten out of hand, toasted, for sandwiches, or my favorite, for egg-in-a-hole. The bread itself is not very sour so I doubt it's a true sourdough. I sent the baker an email hoping she could point me in the right direction for a formula (yeast raised? starter based?). I wasn't asking for a recipe, just for some pointers, but all she said was, "come to the next market and we can chat." Well, I want olive bread now and the market doesn't open for the season until May!

Any ideas would be welcome. :) Elissa

mse1152's picture


I've made Thom Leonard's Kalamata bread several times, and it's very good.  Barnes & Noble even have the recipe on this website:  Kalamata recipe.  Click on the 'Features' tab to find it.  The recipe assumes you already have a firm sourdough starter.


SallyBR's picture

Another vote for that one!  A fantastic bread, love the fact that the olives are kept large in the dough...

alliezk's picture

Martha Stewart actually has a great olive oil bread recipe that I tried a couple months ago - its an easy recipe and assumes very little experience with bread - you could definitely change it around - adding in olives and such to make it the way you wanted it  (it seemed pretty forgiving).


Let us know how it turns out!

clazar123's picture

I make Olive -Feta Cheese bread or just Olive Bread by using a French bread recipe and roughly slicing Kalamata olives and cubes of feta and adding them by hand to the last few minutes of kneading or stretch and folding. If I want a little richness, I add a few tablespoons olive oil to the dough. The trick is being able to make a high hydration dough with a good crust and crumb. It can be sourdough or straight dough(with commercial yeast) or any combination.

That's it! Delicious!

rolls's picture

if you don't have anything against no knead doughs, i loved jim laheys olive bread from his 'my bread'. preparing the dough from the day before gives like tht flavour you described as not full sourdough, but still has a bit of tanginess, hope u find what you're looking for, i've even added cheese cubes to the olive dough and found it really nice, you can always add rosemary too :)

jackie9999's picture

I made this recipe not too long ago, to go with home made pasta, and it not only tasted good - it looked amazing,

merrybaker's picture

I made the Tartine Country Bread and added lots of halved Kalamatas and green olives after the first fold.  It was a big hit and, as you'd like, very crisp outiside while soft and chewy inside.  I didn't retard it overnight, so the flavor was only mildly sour.

elissabee's picture

Jackie, thanks so much! This looks like what I'm after. It's resting now. I omitted the tomatoes and feta, substituted 2% milk for the powdered, and added a little extra virgin olive oil. Will update when it's done. Thank you!

elissabee's picture

Thanks for all the replies...


I made Jackie's recipe, which she posted above. Here is the link:


I left out the cheese and herbs and just used the olives. It wasn't quite like the farmer's market bread I love, but it was delicious nonetheless. In fact, both loaves are already gone! Thanks again!

3 Olives's picture
3 Olives

Please tell me what's missing in the B&N recipe on the line that reads: 1 Tablespoon (0.5 ounce). Just read the recipe again-must be salt.

Oh, and what hydration level of the starter would be best for this recipe?