The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Olive levain

Bart's picture

Olive levain

Oh my God!  This is one of this loaves that has a great taste!

And the smell of olives is awesome. I cannot say how much I like this bread. 

The crumb is like perfect, I am very satisfied with the result. 

I would recommend anyone who likes olives to try this bread.  You'll find it in the

Hamelman Bread book.




erina's picture

Hello from a newbie, Bart..

Oh boy, that loaf looks so good. I do not have the book, so can you kindly post the recipe? Thanks...

fleur-de-liz's picture

Your olive levain is stunning -- the crust, the crumb, the sheen. I simply must bake this bread. What type of olives did you use?

Great bread!


GrapevineTXoldaccount's picture

Forget what it tastes like....I'm hypnotized by the sheer beauty! lol. Kudos to you, Bart.

weavershouse's picture

What a gorgeous loaf of bread. I love olives but I've never been tempted, till now, to make an olive bread. Great job!                                                       weavershouse

suave's picture

Bart,  I think you're doing pretty much the same thing I am - going through Hamelman's recipes one by one.  The bread looks awesome.  It's too bad I won't be trying it - no fans of olives in this household.

ehanner's picture

Very Nice Bart, you certainly did a nice job with that. I especially like how it looks like it's a great sourdough flavor. I think I'm drooling. It would be nice to see the recipe and how you applied it.


zolablue's picture

You are going to have to stop posting bread porn.  I have been waiting for a good time to make olive bread because my husband will not touch them.  I LOVE olives!  (He's leaving next week for a business trip so good timing.)


My plans were to try Silverton's olive bread and also Thom Leonard's but now you have just made it impossible for me to not try this one!  I am going straight away to my Hamelman book as soon as I type this to look up the recipe.  Interestingly, I was just noting a recipe in Leader's book last night for some green olive bread sticks. 


Your loaf is just outstanding!

Bart's picture


Makes one loaf :


450 grams flour

50 grams whole wheat

315 grams water

7,5 grams salt

125 grams olives (I used green pitted olives soaked in an  olive oil mix containing :garlic, parsley, thyme, rosemary, basilic, sage, chives, leek, onions, black pepper) => I did drain them to remove most of the oil.

*/EDIT/*  Mr. Hamelman uses olives  soaked in salt+water.  If you use these, make sure to drain them and let them overnight dry to remove the moist.


90 grams flour

112 grams water

18 grams  levain (sourdough starter)


Make the Levain 12-16 hours up front, store @ 70°F

Mix everything except the chopped olives.  3 minutes 1st speed and 3 minutes at second speed.  Gluten development should be moderate. 

Mix in the olives at 1st speed.

The Desired Dough Temperature should be 76°F.

BULK FERMENTATION : 2 1/2 hours.

FOLDING : Once after 1.15 hours or twice after 50 minutes depending on the strength of the dough => I folded twice!

Shaping : I made a boule, but oblong shape is cool too.

FINAL FERMENTATION : The full character of the olive levain seems to develop if the dough is retarded before baking : 8 hours @ 50F or up to 18 hours @ 42°F

BAKING : Normal steam 460°F for about 40-45 minutes.

I used my die-cast pot as usual and baked about 30' with cover and 5' without cover.  My inside temperature was 200°F


Enjoy and post pics please!  Thanks! 

erina's picture

Bart, I appreciate the recipe. Thanks again.


umbreadman's picture

You know, I've been saying to myself for a long time now..."that olive bread sounds like it could be really good. I'm gonna make it." And here I stand, not having made it yet. But really, honestly, I think you have given me the kick in the pants that I need. This is happening this weekend.

 Thanks for the inspiration, I'll definately post pictures.


Floydm's picture

Beautiful. I've only baked that recipe once, but I had really good luck with it too.

Bart's picture



Thanks for posting Floydm, somehow I never read it.

Looks very good!


fleur-de-liz's picture


Your photos of Hamelman's Olive Levain did tempt me into baking it this weekend. I used a combination of kalmata olives (in water) and a black olive soaked in olive oil and herbs. I drained both well as recommended. The loaves didn't seem to have much rise when I took them out of the refrigerator, but sure did rise in the oven. I baked both under a cloche. Here is a photo of the finished product:

Hope it tastes as good as it looks and smells!

Thank you for the recommendation,


Bart's picture




Awesome!  Looks great!  Enjoy!  Mine is already devoured :-)