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Tartine sourdough with olives, lemon zest and herbes de provence

CAphyl's picture

Tartine sourdough with olives, lemon zest and herbes de provence

I have wanted to make this recipe for some time, and I have finally done it.  Very exciting. There are just so many on the list to do!  My husband and I love olives, and I make so many dishes with lemon zest that this seemed a natural for me.  My starter was getting a bit tired, so I refreshed it just before beginning this recipe. I have adapted this recipe from a blogger, foodtravelthought.

Makes two large loaves. (The one below was 2 lbs. 6 oz).

You can see those olives in there!

I used my LaCloche baker, as usual.

The crumb turned well, and the crust was very nice. The taste was very tangy and the olives strongly flavored the bread. I probably added more flour than I wanted during the shaping due to the high hydration of the dough.

It sure made great sandwiches.

The dough autolyzing.

Speaking of olives, these are some of the seasoned and marinated ones I used. Many recipes say not to use these as they add too much flavor to the dough, but this is what I had on hand after using a whole bottle of non-seasoned kalamata olives (make sure you drain these thoroughly before using.  You don't need any more hydration in this dough, believe me!) I would say that the olive taste was strong in the final bread due to the marinated olives, but both my husband and I appreciated the flavor.

You have to love how this smells...yummy.

Add in the herbes de provence and mix well.

The dough at rest. At this stage, I thought there might be too many olives, but that is not what I saw in the final dough.

Pre-shape. This is not an easy dough to work with!

As the oven pre-heated, I took the dough out of the refrigerator after the overnight proof.

Here is the recipe I used below.


  1. 55g ripe starter
  2. 200g water
  3. 200g whole wheat flour ( actually used sprouted whole wheat)

Mix the starter and water together in an medium-sized glass bowl until the starter is fully absorbed.  Add the flour and mix well.  Cover and leave on the counter at room temperature overnight.


  1. 250g (25%) leaven
  2. 800g (80%) white bread flour
  3. 200g (20%) whole wheat bread flour
  4. 20g (2%) salt
  5. 730g water and 50g water in reserve for after you add the salt (step #5 in Method below)
  6. 3 cups pitted olives (I used 1-1/2 cups kalamata and 1-1/2 marinated kalamata and green spicy olives from our farmer's market) halved
  7. 2 tsp herbes de provence
  8. Zest of one lemon


  1. Add the 250g of the starter to a large mixing bowl
  2. Pour in 730g water and mix until the water and leaven are completely mixed and dissolved
  3. Add 800g bread flour and 200g whole wheat flour and mix until all the dry flour is incorporated
  4. Cover your bowl with a towel and let autolyse for 40 minutes
  5. After 40 minutes add 20g salt to the dough and slowly pour your 50g reserved water on top.
  6. Use your dough scraper to turn the dough several times.

Now, leave this on the counter covered with a towel for the bulk fermentation phase of about four-five hours with frequent turns. For the first step, let it sit for 45 minutes. While it is sitting, zest your lemon and add it to the olives and mix in the herbes de provence.  After 45 minutes, add in the olive mix, incorporating well.  (I actually added mine in after the third turn, but the recipe says do it earlier). Now, turn the dough with your scraper every 30 minutes for two hours.  After that period, leave the dough to rise untouched for another two hours.


As many of you know, Tartine bread has high hydration and can be difficult to handle, so this is where it gets tricky. I lightly floured my surface and eased the dough on the top of it and then floured the top as well.  I split the dough in half using my scraper and then roughly shaped the dough into two balls.  You'll need to add some flour as you go, but try to limit it as much as you can so that the final loaf will have that wonderful crumb. At this point, let the dough rest for 30 minutes.


After the dough has rested, shape into a ball, getting the dough as smooth as you can.  Place into a banneton dusted with brown rice flour and retard in the refrigerator overnight.


Preheat your oven with your covered baker inside at 500 degrees.  Remove the tray from the oven, use a bit of cornmeal at the bottom to prevent sticking, place the dough into the tray and score.  I sprayed with just a touch of water to get the nice crust.  Bake with the dome on for 30 minutes at 500 degrees, then remove the dome and bake at 450 for 15 ir 20 minutes or so.  I usually bake a bit longer to get the bold crust.  Just check it during this phase and thump the bottom to be sure it is done.

If you don't have a covered baker, place your baking stone in your oven pre-heat to 500F. You can take your loaves out of the fridge to warm up while the oven is preheating.

Place the dough onto the stone, score it, get your steaming apparatus in place and turn the heat down to 450ºF, bake for approximately 45-50 minutes until you have the crust color you desire.

I actually froze the other loaf, so we will see how that turns out when I bake it.  I had lots of fun on this bake.  Best,  Phyllis

Oh, I made one of my husband's favorites, pizza, last night.  I put pesto in the sourdough crust I made, per dabrownman's recent post.  I don't think it turned out as well as his pizza, however! I did use some of the olives that I used in the bread, as you can see.


Kiseger's picture

For posting this really clear set of instructions, another one for my list!  You got a beautiful crust there and amazing crumb given the addition of olives.  Pizza looks great too!  Lovely post, ta (as they say over here!).  

CAphyl's picture

It was fun.  I hope you will try it.  I have not tried to explain to my U.S. family and friends, "ta," which, of course, is frequently heard and used during my UK visits.  Ta to you as well!  Best,  Phyllis

Isand66's picture

Looks great Phyllis and must have tasted wonderful. 

Next time if you have difficulty shaping with the wet dough, spray some cooking spray or olive oil on your surface and on your hands.  I almost never add bench flour unless it's for rolls or baguettes. 

Happy Baking.


CAphyl's picture

It did taste so good!  I have used olive oil before (Paul Hollywood is a big olive oil for kneading/handling guy), and I will have to try it again, especially for Tartine dough.  This will help with the crumb, I am sure.  Thanks for your comments.  Best,  Phyllis

dabrownman's picture

bread looks fantastic.  I love the looks of that sandwich.   I was wondering what I was going to do with Lucy's plain Catalan Bread planned for Friday and now I think we will put olives in it and...... maybe some sage since it is dying in the heat anyway:-) .

Your pesto pizza also looks fantastic as a thin crust one as opposed to the thicker St Louis style one in a pan one we made.  Hope your hubby wasn't shocked by the pesto taste !

Great baking Phyllis

CAphyl's picture

I really had fun making this bread.  I have too many jalapeno peppers growing and some are getting dried out in the heat, so I have to think about what to do with them....we do have some dried sage as well! One nice thing with the heat is that we have beautiful evenings here in CA and I am sure in Arizona as well.  We made halibut and grilled vegetables outside last night.  It was wonderful.  The problem is the heat during the day for baking, as you well know.

My husband tends to like a thinner pizza crust, but I would like to try it a bit thicker next time.  The pesto taste wasn't as strong as I thought it would be; he seemed to enjoy it.  I will definitely try the pesto crust again.  Thanks for your recipe and comments.  Best,  Phyllis

bakingbadly's picture

Right on! That olive sourdough looks fantastic! Although I may be biased because I'm infatuated with olives. 

Jolly bakings,


CAphyl's picture

if you like olives, you will like this bread.  Best, Phyllis