Bread making is one of my absolute favorite things to do, without a doubt. Outside of eating and spending time with family and friends, bread making ranks somewhere between margaritas on Fridays and enjoying a chocolate croissant from the bakery up the street. Bread always seems so intimidating to novice bakers, but really, it’s so simple! With a few hours and a little bit of kneading, this olive bread comes to life in little more than an afternoon. Making bread is one of those things that is on my ‘should do more often’ list, but often falls to the wayside when cookies and pie start to distract me.
After feeling a bit un-inspired and little over-sugared (I’m looking at you weekend with food bloggers, cookies, taffy, wine, oh my!), I really needed this hearty olive bread to bring me back to a more balanced place. I made these in an evening and enjoyed the loaves by dinner, but this can totally be spread out over the course of a day or frozen and baked later. The salty olives and whole wheat flour balanced perfectly with a bowl of soup for dinner and by itself as my lunch the next day. The best advice I have for bread baking is to make sure your yeast is fresh, or the bread will become a flat, hard lump (we want bubbles here)!
p.s. Can you believe I shot these on my front porch? Why didn’t I think of this before?! The weathered boards and abundance of light are proving to be my favorite photography spot yet.
- 3 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 1/3 cups warm water
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 1 cup olives (I used Kalamata, pitted and chopped)
- In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water and let sit for 5 minutes, until mixture is foamy. Add the flours and salt, stir until mixture comes together and you can pick it up with your hands. Knead the bread on a well floured surface for about 5 minutes, or until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Add the olives to the dough and knead them in for an additional minute.
- Form dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, covering with a kitchen towel and placing in a warm area. Allow to rise for 1 1/2 hours, until it doubles in size.
- Lightly flour a large surface (kitchen counter or dough board) and turn dough onto floured surface. Using a knife, cut the dough in half, equally. Knead each half briefly to ensure olives are firmly in the dough. Form each half into a smooth ball. Place on a lightly greased, rimmed cookie sheet.Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for another 30 minutes. While bread is rising, preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- After dough has risen, bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing.