Tuscan Olive Bread

This recipe comes from a bread recipe book that I picked up oh so many years ago. Now I haven’t really modified this recipe as bread is not very forgiving if you don’t know what you’re doing. And I will be the first to admit that I don’t, I don’t have the science background to get away with it. But with the stay at home initiative, I’ve had plenty of time to watch lots of cooking shows. I just haven’t been making a lot as I have nowhere to take it and I don’t want to throw it away. Anyway, one of the new techniques I learned was baking your bread in a Dutch oven. And boy did it make a huge difference! I’ve made this bread plenty of times before but never has it turned out so light and fluffy! Not to mention the size! Enjoy.

Tuscan Olive Bread

  • 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 cups water (110° to 115°)
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 cup coarse-grind whole wheat flour
  • pinch of sugar
  • 2/3 cup rough chopped olives (I use Kalamata)
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • Olive oil
  • Flake sea salt (optional)

Directions:

In your stand mixer bowl combine the yeast, water, 1 cup of the bread flour, the whole wheat flour, and a pinch of sugar. Whisk hard to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until bubbly, about an hour.

After it is bubbly, fit your mixer with the paddle attachment. Start adding the flour at low speed 1/2 a cup at a time. After about 1 1/2 cups in add the salt and olives. Continue to beat until smooth and it starts pulling away from the sides. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and kneed for about 10 minutes. The dough will be slightly sticky but you don’t want to add too much flour in or your bread will be tough.

Lightly oil a large bowl. Form the dough into a ball, place it into the bowl, swirl around to coat the top, and then turn it over. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until it’s doubled, between 1 hr to 1 1/2 hrs.

Punch the dough down and turn it out onto your board. Form it into a tight bowl. Take a piece of parchment paper and spray it with non-stick cooking spray. Line your dutch oven with it and place your dough inside. With a sharp knife score the top, I do 1 long cute about 1/4″ deep. Lightly dust the top with flour.

Preheat your oven to 425°. Once it’s hot place your dutch oven with the lid on into the oven. After 30 minutes remove the lid, sprinkle with the flake sea salt (optional), and bake for another 30 minutes.

Tuscan Olive Bread

I love this bread with a nice dipping sauce made from good olive oil, garlic, italian herbs and balsamic vinegar. It’s pretty easy to make, but like most bread recipes it takes time, so plan ahead. Enjoy!

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Tuscan Olive Bread

  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
  • 4 cups bread flour, sifted
  • 1 1/2 tsp of kosher salt
  • 2 pinches of sugar
  • 1 cup kalamata olives, rough chopped

Directions

Stir the yeast into the warm water with a pinch of sugar until it’s dissolved. Add 1 cup of flour in a stand mixer, I like my KitchenAid 6-Qt. Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer, with a whisk attachment and beat at medium-high for 1 minute until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot for 1 hour.

Switch to a paddle attachment and beat in the olives, salt, and another pinch of sugar. Start adding the flour 1/2 cup at a time, beating at medium-high. Continue until the dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead for about 10 minutes, using as little flour as possible. It’s almost impossible to over kneed the bread but very easy to under kneed it. Shape it into a ball.

Spray a piece of plastic wrap with non-stick cooking spray and cover, placing in a warm spot. Let rise until doubled, somewhere between 1 and 1 1/2 hours.

Gently flatten and form back into a ball. Put on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. let rest for 20 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. If you have a bread or pizza stone, put that on the bottom of the oven and place the rack in the lowest position. Using a serrated knife, score the top of the loaf; tic tac or cross pattern. Bake for 60 minutes on the lowest rack.

Note that my loaf in the picture looks small because I decided to split my dough and make 2 smaller loaves.