This tasty olive bread is a delicious accompaniment to food. It is great with soup, as a grilled sandwich and as a picnic bread. The dough is rather loose, so use a lot of flour on the table and work the dough until it feels a little firmer. This prevents the dough from moving around too much and helps the bread keep its shape in the oven.
- Yield: 2 loaves
- ¾ oz (20 g) fresh yeast
- 25 fl oz (700 ml) lukewarm water
- 2 tbsp salt
- 3½ oz (100 ml) olive oil
- 2 tsp golden syrup
- 10 fl oz (300 ml) wheat sourdough starter
- 7 oz (200 g) durum wheat flour
- 1 lb 10 oz–2 lb (750-900 g) strong bread flour
- 7 oz (200 g) black olives, stoned and coarsely chopped
- Crumble the yeast in a mixing bowl and dissolve it in water. Add salt, olive oil, syrup and sourdough starter.
- Add the durum flour and strong flour a little at a time and knead the dough at medium speed in a mixer for about 10 minutes, until it is soft and elastic.
- Knead the chopped olives into the dough by hand.
- Sprinkle with a little flour and cover the dough in the mixing bowl with a cloth. Let it rise until it doubles in size, for about 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 250°C (500°F/gas 10).
- Knead the dough lightly on a well-floured surface. Divide in two and shape into round loaves. Place the loaves on a tray lined with baking parchment, sprinkle with a little flour and let rise under a cloth until double in size, about 1–1½ hours.
- Make an incision in the loaves and place the tray in the middle of the oven. Throw 100 ml (3½ fl oz) water on the bottom of the oven to get a fine, crackled crust. Lower the heat to 220°C (425°F/gas 7) and bake for about 45 minutes.