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Sunday, September 11, 2011

bake sale: no-knead olive bread.

No knead breads are a godsend. This one is really good. I held back on the salt because 1 1/2 tablespoons seemed too much but I shouldn't have. Make the recipe as it is and it would be perfect- hearty, moist and spongy interior with a crumb slightly on the denser side.

No Knead Olive Bread
makes four 1 pound loaves
adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day

The original method for mixing the dough was to add the yeast, salt and water together. I was afraid that adding salt directly to the yeast would kill it so I modified the instructions a bit by adding the salt later. I also omitted the cornstarch wash and instead just dusted the surfaces of the loaves with extra flour for a rustic look. 1 cup of olives seem like a lot but trust me, it will all work out.

3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tbsp instant yeast
1 1/2 tbsp salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
5 1/2 cups plain flour
Cornmeal, for dusting (I omitted because I didn't have)

1 cup olives, chopped or 1/4 cup per 1 pound dough

Cornstarch Wash 
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup water

Mix the yeast and water in a large bowl. Add the flour and salt and mix thoroughly with a spoon. Cover with cling wrap and let it rest for 2 hours at room temperature. The dough would rise and collapse.

After 2 hours, the dough can be used immediately or stored in the refrigerator in a lidded container for up to 2 weeks.

When ready to bake, portion out the dough and knead in 1/4 cup chopped olives to each pound of dough. Shape the dough into a ball. Sprinkle a baking tray with cornmeal and place the shaped dough on top. If you don't have cornmeal, you can just use parchment paper, a silicon mat or use flour instead. Let the dough rest for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450F. Place a baking stone or cookie sheet upside down onto the middle rack. Put an empty broiler tray or baking dish on the rack below.

Make the cornstarch wash by blending the cornstarch with a little bit of water to make a paste. Then whisk in 1/2 cup water. Heat in the microwave for 30 to 60 seconds on high.

Right before baking, brush the surface of the dough with the wash. Make a few slashes across the loaf with a serrated knife to make a pattern. Slide the dough into the oven and pour a cup of hot water into the broiler tray below. Close the oven door quickly and bake for about 35 minutes or until the top crust is  very firm and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.


  1. I thought the same thing about the interaction between salt and the yeast. But I have used the basic dough in the book for months now. I have not had a problem with it yet. I have wanted to try the olive bread. I have had so much fun with the basic dough.Your pictures make me hungry.

  2. mmmm, olive bread is my favourite :) love your pictures, the bread looks perfect!

  3. That is amazing! I have that cookbook, gonna give this a go :-) Thanks for sharing!

  4. I'm so glad I stumbled upon your blog because your photographs look terrific and your recipes are probably the things I usually bake too :D Can't believe you're baking soooo many things at such a tender age!

  5. I love this recipe. I posted a link to your post here on my blog today, talking about it.