There’s almost nothing as satisfying or delicious as making your own bread from scratch.
The fascinating rising process, the feel of the dough between your fingers as you knead, the smell that emanates from the oven as it bakes and who could overlook the delightful crunch as you bite into a fresh warm slice.
With so much to love about baking bread, we thought we’d share our simple seven-ingredient Mediterranean olive bread recipe. Where the kalamata olives introduce a beautiful pop of colour and burst of savoury salty flavour, while the rosemary adds a lovely fragrance and herby taste to the homemade loaf.
Below we’ve also included some tips to help you ace the baking process, serving suggestions, recipe pairings and variation ideas for the more adventurous home cooks to sink their teeth into.
Mount Zero’s Mediterranean olive bread recipe
2 1/4 cups plain bread flour
2 tsp instant dried yeast
2 tsp caster sugar
3 tsp milk
1 cup warm water
1 tbsp fresh rosemary (if desired)
Step 1. Start by sifting two cups of flour into a mixing bowl. Next, with a spatula stir in sugar, yeast and pink lake salt. Make a well in the centre of the mixture and pour in a cup of warm water. Combine until you have a lovely soft dough.
Step 2. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured flat surface to prevent the dough from sticking and knead it for about 10 minutes. Gradually add in a ¼ cup of flour as you knead until the dough becomes nice and smooth and elastic.
Step 3. Brush the inside of a large bowl with olive oil and place the dough inside. Cover it with a damp muslin cloth or damp linen tea towel and leave in a warm draft-free place for one hour (or until the dough doubles in size). Tip: use warm water to dampen your towel to help the dough rise.
Step 4. Meanwhile, chop your pitted kalamata olives in half and pat dry with a tea towel to remove brine. If desired, fry your fresh rosemary leaves in extra virgin olive oil and set them aside to cool.
Step 5. Grease a large baking tray and preheat the oven to 190°C (or 170°C for fan-forced).
Step 6. Punch the dough down and tip it onto a lightly floured surface. Press the chopped olives and rosemary leaves into the dough. Then, gently knead until they are distributed evenly throughout the dough. Shape the dough into an approximately 20 cm round loaf (or oblong shape) and score the top of the dough with a serrated knife. Place the loaf on the baking tray and generously brush with milk.
Step 7. Bake until golden (usually for about 40 minutes). Tip: when ready it will sound hollow when tapped on top. After removing from the oven, leave the loaf to stand on the baking tray for five minutes. Then, transfer onto a wire rack, brush the top with extra virgin olive oil and allow it to completely cool (typically 1-2 hours) before slicing and serving.
Store your loaf of bread in an airtight container at room temperature (refrigeration will dry it out). It is best consumed within three to four days of making.
What to serve with olive bread
No Mediterranean olive bread recipe would be complete without including the best ways to serve, share and enjoy:
- Simply serve with a smear of butter, black olive tapenade or dip in premium extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
- As a side on a charcuterie board decked out with all your favourite cheeses, meats, fruits, nuts and olives.
- Make yummy sandwiches with ham, tuna, chicken, salad or roast veggie fillings.
- Top with grilled tomato, burrata, olives and rosemary oil. See Cle-ann Stampolidis’ recipe.
- Dunk in your favourite stew or soup like this smooth spiced roast pumpkin soup or this leek, potato and herbed chicken soup.
- Coated in roast pumpkin dip, red chickpea hummus, roasted crushed faba beans or beluga lentil dip.
- Toasted and topped with slow-cooked octopus and hummus, this dish by chef Tom Sarafian is the ultimate olive bread serving suggestion. The octopus is coated in Arbequina olive oil, garlic, lemon thyme and red chilli and oven-baked for an hour. Then, it is pan-fried until golden brown. Plate up the tender octopus with a stunning smashed cherry tomato and basil salad, and hummus atop freshly baked olive bread. View the full mouth-watering recipe video here.
Olive bread recipe variation ideas
Ways to mix it up and inject extra flavour to this olive bread recipe:
- Cheese: add a cup of shredded tasty cheese or mozzarella into the mix.
- Dried herbs: add a teaspoon of dried oregano, rosemary, thyme or marjoram.
- Garlic: add one tsp of garlic powder.
- Spring onion: thinly chop two spring onions.
- Sun-dried tomato: add ½ cup of sun-dried tomatoes, ensuring you pat them dry to remove excess liquid.
- Tapenade: substitute the olives with a ½ cup of strained olive tapenade.
- Green olives: substitute the kalamata olives with pitted green olives.
Whatever flavour combinations you prefer, we hope you enjoy making our freshly made Mediterranean inspired black olive bread recipe.