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Black Olive and Herb Bread with Rare Beef and Rocket
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5 from 3 votes

Black Olive and Herb Bread

Course Bread
Cuisine Central European
Prep Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings 8
Author Richard Bewley

Ingredients

  • 500 g Strong White Flour
  • 7 g 2 tsp fast action yeast
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 275 ml warm water
  • 3 x tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 x tsp Herbes de Provence, + a little extra for the crust
  • 1 x tsp dried oregano
  • 12-16 pitted black olives, drained and dried, cut into sixths
  • 1 x tsp coarse sea salt - Gros Sel de Guérande is my favourite

Instructions

  • Combine all the dry ingredients (flour, yeast, salt, Herbes de Provence,oregano and sugar) in a large mixing bowl, and mix thoroughly using a bell whisk.
  • In a measuring jug, add warm (from the tap) water to the 275ml line.
  • Then, create a well in the middle of the dry mixture and slowly pour in the water, followed by 3 tbsp olive oil. Using a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, start to fold the dry ingredients into the liquid and keep folding together until a dough ball is formed. You may at this stage find it easier to switch your your hands, or a hybrid hand and utensil approach which means that the dry and wet ingredients are being evenly distributed.
  • Remove the dough from the mixing bowl, and knead for 5 minutes or so until the texture is no longer sticky, yet still elastic. You may need to sprinkle additional flour during this process, so keep some at hand. I use a silicone baking mat to knead on and do not need additional flour.
  • Oil the same mixing bowl (saves washing up) with a small amount of olive oil, then return kneaded dough ball, cover with a tea towel or cling film for 1 hour, and allow to rise in a warm place.
  • Meanwhile, drain the black pitted olives, cut in half horizontally, then each into thirds. Remove excess moisture using kitchen paper and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
  • The dough should have doubled in size (maybe a little more). Remove the dough and flatten into a large oval. Then, evenly sprinkle the black olives pieces and gently press into the dough.
  • Next tightly roll the dough from one side to another into a swiss-roll shape, then fold the narrower sides towards the centre. Manipulate the dough into an oval shape and place onto a silicone backing sheet. Flatted the loaf, score with a sharp knife into shallow diagonal lines.
  • Cover again with a tea towel, and allow to rise prove for a further hour in a warm place.
  • Preheat the oven to 200C.
  • Gently brush or spray olive oil over the top. Then, sprinkle on top a combination of sea salt (my favourite is Gros Sel de Guérande) - a natural coarse grey sea salt) and Herbes de Provence, and gently press them into the top of the dough with the palm of your hand.
  • Bake in the oven for 30 mins. Once cooked, tun onto a wire rack and allow to cool.

Recipe Notes

If you want to maintain an even softer crust, cover with a tea towel whilst the loaf cools down.
Due to the nature of ovens been quite poor at providing a consistent temperature throughout, I often rotate the oven tray 180 degrees half-way through cooking (15 minutes).