Spicy Olive Bread


Submitted by: Linda Horton

Source: Breads Illustrated (with a few modifications)

This recipe is both time and labor intensive (perfect for COVID quarantine!), but I’ve found several things I can do to make it a bit easier.

I can’t knead by hand any more so I use my mixer for this step. But if you enjoy the THWACK of slamming bread around, go for it! Great way to ease a bit of frustration and have bread when you’re feeling better. And if you’re like me, you’re going to get a lot of dishes dirty, but that’s what a dishwasher is for!

Editors note: this is one of my favorite things I've tried at one of our WCMGA meetings! It would be wonderful with tomatoes this time of year, and a little balsamic and EVOO. Thanks for sharing this recipe, Linda!

Spicy Olive Bread


  • ¾ cup chopped olives, patted dry on paper towels (you can use any olives or combination of olives you like)
  • 2 fresh garlic cloves, minced (the minced garlic in the jar is fine, but it will add a tiny bit more liquid)
  • 3 cups bread flour + 1 additional cup
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/3 room temperature water
  • 2 Tbls sugar
  • 1 Tbls EVOO (I use a garlic infused one, but regular olive oil will work)


  1. Combine the chopped olives in a bowl, pat dry with paper towels, and set aside to dry a bit more while you’re starting the bread.
  2. In a 4 qt measure, mix water, sugar and oil until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Mix 3 cups of flour, yeast, salt and red pepper flakes until just combined (I use my dough hook here since you’re going to get it dirty in a minute anyway)
  4. With mixer on low speed, slowly pour liquid into the flour mixture and continue to mix until dough leaves the side and bottom of the bowl. Now for the alteration……3 cups of flour as in the recipe leaves a sticky, wet dough. I add additional flour until I get the consistency of true bread dough. It usually takes close to another full cup!
  5. Increase the mixing speed to medium low and knead for 8 minutes. If using a mixture, be sure to lock the head. Slowly add in the garlic/olive mixture, ¼ cup at a time. Don’t worry if it doesn’t all get mixed in; we’ll take care of that. It will also be soft and sticky.
  6. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for about 30 seconds to incorporate a bit more flour and the olive bits. Form into a ball and transfer to an oiled bowl. Spray top with Pam, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise for 1 ½ hrs to 2 hrs until doubled in bulk. You can push this process by putting the bowl outside on one of our hot days!
  7. Press down the dough to deflate and transfer to a floured surface. Shape your bread as desired. The recipe calls for putting a the dough ball onto a piece of oiled parchment paper and use it as a sling for lowering it into a Dutch oven. I prefer to divide mine in to 2 loaves so I can freeze one for later so I use normal loaf pans, but I’ve done it both ways.
  8. Cover tightly with plastic and let it rise by half, usually 30 minutes to 1 hr
  9. Adjust the oven rack to medium height and heat oven to 450°F.
  10. If using the Dutch oven method, make 2 slashes across the top in a cross pattern, about ½“ deep. If using loaf pans, use kitchen shears or a sharp knife to make 4-5 slashes across the top of the loaves. Cover the pan (whichever one you’re using) and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid, lower the temperature to 375° and bake another 20-25 minutes until golden brown. If you wish to use a thermometer (I don’t) it should read 205-210°F.
  11. Remove the loaf to a cooling rack and cool completely (about 3 hrs) before cutting. We can rarely wait for this!!!

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