A couple posts back I discussed my passion for fresh bread. In Cyprus, I discovered a relatively healthy vegan recipe for olive bread. Knotted, rustic and bursting with both color and flavor, this was my standard, go-to bread recipe for a special winter evening or for dinner guests. This olive bread recipe is simple, full of fiber, and dairy and egg free. It’s also perfect next to a bowl of steaming soup, which is what I cooked for my family over the weekend.
Authentic Mediterranean Olive Bread Recipe
- 4 cups 100% whole wheat flour*
- Half can black olives, pitted and sliced
- 1 bunch cilantro, washed and thinly sliced
- 3 stalks spring onions, washed and thinly sliced
- 1 packet instant yeast
- 1 cup luke-warm water (plus extra for consistency)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
* Note: I used 4 cups of 100% whole wheat flour. This creates a dense, thick bread that doesn’t rise much, but has a much higher nutritional content. However, if you prefer a more spongy bread, you may use 2 cups self-rising white flour plus 2 cups 100% whole wheat flour.
Make the yeast according to packet directions (typically, with a cup of luke-warm water).
Note: the yeast must settle into the cup about 10 minutes for the yeast to activate. During this time, I typically wash, slice the cilantro and spring onions and olives. Time saver: buy pre-pitted and pre-sliced black olives.
In a large bowl, add the flour and slowly mix in the water with activated yeast. Begin kneading dough. I always start with a wooden spoon to do this, but end up using my hands. Add the olive oil and sprinkle salt to taste. Continue to knead until the consistency is that of “Play-Doh”. If you used all four cups of 100% whole wheat, then you will need to add drops of warm water to get the proper consistency. Plain self-raising flour requires less water.
Once the dough is the correct “Play-Doh” consistency, then add the olives, cilantro and spring onions to the mixture. Continue to knead until well mixed.
At this point, the yeast must work it’s alchemic magic. Cover with a clean towel and leave the bread to rise approximately 20 minutes. Do the goddess thing: take this time to clean the kitchen space and preheat the oven.
After your dough has risen, place in an oven-proof dish. I generally take a small handful of olive oil and spread across the body of the dough to be able to stretch, press it into place. The bread will take the form of the dish you choose. Plus, the olive oil will give it a beautiful, brown glossy appearance after cooked.
Don’t bother making the dough appear smooth. The beauty of this authentic olive bread is its “artisan” look: knotted, rustic, colorful and flavorful.
Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes or until risen. Pierce with toothpick at thickest section to ensure cooked through.
Serve warm and enjoy! As I wrote earlier, I love this bread with a thick soup. My entire family loves this olive bread. Kids go for second, third slices. My Egyptian/Greek mom even asked for the recipe! Success!
Impress your family, friends and guests: bake, slice, line a platter and serve with a dipping sauce of extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dried basil and salt
Keep in mind: there are no preservatives in this bread. It will taste fresh for about 24 – 36 hours. If you do not consume it by this time, throw it in a ziploc and freeze to use later. But we have never had to do this. I leave it in the kitchen and the bread slowly disappears one nibble or slice at a time. Plus, it’s great for breakfast this next morning with honey.
Have you tried out the recipe? Do you have a way to improve it? I’d love to hear from you!
Discover your Inner Aphrodite. . .