Serious Eats: Recipes

The Bread Bible's Olive Bread

[Photograph: Donna Currie]

A loaf of bread studded with olives sounded like an interesting choice when I was browsing through this book, looking for something different. Having two different types of olives in the loaf made it even more appealing. Unfortunately, it also had me humming that familiar Christmas song. You know, the one about Olive, the other reindeer.

I expected that the loaf would be a little bit dense to support the olives, but instead it was soft. That's not a bad thing, but I'd suggest not slicing the bread too thin or you risk losing olives.

This recipe makes two loaves. If that's too much for you, the book suggests toasting leftover bread to make toast for appetizers. I'd go one step further and rub a little garlic on the toasted bread or melt some cheese on top. That's all you'd need.

This loaf lends itself well to creative substitutions. It calls for pitted black olives, but I could imagine raiding the olive bar for other varieties. The 2 cups of black olives called for in the recipes was about 1 1/2 cans, so that's something to keep in mind when you're shopping.

What Worked: The loaf was appealingly rustic, with some olives peeking through the crust of the baked loaves. It's the kind of loaf you want to try just because it looks intriguing.

What Didn't: Getting the olives incorporated into the dough was interesting, to say the least. I think I might consider a different method next time.

Suggested Tweaks: Next time, I'd use equal amounts of the green and black olives, and I might slice or chop them rather than just cutting them in half to get them spread more thoroughly throughout the loaf.

Adapted from The Bread Bible by Beth Hensperger. Copyright © 1999. Published by Chronicle Books. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved

About the author: Donna Currie has been cooking for fun and writing for pay since the days when typewritten articles traveled by snail mail. When she combined those talents in a food column for a newspaper in her area, she realized that writing about food is almost as much fun as eating. You can find her on her blog, Cookistry or follow her on Twitter at @dbcurrie.

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