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This crusty olive bread is perfect for serving at your next dinner party, or alongside a cheese and charcuterie board. It’s sure to impress your guests, and they won’t have any idea how easy it actually is! There’s no kneading or complicated shaping involved, and the vast majority of time is hands-off. This loaf is soft inside with a crispy chewy crust, and includes garlic, oregano, and plenty of salty olives.

olive bread sliced from boule loaf

Another homemade yeast bread to love!

Don’t let your eyes fool you… the dark speckles in today’s bread are not chocolate chips and raisins. They’re olives! This recipe is based off of my homemade artisan bread, a wonderfully easy and widely popular no-knead bread that’s fit for both beginners and experts. (Note that I bake this bread at a slightly lower oven temperature because the olives can burn.)

A Flavorful Bread Recipe for Beginners

Today’s olive bread basically makes itself, so if you’re nervous to try homemade bread, this recipe is a great introduction. Even though the recipe is easy, the bread does NOT skimp on flavor. It’s just a simple way of baking homemade bread inspired by the no-knead technique originating from bread expert Jim Lahey. Here’s why it’s so simple:

  • Only 7 ingredients
  • Absolutely no kneading (just like homemade English muffins!)
  • Zero complicated shaping
  • No mixer required
  • 90% of the time is totally hands off
  • Can bake in a dutch oven or on a baking sheet

Plus, you can make it in 4 hours or let the dough rest in the refrigerator for up to 3 days (great make-ahead recipe!). Once you realize how easy it is to prepare salty, herby, garlicky olive bread, you’ll find any excuse to bake it.

slices of olive bread with garlic dipping oil

Key Ingredients You Need & Why

Today’s Mediterranean-inspired bread is an egg free baking recipe and dairy free recipe. Here are the ingredients you need:

ingredients in bowls including bread flour, olives, yeast, water, coarse salt, garlic powder, and dried oregano
  1. Bread Flour: While you could use all-purpose flour in this recipe, I strongly recommend using bread flour. Bread flour produces a stronger, chewier bread and that makes a big difference in an artisan-style loaf like this olive bread.
  2. Instant Yeast: While you can use active dry yeast if that’s all you have, any quick-rise or instant yeast will produce flavorful results in less time. I use more yeast in this recipe compared to my cranberry nut no-knead bread and no-knead jalapeño cheddar bread. Why? Those doughs rest and rise at room temperature. However, for more flavor and just as much rise, I use more yeast and let the this dough rest in the refrigerator. (Cool air slows the fermentation process and helps develop better flavor.)
  3. Salt: I recommend using coarse sea salt because I find the bread’s flavor lacking with regular table salt.
  4. Garlic + Herbs: Dried oregano and garlic powder add flavor to the dough. You could also try some chopped fresh herbs or roasted garlic cloves, or simply leave them out. The recipe is pretty adaptable, just like the toppings for focaccia!
  5. Olives: See below for my recommendations.
  6. Water: I normally encourage you to use warm liquid with yeast because warm liquid helps the yeast work faster. However, use cool or room-temperature water here. Not freezing cold, not super warm… just cool to the touch. 70°F (21°C) is great, but the exact temperature doesn’t matter as long as it’s not warm. We use the same cool water method for no-knead honey oat bread.
  7. Optional Cornmeal: If you’re using a baking sheet, dust the pan with cornmeal for a pop of flavor and a little crunch. This is completely optional. If you have it, use it. If you don’t have it, dust the pan with flour.

Best Olives to Use

Kalamata olives are excellent in this bread, but you can use a medley of olives. I’ve made it both ways. Whatever you use, give the olives a rough chop.

mixing shaggy dough together in glass bowl
Expect a shaggy dough at first. Don’t worry, it will eventually come together.

Let Me Show You How to Make This Olive Bread

Mix the dry ingredients together and then mix in the chopped olives and water. At first the dough will seem very dry and shaggy and you’ll question if it will even come together. (See above!) Use a spatula at first and then switch to your hands to ensure all of the flour is moistened. The dough is a little sticky after it’s thoroughly mixed.

Let it rise. Cover the dough and let it rise at room temperature for about 2–3 hours.

risen dough in glass bowl
The dough will rise OUT instead of rising UP. It will be wet and bubbly.

You can immediately continue with step 4 below (gently shaping before baking) or refrigerate the dough for up to 3 days. For best flavor, I strongly recommend refrigerating the risen dough even if it’s just for a couple hours.

After the dough rises and rests in the refrigerator, use generously floured hands to shape the dough into a round boule or ball-like shape:

olive bread dough on floured counter

Now it’s time to choose between a dutch oven or baking sheet. This bread isn’t picky!

Use a Dutch Oven or Baking Sheet

You can use either. Baking the olive bread in a covered dutch oven traps steam inside the pot, creating that perfect crust. If you plan to bake a lot bread in the future, you won’t regret picking up a dutch oven. If you don’t have a dutch oven, a nonstick large baking sheet is best. Let me explain both ways:

  1. Dutch Oven: Place the empty dutch oven with lid in the oven as it preheats. Place the dough on high heat resistant parchment paper (I use this parchment paper) and then fit inside a bowl. Cover and let the dough rest as the oven preheats, then place it (with the parchment) in the hot dutch oven before baking. You will find these detailed instructions in the recipe Note below.
  2. Baking Sheet: Lightly dust it with flour and/or cornmeal. Place the dough on top, cover it, and let it rest as the oven preheats. You will find these detailed instructions in the recipe below, along with my crispy crust optional trick in step 7!

Whichever you use, don’t forget to score the dough with a bread lame or sharp knife. Scoring allows the wet, airy dough to “breathe” as it rises and bakes.

Dutch oven method:

baked olive bread shown in a dutch oven

Baking sheet method:

olive bread on baking sheet before and after baking
slices of olive bread shown with small bowl of olives

The bread is unbelievable when it’s fresh from the oven– warm, crispy, crusty, and soft inside!

What Can I Serve With This Olive Bread?

Honestly, it’s fantastic plain. But I usually mix together a super easy + flavorful dipping oil: 3 Tablespoons (45ml) extra virgin olive oil and 2 minced cloves of garlic plus a sprinkle each of red pepper flakes, fresh or dried thyme, dried oregano, salt, and pepper. The bread would also be delicious paired with homemade basil pesto.

Serve your olive bread alongside a charcuterie or cheese platter, or with any Mediterranean-style fare. I love it with a big Greek salad and have even served it with Minestrone Soup, Pesto Shrimp, and Lemon Thyme Chicken. (The chicken dish has so much sauce for soaking!)

Print
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slices of olive bread shown with small bowl of olives

Easy No-Knead Olive Bread

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 4 hours
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours, 35 minutes
  • Yield: 1 loaf; 10-12 servings 1x
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Follow this recipe and enjoy homemade olive bread that’s altogether crisp, soft, garlicky, herby, and salty. Review Notes before beginning. If you’re new to working with yeast, reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 and 1/4 cups (about 430gbread flour (spoon & leveled), plus more as needed for shaping and pan
  • 2 teaspoons instant or active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt (see note)
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 heaping cup (about 135g) roughly chopped olives
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) cool water, about 70°F (21°C)
  • optional: cornmeal for dusting pan

Instructions

  1. In a large un-greased mixing bowl, whisk the flour, yeast, salt, oregano, and garlic powder together. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, mix in the olives. Pour in the cool water and gently mix together. The dough will seem dry and shaggy, but keep working it until all the flour is moistened. If needed, use your hands to work the dough ingredients together. The dough will be sticky. Shape into a ball in the bowl as best you can.
  2. Keeping the dough in the bowl, cover the dough tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and set on the counter at room temperature (honestly any normal room temperature is fine). Allow to rise for 2-3 hours. The dough will just about double in size, stick to the sides of the bowl, and have a lot of air bubbles.
  3. You can continue with step 4 immediately, but for absolute best flavor and texture, I strongly recommend letting this risen dough rest in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours and up to 3 days. (Even just a couple hours is good!) Place covered dough in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The dough will puff up during this time, but may begin to deflate after 2 days. That’s normal and nothing to worry about.
  4. Lightly dust a large nonstick baking sheet (with or without rims and make sure it’s nonstick) with flour and/or cornmeal. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Using generously floured hands, shape into a ball as best you can. Dough is very sticky. Loosely cover and allow dough to rest for 45 minutes. You will bake the dough on this prepared baking sheet. See recipe note if you want to use a pizza stone or dutch oven.
  5. During this 45 minutes, preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C).
  6. When ready to bake, using a very sharp knife or bread lame (some even use kitchen shears), score the dough with a slash or an X, about 1/2 inch deep. (“Score” = shallow cut.) If the shaped loaf flattened out during the 45 minutes, use floured hands to reshape into a ball.
  7. Optional for a slightly crispier crust: After the oven is preheated and bread is scored, place a shallow metal or cast iron baking pan or skillet (I usually use a metal 9×13 baking pan) on the bottom oven rack. Carefully and quickly pour 3-4 cups of boiling water into it. Place the scored dough/baking pan on a higher rack and quickly shut the oven, trapping the steam inside. The steam helps create a crispier crust.
  8. Place the shaped and scored dough (on the flour/cornmeal dusted pan) in the preheated oven on the center rack. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. How to test for doneness– give the warm loaf a light tap. If it sounds hollow, it’s done. For a more accurate test, the bread is done when an instant read thermometer reads the center of the loaf as 195°F (90°C).
  9. Remove the bread from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10-20 minutes before slicing and serving. Store leftovers loosely covered at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: The dough can sit in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, so this is a wonderful recipe to begin ahead of time. You can also bake the bread, allow it to cool, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature before serving. You can also freeze the dough. Complete the recipe through step 3. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in a freezer-friendly container. Freeze up to 3 months. To bake, allow dough to thaw overnight in the refrigerator, or for 2–3 hours at room temperature. Continue with step 4 and the rest of the recipe instructions.
  2. Flour: For absolute best flavor and chewy texture, I strongly recommend using bread flour. You can use a 1:1 substitution of all-purpose flour in a pinch with no other changes to the recipe. I recommend avoiding whole wheat flour in this dough, however if necessary, you can replace up to 1 cup (about 130g) of the bread flour with whole wheat flour.
  3. Yeast: You can use instant or active dry yeast, but I highly recommend an instant (aka “rapid rise” or “quick rise” yeast). The bread will rise faster. 2 teaspoons is a little less than 1 standard packet. If using active dry yeast, there are no changes needed to the recipe. The rise time in step 2 may take longer.
  4. Salt: Use a coarse salt, such as coarse sea salt, in this bread. I find the flavor slightly lacking when using regular table fine salt. If you only have fine salt, reduce to 1 and 1/2 teaspoons.
  5. Dried Oregano & Garlic Powder: Feel free to use 2-3 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano or substitute 2 teaspoons of another dried herb you love. Instead of garlic powder, you can use 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic or roasted garlic.
  6. Using a Dutch Oven: The process is similar to Cranberry Nut No Knead Bread. You need a 6 quart or higher dutch oven or any large oven-safe pot with a lid (lid is crucial– see cranberry nut bread for more information). Prepare dough recipe above through step 3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and, using lightly floured hands, shape into a ball as best you can. Doesn’t have to be perfect. Transfer dough to a large piece of parchment paper. (Large enough to fit inside your pot and one that is safe under such high heat. I use this parchment and it’s never been an issue.) Lift the parchment paper and dough up and place it all into a large mixing bowl. Using a very sharp knife or bread lame, gently score an X into the top. Cover dough lightly with plastic wrap and leave alone for 30 minutes. During this 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C). Place your dutch oven (with the lid) inside for 30 minutes so that it’s extremely hot before the dough is placed inside. After 30 minutes, remove the dutch oven from the oven and carefully place the dough inside by lifting it up with the parchment paper and sticking it all– the parchment paper included– inside the pot. Cover with the lid. Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on. Carefully remove the lid and continue baking for 10 more minutes or until the bread is golden brown. You can test for doneness exactly how you would in step 8 above. Remove pot from the oven, carefully remove the bread from the pot, and allow to cool on a wire rack for 10-20 minutes before slicing/serving.
  7. Using a Pizza Stone: If you want to bake your bread on a pizza stone, place pizza stone in the preheating oven. Remove hot pizza stone, dust with cornmeal or a little flour, and then transfer shaped and scored dough to hot pizza stone and bake as directed.
  8. No Nonstick Pan?: If you don’t have a nonstick baking sheet, line it with parchment paper instead. Coat with a dusting of flour and/or cornmeal before placing the dough on top. Parchment paper can burn, so it’s best to check the box to see how much heat yours can tolerate. Lower your oven heat if necessary, and bake the bread for longer until it’s golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.

Keywords: olive bread

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Hi Sally! This sounds delicious and I can’t wait to try it. I’m a huge fan of your no-knead cheddar jalapeño bread (just made it again yesterday!), and see that your method for this bread is pretty similar but differs when it comes to the use of bread flour and refrigeration of the dough. Is there a reason that you made those changes with this loaf (and not the cheddar jalapeño bread), or could I try using bread flour and/or this slightly new method but with the cheddar and jalapeño from that loaf? Thanks!

    1. Hi Veronica! Both recipes are quite similar. I like this refrigeration method because it can be quicker if you refrigerate it for less than 12 hours. The breads themselves (without any add-ins) honestly taste identical. I do prefer using bread flour for a chewier bread and think you will too. And yes, you can use this method with the jalapeño and cheddar. Let me know what you try!

      1. Got it, thanks so much for the quick reply! I’m definitely going to try this method and the bread flour next time. I appreciate your help!

  2. This looks like a great bread to first try yeasted then adapting to sourdough. I agree with everything you post except refrigerating baked bread. It promotes faster staling and will fare better if wrapped and stored at room temperature below countertop height.

    1. Thanks Dave. I absolutely agree when it comes to plain bread, however because of the moisture from the olives, it’s best if this is refrigerated after a few days.

      1. Can you provide nutrition information ? Specifically carbs and protein?

      2. Hi Alison! We don’t usually include nutrition information as it can vary between different brands of the same ingredients. Plus, many recipes have ingredient substitutions or optional ingredients listed. However, there are many handy online calculators where you can plug in and customize your exact ingredients/brands. Readers have found this one especially helpful: https://www.verywellfit.com/recipe-nutrition-analyzer-4157076

    1. I’m sure it’s possible, but my team and I haven’t tested it. Let me know if you try anything!

      1. I will let you know! Although I enjoy your recipes so much “as is.” Thank you for the speedy response. Carol

      2. I would like to know if it is necessary to add oil to the recipe. Are the olives used in the recipe preserved in olive oil so no need to add any oil?

        Thanks

      3. Hi Rina! The recipe as written above works perfectly! No need to add extra oil.

  3. This looks wonderful and will definitely give it a try, your cranberry walnut bread is a staple at our house. I use 1/3 whole wheat flour in your cranberry walnut bread and that works well for us. If I wanted to replace some of the bread flour with whole wheat flour in this recipe, how much would you suggest and should I tuck in a little vital wheat gluten?

    thanks

    1. The cranberry walnut bread is 1 of my favorite bread recipes to bake! I wouldn’t replace more than 1 cup (about 130g) of flour with whole wheat flour. (See Note.) No need to add vital wheat gluten if you’re replacing up to 1 cup.

    1. Hi Karen, this is a very slick and sticky dough (most no knead doughs like this are) and it would be very difficult to shape into smaller rolls. You absolutely can, just know that you will need a lot of flour on hand to make the dough workable. Instead, you could try adding chopped olives to these herb skillet rolls instead.

  4. So very much not a fan of olives, but I feel like sun-dried tomatoes might be delicious in this instead. Will definitely be saving this recipe!

    1. Either people love or strongly do not like them! Sun-dried tomatoes would be great.

  5. Made this bread today. Really good and easy to make. Used my Black Olives from the Olive Pit in California. They are the best. I live in Canada so hopefully hubby gets a RV or boat to haul down there to get more. This is my go to site for all my baking needs. Thanks to you and your team.

  6. Instead of a parchment lined baking sheet – can you use a silpat? Would you dust it the same as if you used parchment paper? Thanks!

    1. Hi Alex, you can use a silicone baking mat provided it can withstand this high of heat (the brands usually list that on the package or website). Yes, we’d still recommend dusting the mat as well. Hope you enjoy this bread!

    1. Amazing! Made two loaves one with and without olives –
      Both with herbs and garlic – delicious!

  7. I make your artisan bread all the time so this timely recipe you emailed yesterday seemed a perfect pairing for our pork loin last night. I used the pan method and it turned out amazing. (Too amazing, if you ask me, because my partner and I ate half the loaf! Hahaha!)

    1. Half of the loaf has disappeared in my house in only 1 day too. It’s so hard to resist, especially on that first day when it’s so crusty!

  8. Wonderful and delicious recipe. Made this and thought I’d share with neighbors. Short story: I got one slice of it for myself. Had to bake another.

  9. Wow! Took this out of the oven about a half hour ago and my husband and I had a hard time waiting for it to rest to each try a slice. It was sooooo good, albeit a tiny bit salty. I’ll dial back the sea salt just a bit next time and, trust me, there will be MANY next times. I used AP flour, kalamata olives; refrigerated it for about 20 hours and baked it in a 7 qt cast iron oval Dutch Oven. It turned out beautifully. This was my first time ever baking bread.

    1. We’re so happy to hear that this bread recipe turned out for you, Kathryn!

  10. Hi, the recipe says substitute 130g max with wholewheat flour, but what about wholewheat bread flour? Is there a reason it wouldn’t work? I generally prefer wholewheat for baking bread so don’t have any white bread flour around

    1. Hi Wendy, we haven’t tested this recipe with whole wheat bread flour. Using ALL whole wheat bread flour would likely still lead to a denser loaf but let us know if you try it!

  11. I made this bread, leaving it in the frig for about 24 hours. It looks beautiful — I used the boiling water in the bottom of the oven, and the flavor is wonderful, but it never fully baked. I put it in for additional 5 minutes twice, but the middle is still doughy. I think my bread flour may have been old — could that be the reason? It rose perfectly so I don’t think it was the yeast.

    1. Hi Nancy! It sounds like your bread just needed more time to bake. An easy fix for next time!

  12. Hi Sally,
    I made this bread early this morning following your recipe exactly and refrigerating it for 15 hours. I did add 1½ tsp of grated Parmigiano to the dough although don’t know if it added anything or not. The bread was absolutely delicious and so easy. I served it with hummus and an eggplant spread.
    Thank you.

  13. This bread is addictive I made and left in refrigerator over night and just baked it this morning. The delicious smell while baking I knew it was going to be a hit. I did find that I had to bake it longer than the recipe. Not sure if it was just extra moisture from olives or moist dough. I baked it in Dutch oven and lid. I bake artisan bread routinely and definitely will be making it again. Thank you for sharing your recipes. Jane

  14. The flavor of this bread was just wonderful, but the texture & color were off. My go to bread is ATK’s No Knead Bread, which starts in a cold oven & is baked for an hour in a Dutch Oven, the last 30 minutes uncovered. It’s been no fail for me, & I wonder if you’ve tried your olive bread in that cold oven method, for an hour.
    My olive loaf was pallid, even after I baked it cover off for 10+ minutes (it took on A LITTLE color, but not a lot). It was not at all crispy. What do you think? Could I use your recipe & my ATK tried & true method?
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Debra, thank you for trying this recipe! I’m sure that method of baking (starting in the cold oven) would work with this dough. I do wonder, however, if your bread just needed longer in the oven especially if it didn’t brown and wasn’t crispy. (An easy fix for next time!)

  15. I forgot to give this a star rating in my original review which was 5. Made it the second time and again absolutely delicious

  16. Hi Sally, Thanks for this recipe. I am at the last stage and hope you can tell me if it could be baked in a loaf pan? My dough is spreading out and I was hoping it would be a bit higher. Thanks in advance for your recipe and help.

    1. Hi Sandra! There is a little too much dough for a standard size (9×5 inches) loaf pan, so you could try dividing the dough in half and using 2 loaf pans. The edges should still crisp up and the bake time may vary. You can also lightly flour your hands and help bring the dough back together a bit before baking on the sheet. It will get a bit of height once baking. Hope you enjoy it!

      1. Thanks Lexi, I did as you suggested and was able to give it more shape before I baked it. It is delicious and I most definitely will make it again. I have a large loaf pan and think I will line it with parchment paper, sprinkled with corn meal the next time I make it. TA

  17. Hi Sally,
    I really want to make this bread but here in Mexico where I live I cannot seem to find bread flour. I have Pillsbury all purpose flour and Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat which strangely they sell at my market. How do I proceed with the flour ratios?
    I do also want to try the artisanal bread recipe – same issue with flours.
    Have been using your recipes for a few months now and wow, has my baking improved. I just made your almond biscotti (divine) and riffed on your oatmeal banana muffins, adding fresh blueberries and walnuts, topped with brown sugar. Superb! Will be trying many more of your recipes – love how organized everything is and the step by step info along with the videos. Thanks! or Gracias!

    1. Hi Aline, we haven’t tried any DIY bread flour substitutes. You could experiment with making the recipe once with all all-purpose flour and then again with half all-purpose and half whole wheat flours. If you try both, let us know how they turn out!

  18. This bread is so delicious but getting it to the oven is not so good. I know it is a sticky dough but this is so much so that I can’t even make it into a boule. I’ve made it 3 times and I just let it do its thing. I weigh everything so maybe I should add a little more flour? (I live in a very warm, humid climate.) It just comes out of the oven very uneven and not really a boule. Delicious but frustrating.

    1. Hi Judi, a humid climate is definitely a factor. Try adding more flour to get the dough to a soft, workable consistency. Hope your next loaf turns out better!

  19. Hi, I’ve got a general bread making question. Regardless of the recipe, my second rise never seems to work. I have tried extending the time and it’s not an elevation issue.

    1. Hi J, so sorry to hear your dough isn’t rising like it should. The first thing to check is the expiration date on your yeast. If that’s not the issue, we have more troubleshooting tips on baking with yeast here. Hope this is helpful!

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