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.
- 3 and 1/4 cups (about 430g) bread 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- During this 45 minutes, preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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