There are a few things that really remind me of Cyprus, and one of those things is of course olive bread. I remember every morning during the summer months waking up in Larnaka to find my dad eating olive bread with halloumi and tomatoes – his standard breakfast, even in London.
As a child I hated olives, I mean I really hated olives. Now however, I love them. I eat them all the time. I’m addicted. They’re amazing. Kalamata olives? Yes please! Kalamata olives in bread? I’ve already eaten a loaf in my mind.
This recipe is pretty simple however patience is needed as you need to allow the dough to prove, but think about it this way – whilst the dough is doing it’s thing in a bowl, you can be doing your thing with some sliced halloumi and a griddle.
For the bread starter:
- 240ml warm water
- 7g sachet of fast action yeast (I use a brand called Allison)
- 120g flour
For the dough:
- 160ml water
- 1 sachet quick yeast
- 500g flour
- 250g Kalamata olives, with the pips removed and roughly chopped
To make the starter, combine the warm water with the yeast then once this has dissolved add the flour and mix until everything is combined. Cover with clingfilm and leave to ferment for around 30 minutes at room temperature.
For the dough combine water, yeast and 3 tablespoons of honey in a large bowl and stir well until the yeast has dissolved. Then add the flour, salt, olives and the bread starter and bring the mixture together with your hands until a dough has formed. If it is too sticky then just add a little bit of flour. Remove the dough from the bowl and on a lightly floured surface knead the dough for a good 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
Put the dough into a large bowl and cover with clingfilm, then leave to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. After 30 minutes divide the dough into two pieces, shape into round loaves and place on a baking tray. Cover with clingfilm and let prove for 30 minutes in a warm place, like next to a radiator.
At this point preheat your oven to 200°c
Once proved, sprinkle the loaves with a little water and bake in the oven for around 30-40 minutes until the crust is golden.
Eat on its own/ toasted with butter/ with halloumi/ with tomatoes/ with figs/ with more olives/ with a smile.
Makes 2 loaves