I first fell in love with olive bread when my dear friend Alex (my web manager, business card designer, and a sublime human being) would make it for potluck parties our friends would throw. I nabbed her idea and ran with it, throwing in garlic and za’atar, a wonderful Middle Eastern spice blend. If you don’t have za’atar, you can use oregano instead.
- 2 tbsp fast acting yeast
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1½ cups warm water
- 3¾ cups flour
- ¼ cup cornmeal
- 1 tbsp salt
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
- 2 tsp za’atar or oregano
- ⅓ cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
Mix together fast acting yeast, sugar, and warm water. Let sit for 10-15 minutes or until the yeast has proofed.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, cornmeal, salt, and 4 tbsp olive oil. Add the yeast mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until everything comes together.
Transfer to the counter and knead for 10 minutes, at which point the dough should be perfectly pliable and soft. Put back into a large bowl, lightly oiled, cover tightly with cling film.
Let it rise for an hour to an hour and a half in a warm area until doubled in size. Preheat your oven to the lowest setting.
When the bread has risen, place it a large baking sheet or a pizza stone dusted with cornmeal. Using your hands, flatten it out into a large oval shape. Into the center of the dough put the olives, as well as the garlic and za’atar mixture.
Take the left side of the bread and fold it over the right. Then take the bottom side of the bread and bring it to the top. Roll into a circular shape, then flatten out into an 8″ or 9″ disk. Don’t worry if any of the filling start to escape from the sides; just tuck it back into the bread.
Now put your bread into you preheated oven (on the lowest setting) and immediately turn the oven off. Let it rise for 30 minutes. Once your bread has risen, keep it in the oven and turn the oven to 350F. As soon as your oven reached 350F, set the timer for 30 minutes. When the timer goes off, remove your bread from the oven.