Wednesday 22 April 2009

I came back home pretty stressed out and wanted to do something to relieve the stress. After playing with Adz for a while, it was time to bath and put her into bed, so while I enjoyed the time with her, I was still feeling like I wanted to hit something very hard. That's when I turned to my favourite stress reliever, making bread. I had fresh olives in the fridge, and a bunch of mint leaves, plus there were chives growing in the garden. I also had red onions in the back of my cupboard, so I thought of one of my favourites, olive bread. This recipe is actually Rena Salaman's from her wonderful 'Greek Cooking' but I've tweaked it, so it suits my taste. Feel free to look for the original recipe, as its fabulous. I borrowed the book from the library, so I only have a scribbled version that I kept in my recipe folder.

Olive Bread

400 g strong white bread flour (or use half wholemeal, it tastes just as good, and is healthier)
About 250 ml warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp dried yeast
1 tsp salt
1 medium red onion, sliced finely
3 tbsp olive oil (virgin, extra-virgin is fine)
3 tbsp fresh herbs, finely chopped (coriander, parsley, chives, mint or a combination) This is not a hard and fast measurement, just go with whatever you have and however much you want to add.
About 150g olives, roughly chopped (try not to use the ones in brine, ideally ones you get in a deli are better, you can use any kind, but they do need to be pitted)

1. Reactivate the yeast in 100 ml warm water, adding sugar and whisking to dissolve the yeast. Leave until frothy. Preheat oven to 200 C. or 375 F.
2. Fry the onion in 1 tbsp olive oil, until soft and only very lightly coloured.
3. In a bowl, put the flour and salt. Stir together and add the olive oil, olives, fried onions and herbs. Add the yeast, and enough of the remaining water to pull together into a soft dough. You can do this by hand, or use dough hooks. Knead for about 10 minutes. Put into a lightly oiled bowl, and leave it in a warm place for about an hour and half, until doubled in size.
4. Turn out the dough, punch lightly and knead again for about 3 or 4 minutes. Roll the dough into a big ball or 2 small balls (reduce baking time)
5. Oil a baking sheet or a tray, and pop the dough on it. Very lighlty cover with cling film and leave in a warm place again for about half hour or so, unitl the dough rises again. Doesn't have to double, but should rise at leat by a third.
6. Put the bread into the oven and bake for about 45 minutes or so, until tapping on the crust elicits a hollow sounding noise. If the crust is browning too quickly, cover loosely with aluminium foil and continue to bake.
7. Enjoy with a pat of butter.

All stress was relieved, and a nice slice of bread to round off the day too :-)


  1. nice blog Michelle :) you've posted quite a few recipes here.
    I love olive bread and hope to make some soon. The only thing I don't add in my version is the chives. Should try that!

  2. Can't Wait to try this. Olive bread is great alongside a hearty soup.

  3. Hello again,
    I was very surprised to see there were no instructions on making paratha or Lachha Paratha. I need some pointers as mine are coming out a little hard, not soft like in the restaurants. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Gary, please post your question on my Facebook page, I should be able to give you pointers. I haven't posted a paratha recipe cause I haven't found the time to test one a few times, but I certainly will in the near future :)


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