Can you really go wrong with bread and olives?
Kalamata olives are a wonderful addition to this yeasted bread, especially topped with avocado and herbs. According to The History of Taste edited by Paul Freedman, “the olive tree came under cultivation in the area of Syria and modern Israel about six thousand years ago and from there spread westward around the Mediterranean basin” (77). In addition to the olive being “of great importance in the diet of ancient Mediterranean peoples” (Freedman, 77), the olive has been studied for it’s fatty acid and mineral contents. Researchers Uylaser and Yildiz looked at “five different types of commercial table olive[s]” in their paper on the “Fatty Acid Profile and Mineral Content of Commercial Table Olives from Turkey.” And they found that “potassium (K) is the most abundant element in the olive fruit, followed by calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg) and sodium (Na) (Uylaser, 518). Not only that, but the kalamata specifically is a “healthier product compared to the other olive types” (Uylaser, 520). This is “based on the [polyunsaturated fatty acid/saturated fatty acid] ratio results. With that knowledge you can try this olive bread the next time you need a tasty snack or dinner party appetizer :)
Yields: 1 loaf
½ cup plus 1 Tbsp warm water
1 ½ tsp active dry yeast
Pinch of sugar
2 cups flour (give or take)
1 cup kalamata olives, chopped
½ cup purple onion, minced
5 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1. In a bowl on the counter or a bowl of a stand mixer, add warm water, yeast and sugar and let sit for 5 minutes until bubbly.
2. Chop the olives and onions.
3. Add the flour ¼ cup at a time while mixing on low (or with a wooden spoon), once incorporated add the oil, salt, olives, and onions.
4. Mix on medium speed for 5-7 minutes or knead on the countertop for 10-15 minutes. Add flour if necessary. The dough should be smooth and springy.
5. Place in an oiled bowl and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Let rise for two hours, or until doubled, in a warm place.
6. Knead the dough on the countertop just until the air is knocked out. Add pinch of cornmeal and flour to the bottom of a loaf pan and place the dough in the pan. Sprinkle with more flour and cover with a damp towel in a warm place until dough has doubled again, up to two hours.
7. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, drop the heat to 400 and bake bread for 35 minutes. Or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees.
8. Cool, slice, top and enjoy!
Freedman, Paul. FOOD: the History of Taste. THAMES & HUDSON, 2007.
Uylaser, Vildan, and Gã¶Kã§En Yildiz. “Fatty Acid Profile and Mineral Content of Commercial Table Olives from Turkey.” Notulae Botanicae Horti Agrobotanici Cluj-Napoca, vol. 41, no. 2, 2013, pp. 518–523.
Author: Lucy Lafranchise
Photographer: Jack Klipfel