There is nothing my family loves more than freshly baked bread. Whether sweet (preferred by me and Mom) or savory (my sisters and Dad), when you smell the waft of bread floating in the air you know it’s gonna be a good meal. That’s why when I came home for Thanksgiving break I knew I had to make this spicy olive bread. Because Thanksgiving isn’t Thanksgiving without freshly baked bread (and this recipe was a favorite in our baking class), I had to let my family try it too.
Bread Illustrated, page 123, has this fairly straightforward and easy recipe; but you have to keep in mind that this is bread. There are multiple rising times and even a cool down period (which my family may or may not follow because patience is not a virtue my family possesses) that one has to watch out for. Nothing like making bread for the Thanksgiving meal only to realize that it won’t be done until wayyy after you’ve all finished eating. Thankfully, the recipe places the total cooking time in a clear spot (when you make this be sure to not glance over that part!) so I managed to finish the bread at the same time as the rest of the food.
As I said earlier, the recipe was quite simple. I made the dough and threw in the olive garlic mixture last, kneaded it, placed it in our knockoff Dutch oven (which worked just as well as an actual Dutch oven), cut a cross on the loaf, and baked it till it was ready.
The recipe has you decrease the temperature of the oven part way during the baking time so the outside doesn’t become too dark while the inside might still be raw. Then we use a thermometer to make sure it is fully baked through before we remove the loaf from the pot and let it cool.
You’re supposed to let it cool completely before serving, but I’m gonna be honest, my family cut it as soon as it was cool enough to touch. And it was still just as good! My family loved it, even those of us who don’t like olives (moi). The only thing we suggest is to be mindful of the ratio of green to Kalamata olives you use. Green olives have a much stronger flavor than Kalamata olives, so because the recipe calls for 3/4 cup olives I suggest using a little less than 1/4 cup green olives and the remaining 1/2 cup should be Kalamata. That, and I recommend cutting your olives quite small because no one wants to get a bite of bread with just olive and no bread.
Oh! And if you want some extra garlicy flavor (for those of you who like garlic), try adding some garlic butter on top. My culinary classmates did that and absolutely loved it. Don’t worry, you’ll thank us later!