I made this olive thyme loaf in the afternoon and we ate nearly half of it for dinner. Tearing pieces off, pressing them into good olive oil sprinkled with Italian herbs and a healthy twist of sea salt, it just disappeared. And then the next morning, toasted under the broiler and smeared with too-much-just-right butter for breakfast. And then sliced thin and loaded up with cheeses and fresh veggies for lunch.
And now I’m sitting here writing this, pressing my finger into the plate to get those last salty crumbs. THAT GOOD.
We’re late to the party as usual, but Kirk and I binged The Great British Baking Show this weekend and I’m utterly obsessed – has everyone else already watched this?? Please, please do yourself a favor: get comfy on the couch, load up series 5 on Netflix (which, bafflingly, calls it season 1?), and get ready to crave every cake, pie, bread, and pastry known to humanity. Of course once we finished the series we NEEDED something baked.
Can we please talk about how lovely it is to watch friendly, kind people help each other? I can’t stand nearly any American reality shows. So much manufactured drama and backstabbing and general nastiness… we don’t need any more of that in the world, thanks. It’s so wonderfully refreshing to see everyone genuinely having fun and enjoying the experience.
And don’t even get me started on Martha, my new spirit-baker-BFF, because it’s impossible not to adore her bubbly cheerfulness. Martha, if you ever feel like coming across to visit the Rocky Mountains, call me?
Ahem. Back to the bread.
I chose to bake mine in a round pie dish for a boule loaf. The dough didn’t quite touch the sides of the dish, but the heat radiating from the edges helped the bread bake nice and tall. If you’d prefer a more traditional loaf, form your dough in a long line on a regular baking sheet.
- 1 1/4 cups warm water
- 2 t. active dry yeast
- 1 T. sugar
- 6 oz. kalamata olives drained & roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh thyme finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic finely minced
- 1/2 t. salt
- 3 1/4 cups flour plus extra for kneading
Combine warm water, yeast, and sugar in a small bowl. Let sit for about 5 minutes, until yeast is foaming.
Meanwhile, toss olives, thyme, garlic, and salt with flour in the bowl of a stand mixer, making sure olives are completely coated.
Set mixer on low with dough hook and slowly add yeast mixture to flour. When ingredients are mostly combined, increase speed to medium.
Knead dough for 5-10 minutes, until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and forms an elastic ball. If needed, add extra flour one tablespoon at a time until dough comes together.
Cover mixing bowl with a damp towel and set in a warm place. Let rise for 2 hours, until roughly doubled in size.
Cover a baking sheet or large pan with nonstick spray. Punch dough down and place on the pan for the second rise, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 500°.
When the second rise is complete, bake at 500° for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375° and bake for 30-40 minutes, until bottom is browned and sounds hollow when you knock on it.
Let cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting.
You can make this bread without a stand mixer - I did - but it's a very stiff, wet dough that will give you a good arm workout!