Pane con Olive

(Rustic Olive Bread)

Baker's Note: The following recipe was inspired by a Senese (of Siena) bread named  Pane con Olive.  The taste of this bread is dependent upon the kind of olives that are used.  Greek Kalamata olives that have been preserved in a seasoned olive oil marinade, or tinned in their own juice, most approximate the original bread.  The amount of salt may need to be decreased when using olives preserved in a seasoned olive oil marinade.


2 1/2 Tsp. Yeast - active dry or one small cake (18 grams)
1/4 Cup Water - warm (60 g.)
1/2 Cup Flour - unbleached (65 g)
1 Tbl. Flour - unbleached (10 g.)


1/2 Cup Water (120 g.)
All   Starter - from above
2 Cups Water - (475 g.)
1 Tbl Extra virgin olive oil
3 Cups Flour - unbleached - (400 g.)
3 Cups Flour - whole wheat - (400 g.)
2 Tsp. Salt - (10 g.)
2 Cups Olives - black and large - pitted and chopped coarsely



Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup water and allow it to stand for approximately 5-10 minutes. Add 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour and mix until the flour is absorbed.  Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of flour over the starter, cover it with a cotton towel, and allow it to remain at room temperature until double in size (approximately 1 hour). (An indication that the starter has doubled in size is the disappearance of the tablespoon of flour or the formation of large cracks on the surface of the starter).


Cover the starter with 1/2  cup water to soften it.  Add the remaining water (2 cups) and the extra-virgin olive oil (1 tablespoon) to the softened starter, mixing well. Gradually add the unbleached all-purpose and whole wheat flours (3 cups each).  Continue to mix until the dough begins to hold together. Knead the dough to a soft consistency. Add the salt (2 teaspoons) and the coarsely chopped olives and continue to knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Allow it to rise until it is at least double in size (approximately 1 - 2 hours).

Shaping and Baking

Gently turn the risen dough onto a flour dusted work surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and allow them to rest for 10 minutes. Dust a piece of canvas (untreated, 100% cotton), or a proofing board (lumber core plywood) with flour. Cup your hands beneath one portion of dough and gently fold sections of it toward the center as you roll it on the work surface until it is round. Turn the dough over, gently roll it on the work surface, and place it on the canvas or board. Repeat with the second portion. Cover the dough with a cotton towel. Allow it to rise until it is nearly double (approximately 45 minutes).

As the dough is rising, place a baking stone in the oven and set the temperature to 450 F. Allow the oven to heat for 30 minutes.

Ease your hands beneath the dough and transfer each portion to a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper. Slide a baker’s peel beneath the parchment paper. Slide the parchment paper from the peel onto the baking stone. Quickly spray the oven walls using a plastic spray bottle filled with cold water. Spray again in 3 additional intervals within the first 15 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 425 F. Allow the dough to bake until it is deep brown in color (approximately 30 more minutes). After 15 - 20 minutes, check the oven to be certain that the dough is not browning too quickly.  If this is the case, cover the loaf with aluminum foil.

Remove the bread from the oven and allow it to cool on a rack.

Note: This bread may also be baked in a 10-inch springform pan. Lightly oil the springform pan. After shaping the dough, place it in the pan and cover it with a cotton towel. Let the dough rise until nearly double (45 minutes – 1 hour). When the dough has nearly doubled in size, remove the cloth and place the springform pan in the oven. Spray the oven walls in the intervals indicated above, and allow the dough to bake until it is deep brown in color. Remove the springform pan from the oven, allow it to cool for 5 minutes, then open the pan and remove the bread. Allow the bread to cool on a rack.

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Last updated on;  06/03/00 11:41:15 PM