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Greek Olive Bread

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Makes 2 Loaves

675g/1˝lb/6 cups unbleached white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
10ml/2 tsp salt
25g/1oz fresh yeast
350ml/12fl oz/1˝ cups lukewarm water
75ml/5 tbsp olive oil
175g/6oz/1˝ cups pitted black olives, roughly chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
30ml/2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) or mint


1. Lightly grease two baking sheets. Sift the flour and salt together into a large bowl and make a well in the centre.

2. In a jug (pitcher), blend the yeast with half of the water. Add to the centre of the flour with the remaining water and the olive oil; mix to a soft dough.

3. Turn out the dough on to a lightly floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes until smooth. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with lightly oiled clear film (plastic wrap) and leave to rise, in a warm place, for 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.

4. Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knock back (punch down). Cut off a quarter of the dough, cover with lightly oiled clear film and set aside.

5. Roll out the remaining, large piece of dough to a round. Sprinkle the olives, onion and herbs evenly over the surface, then bring up the sides of the circle and gently knead together. Cut the dough in half and shape each piece into a plump oval loaf, about 20cm/8in long. Place on the prepared baking sheets.

6. Divide the reserved dough into four equal pieces and roll each to a long strand 60cm/24in long. Twist together and cut in half. Brush the centre of each loaf with water and place two pieces of twisted dough on top of each, tucking the ends underneath the loaves.

7. Cover with lightly oiled clear film and leave to rise, in a warm place, for about 45 minutes, until nearly doubled in size.

8. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7. Dust the loaves lightly with flour and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden and sounding hollow when tapped on the base. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

VARIATION:- Make one large loaf and increase the baking time by about 15 minutes.

Energy 1515Kcal/6392kj; Protein 33.4g; Carbohydrate 268.2g of which sugars 9.3g; Fat 41.7g of which saturates 6.1g; Cholesterol 0mg; Calcium 545mg; Fibre 14.1g; Sodium 3946mg

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