One of the bakeries where I grew up baked the best little olive rolls: small, with a chewy crust and the fluffiest softest bread inside, flecked with salty olives. I haven't managed to replicate those, but this bread has come closest to scratching the itch.

You can halve the recipe if you only want one loaf, but once I'm already going to the effort of baking bread I prefer to make two, especially since it freezes so well.

Recipe based on Wanderlust Kitchen's recipe
Recipe based on Wanderlust Kitchen's recipe


  • 3 tsp. dry yeast
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 5½ cups flour (use bread flour if you have)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup roughly chopped kalamata olives


  1. Pour half the warm water into a bowl and sprinkle the yeast and sugar over it. Leave for 5-10 minutes until the yeast looks thick and frothy.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients except the olives. Mix (by hand or in a stand-mixer) until the dough comes together. Fold in the olives and knead for 10-15 minutes (if using a machine, you can cut it down to 5-10 minutes).
  3. Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with clingfilm or a damp towel.
  4. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
  5. Tip the dough out and punch down (ie. let it deflate). Divide the dough into two equal sized pieces and shape each one into an oval. Place the loaves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and set aside to rise for another hour.
  6. Heat the oven to 400°F and place an empty baking dish on the bottom rack.
  7. Use a serrated knife to cut 2-3 shallow slits in the top of each loaf and slide the pan into the oven. Carefully pull out the bottom rack just enough so that you can pour a cup of water onto the empty pan. Quickly close the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  8. Transfer the bread to a wire cooling rack and only slice once fully cooled. Freezes well.