Rosemary Olive Bread

LeadDog's picture

I have been making Fred Bread for over a year now and haven't really made anything else since I like it so much.  Somewhere along the way recently I got the idea for a Rosemary Olive bread.  I don't remember where I got the idea but it was one of those ideas that I just had to try.  It has been a while since I have made any bread with ingredients in it other than flour, water, and salt, so I opened up some of my bread books and got some ideas for percentages of ingredients and plugged them into my bread spreadsheet.  What came out of the oven was one of the best breads I have baked.  When I took it to work one of my co-workers asked after the first bite if she could buy a loaf for Christmas.

The Dough

Ingredient Metric Imperial Baker's Percentage
Bread Flour 515 grams 18.18 oz 100.00%
Salt 15 grams 0.53 oz 2.91%
Olives 129 grams 4.55 oz 25.05%
Rosemary 3 grams 0.11 oz 0.58%
175% Preferment 839 grams 29.62 oz 162.91%
Total Flour Weight:
515 grams

Percentages are relative to flour weight (flour equals 100%) and every other ingredient is a percentage of this. Flour from the starter is not counted. This recipe was originally in grams and has been automatically converted to other measures.


Making the preferment:  I add 2 grams of my storage starter to 532 grams of water and break it up so the water is filled with little bits of starter.  Then I add 304 grams of home milled flour that I shift out the course bits so about 95% to 97% whole wheat.  You can use whole wheat instead.  I let this set for 24 hours and when it is ready the wet flour will float to the top of the hooch.  If you are in a hot area it will happen faster.

Making the dough: I put the salt and bread flour into the mixing bowl and mix them up a little bit to get the salt spread out.  The preferment is then added and be careful because there is a lot of water in the preferment and it can end up on the counter.  This is mixed until it is a rough mass and I let it sit while I get the Rosemary and olives ready.  Sprinkle chopped up Rosemary around the top of the dough.  The olives I used are Armstong Greek Kalamata Olives.  The Greek Kalamata Olives I feel are key to the flavor of this bread so try to find some if you can.  I pit them and chop them up into little bits and add them to the dough and finish mixing it.  The olives add more hydration to the bread so don't be tempted to adjust the hydration before you add the olives.  The rest is normal bread baking stuff like proofing and shapping the bread.  I slash the bread with one long slash down the middle and bake it for 45 minutes at 460°F.  The first 30 minutes are under a roasting pan to help steam the bread and the last 15 minutes are with the pan removed so the bread will brown.  The bread has a very explosive oven spring and I have found that the only way to keep the bread from bursting out in unwanted places is the long slash down the middle.  One last note if you didn't already know Fred Bread is made by putting all of the water for the bread in the preferment so you will notice there is no water in the formula to add.

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Karniecoops's picture
Karniecoops 2012 December 21

I've made a rosemary bread, and an olive bread LD,  but have never combined the 2.  Sounds great!  Long live Fred bread :)


farinam's picture
farinam 2014 May 24

Hi Bette,

You carry on with the instructions and make the dough by adding more flour etc.  Then you treat it like any other dough with respect to shaping, proving and baking.

Good luck with your projects.


Bette 2014 May 25

Ok, done the adding the salt, rosemary, olives, flour, now resting happily smug in a warm place in the kitchen. Lid of cast iron pan serving as baking stone in oven, dough looks like its growing and smells lovely of sourdought. Now what, how long proofing, shaping etc???

farinam's picture
farinam 2014 May 25

Hi Bette,

Well you should treat it much like any other loaf of bread.  The time it takes will depend on the conditions and will range from a couple of hours if it is quite warm to overnight if it is quite cool.  It is really something that you have to do by experience as to how the dough looks and feels as to when it is ready to bake.  If it is rising in a banneton or tin you can usually go on the fullness of the container to judge the volume.

Techniques for shaping the dough into a loaf are many and varied and depend to some degree on the shape of loaf that you want to finish with and whether it is going to be free-form or tinned.  The simplest free-form is a boule (ball shape) which is achieved by rotating the dough between your cupped hands  vertical (more or less) to the bench and at the same time pushing the dough under to form a nice tight stretched skin on the loaf.  There are heaps of videos out on the web that show you different techniques of dough development and handling.

Hope your loaf comes out well.  Let us know how you go and maybe you could start your own brag (blog) to tell us about it.

Good luck with your projects.


Bette 2014 May 27

Thanks I will post some pictures when I' have moved up from giving the bread to my horse.

Evon's picture
Evon 2012 December 23
Tempting combination... Rosemary and olive. Don't mind adding bit of blue cheese!!! Will attempt this real soon! Thanks for sharing. Merry Christmas Evon
LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2012 December 24

I have made seven of them now in a short period of time.  They are being given away as gifts to family and triends.  The starter has becomes very active being used so much.  The container for the preferment is never cleaned out very well between batches and the preferment is now ready in 8 hours time.  I just have been having a ton of fun baking these the last couple of days.  I thought about Blue Cheese and we talked about it at work and thought it wouldn't be good with this bread.  This bread is very good on its own and toasting it doesn't make it better at all.  The only thing so far that was really very good with it was a soft Swiss cheese that we had at work.  We did talk at work as what to combine the bread with and you might try some salami or something like that also.  The normal stuff that I normally eat with bread doesn't help the bread but doesn't hurt it either so not your normal bread.

Evon's picture
Evon 2013 January 3

can you be exact on how long is the proofing time, please.. and do you have a picture of the crumb. information and visual will help me a lot cos i am fairly new in sourdough baking. thank you. 


LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2013 January 4

I have no picture of the crumb because the last slice was eaten yesterday.  All of the other loaves were given away as gifts.  I think I have had more complements on this bread than any other bread that I have made.  I even get people who say they done't like sourdough tell me how wonderful this bread is.

Proofing is a matter of temperature, some of the loaves I proofed overnight 8 to 12 hours.  Then there where loaves that I proofed in 4 hours.  The proofing time will be very similar to what ever loaves you are baking now.  I mostly just ignore the clock when I'm proofing and just stick my finger into the dough to see how it feels.  I have learned to gauge when the dough is ready to bake by the way it feels to my poke test.  In the summertime the proof is faster and in the wintertime the proof is slower.  I'm encouraging you to use your senses as they will help you in your baking.

Cordovez 2013 January 17

I made this bread yesterday and it's delicious.

However, it didn't hold its shape as much as I would have liked when I slashed it. It sort of deflated a bit, so I didn't get good oven spring.

Wash this over-proofing or under proofing?

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2013 January 19

I just remembered that there is another possiblity and that is the hydration is to high.  I did adjust the hydration down for me to make the bread but maybe your flour doesn;t absorb as much water as mine.  You can try putting in a little bit more flour when you mix it up to see if that helps.

Cordovez 2013 January 29

Thank you LeadDog. I think it may be a combination of three elements: 1. needs more flour, 2. more kneading, and 3. watch the proofing. I don't think I over -proofed it, if anything I may have under-prooved.

I started with a lot more starter, as I already had like 300g that was active from another bake going so I used that. Will 3 grams really be sufficient?

I'm going to have to make it again to see if I can get it right this time. Besides, someone is requesting the recipe.


janisem 2013 February 7

Looks lovely might try this you use fresh rosemary?  I have some growing in my garden, can you tell me whether it is better to dry it before using or just as it is please?  Thanks


janisem 2013 February 11

I made this the other day and it turned out really well, very tasty, I still gaze in awe at what comes out of the oven being a novice!  I used slightly less olives and found them really tricky to fold into the dough.....couldn't get the kalamata which would have made a big differnece to the taste, and just had to use what I had.  I used a pizza stone in my fan oven, adjusting the temp to 218 celcius and put a tray of ice in the bottom of the oven to create steam as I don't own a dutch oven.  I had to lay a bit ot baking paper over the top towards the end as it was starting to burn a bit on top.  My crumb was a bit tight, would a longer proofing resolve this?....I'd also add a bit more rosemary for my personal taste.  Thanks for a great recipe!

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2013 February 12

The kalamata olives added liquid to my bread which will help the bread have a more open crumb.  You might try adding a little bit more water if you can't use kalamata olives.  A roasting pan isn't a dutch oven using one might of helped with keeping the top from burning.  I think the fan oven is the main reason the top is getting burnt.  I'm glad you like it.

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2014 June 7

Bette, that looks good.  There is a thread on Fred Bread that is made with just flour, salt, and water.

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