Italian Olive Bread with Rosemary and Sun Dried To…


I haven’t done a bread with olives for quite a while and while searching TFL, I came across this one from Dab. The loaf looked amazing and the crumb is to die for. Dab was super helpful and answered all of my questions. So I owe him a big thank you for that!

The recipe is his (scaled to make 3 loaves) and I tried to follow it to the best of my ability with the ingredients I had available. He used 3 types of starters but I only had two available to me so my bread was adapted to that. Be aware that the prep was a bit onerous especially when I make 4 batches of this but if my bread turns out half as well as his, I will be thrilled. Here goes:


Makes 3 loaves

632 g of unbleached flour

194 g of durum semolina

60 g of soft wheat berries

30 g each of barley flakes, spelt berries, einkorn berries, kamut berries, rye berries, hulless oat groats, red fife berries and farro berries.

625 g of water

22 g pink Himalayan salt

390 g of mixed levain (sourdough and peach/apple yeast water – Procedure in recipe)

234 g olives (Kalamata and black ripe olives, sliced)

40 g sun dried tomatoes

2 g fresh rosemary


  1. Sourdough starter: A few days before you plan to make your dough, get your sourdough starter going if it is in the fridge by feeding it 1:1:1 water and flour/bran/whatever makes it happy. I started using unbleached flour but once I had milled my grains, I fed it the bran. I also fed it twice a day. You will need 25 g of this for the seed amount.
  2. Yeast Water starter: At the same time, refresh your yeast water by removing the old fruit and feeding it some fresh fruit and leaving it room temperature until it has bubbles at the top. Dab advised me to add a bit of sugar and some honey if it didn’t get going strongly. Mine fizzed within a few hours so I didn’t add the honey or the sugar. Once it fizzed, I put a few tablespoons of the YW into a container and added unbleached flour to make like a thick pancake batter. I left this overnight. In the morning, it was nice and bubbly so I fed it again some YW and more flour. You will need 25 g of this for the second seed amount.

The day before:

  1. Run the durum semolina through a grain mill to turn it into flour. Reserve in a tub.
  2. Run all of the grains separately through the mills and sift out the bran. Save the bran for feeding the seed starters or for another use. 
  3. Measure out 16 g of the sifted flour from the soft wheat berries and add to the tub
  4. Measure out 8 g of the sifted flour from remaining grains and add to the tub.
  5. Mix the remaining sifted flours together and save in a separate container to do the builds of the levain.
  6. Add the unbleached flour to the tub and mix. Cover and reserve.


  1. About 12 hours or so before mixing your dough, do the levain builds.
  • First build: Take 25 g of sourdough starter and 25 g of YW starter. Add 50 g of filtered water and 50 g of high extraction flour. Let rise for 4 hours at room temp (73-74F).
  • Second build: Add another 50 g each of filtered water and high extraction flour to the levain and let rise 4 hours. It should have doubled.
  • Third build: Add 76 g  each of filtered water and high extraction flour and let rise 4 hours.
  • Yes, I got up in the middle of the night to pamper the levain. ?

Dough Making Day

  1. Mix the water with the flours in the tub and autolyse for one hour. The dough was surprisingly not as sticky as what I usually deal with.
  2. While the dough is autolysing (is that a word?), chop the sun dried tomatoes and rehydrate them in hot water. Drain and squeeze out the water after an hour. 
  3. Chop the fresh rosemary finely with a mezzaluna.
  4. Measure out the olives.
  5. Add the salt and the levain and do “3 sets each of 30 slaps and folds and 4 stretch and folds on 30 minute intervals with the olives, sun dried tomatoes and rosemary going in during the first set of stretch and folds.” -Dab. By the way, you will lose a few olives during the process and having four legged apprentices around really helps. ? The dough felt quite billowy at the second set of folds so I did the last two sets very gingerly. Dough temp by the last fold was 75.4F. Then I left it alone for only 30 minutes as opposed to Dab’s one hour because my kitchen is warmer than his and the dough definitely looked ready. 
  6. Divide the dough into 3 equal portions of about 745 g and do a quick pre-shape. Let rest 10 – 15 minutes and then do a final shape, and place seam side down in rice floured baskets. I used stitching and rolling top to bottom as well as spinning the dough like a top to shape. I was careful not to degas the dough.
  7. Cover and place into the fridge to proof overnight. This ended up being 17-18 hours. 

Baking Day

  1. The next morning, heat the oven to 475F with the dutch ovens inside for at least 45 minutes. Place rounds of parchment paper in the bottom of the pots, and gently place the dough seam side up inside. The boules looked liked they had risen quite a bit overnight and were quite soft so I was very afraid that they overproofed. 
  2. Cover the pots and bake the loaves at 450 F for 25 minutes, remove the lids, (yep, overproofed again as there was not much oven spring ?), drop the temperature to 425F, and bake for another 22 minutes.

I suppose they could be worse. I am definitely having a problem with overproofing in the fridge with my last few bakes. I did test the temp and at 38F, it shouldn’t be happening. I may need to rethink my methods. 

Just as an aside, no yogurt or flax in this one! I don’t remember when I last made Sourdough without those ingredients!

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Post Author: MNS Master