Pane alle Olive – Italian Olive Bread
This bread is primarily made in southern Italy and on the islands of Sicily and Sardegna. Its unique capability for remaining fresh for long periods of time makes this bread a favorite in the warmer areas of the country. The high percentage of olive oil and the oil released by the olives during the cooking process helps preserve this bread for long periods of time.
Prepared all year long in southern Italy, olive bread gains popularity during the Easter season in the North. It is a great compliment to the lamb and fish dishes prepared for the holiday feast. Should some of the bread not be consumed during the meal, something highly unlikely, place it in a paper bag. It will maintain its freshness for several weeks.
200 g. Biga
1 teaspoon (7 g.) active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
Note: you can make this bread without Biga, to do so increase the amount of active dry yeast to 3 ½ teaspoons (24 g.)
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup warm water
12 oz. (350 g.) pitted olives washed and drained (black or green as desired)
3 ¾ cups (500 g.) unbleached all-purpose flour (additional for kneading process)
1 ½ teaspoons (8 g.) salt
Dissolve the sugar in the warm water. While stirring add the yeast to the water. Let sit for 10 minutes until the mixture is creamy.
Place the Biga in a mixing bowl. Pour the water-yeast over the Biga and mix with a metal spoon. Mix the salt with the flour. Pour the flour over the Biga. Add the olive oil and pitted olives. Mix with a dough hook for 8-10 minutes.
Finish kneading by hand. Add flour as needed. Place in a large oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled. This will take about 2 hours.
Shaping and Second Rise:
Cut into 16 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and place 8 rolls, forming the circumference of a circle, on an oiled baking pan about 1 ½ inches apart. Repeat with the remaining balls on a second pan. Cover with a damp towel and allow to rise for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until medium brown. Cool on racks.
Italian Olive Bread Bread Food and Wine Italy