Amanda & Merrill

Mediterranean Olive Bread

December 14, 2010

Mediterranean Olive Bread

- Merrill

The third bread recipe in this no-yeast series is special to me not just because it's great, but because it's one of the recipes I cut my teeth on. During my senior year of college, I lived off campus with two of my best friends, and for the first time we all completely signed off the campus meal plan. At the beginning of the year, I was given a copy of The Joy of Cooking -- I think by my mother, who has been responsible for some of my most formative kitchen gear. And thus began my first official foray into the kitchen. My roommates -- understandably partial to those recipes that afforded us all a full meal -- were fond of dishes like Chicken Cacciatore and Beef Stroganoff, but I often found myself drawn to the Quick Breads section. Especially when there was an exam to study for or a final paper to write.

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This section contained a well-rounded selection of both savory and sweet breads, all without yeast -- perfect for instant gratification on those late, late nights. My favorite was a tender, crumbly olive loaf flecked with rosemary that could be thrown together in mere minutes. The original recipe called for walnuts, which I omitted, opting instead to up the chopped olives a bit.

When I decided to do this series, I was reminded of this beloved olive bread, which I hadn't made in over ten years; I’m happy to say it’s just as good as I remembered. What's more, it keeps for a few days if it's well-wrapped, and it makes excellent toast.

Mediterranean Olive Bread

Adapted from The Joy of Cooking

Serves 8

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted imported olives (I used kalamata)

1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 350º F.  Grease a 6-cup loaf pan.  

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, rosemary, and salt. In a large bowl, stir together the eggs, milk and olive oil. Add the flour mixture and fold until about three quarters of the dry ingredients are moistened. Add the olives, and fold just until the pieces are distributed and the dry ingredients are moistened; the batter will be stiff.

3. Scrape the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.  Let cool in the pan on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes before unmolding to cool completely on the rack. Serve with olive oil for dipping.

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jcbookmaster January 4, 2011
Love this recipe...didn't have olives but I had some rustic olive tapenade hanging around and used that...dipped it into some EVOO with some Italian seasoning in it YUM!!!!
Merrill S. January 4, 2011
So glad you liked it -- and cool that the tapenade worked well!
mariaraynal December 28, 2010
Just printed this recipe -- am going to make it while I'm on vacation this week.
Masha December 28, 2010
I've been wanting to make this since the second you posted it, but I can only find kalamata olives in red wine vinegar. Are those ok to use, or do they need to be kalamata olives in water?
Merrill S. December 28, 2010
They should work fine. I'd just give them a good rinse before you chop them. Hope you like it!
slmaruca December 22, 2010
I made this last night in 3 mini loaf pans, to give as presents. I needed to make a dairy-free version, so I substituted 2/3 c. vegetable broth and 1/3 c. canned pumpkin for the milk, and increased the oil to 1/3 c. I also added walnuts and lemon zest. Absolutely delicious! Thanks for sharing.
Merrill S. December 28, 2010
Love your adaptations, and glad it came out well!
ziva_shabtai December 20, 2010
Great recipe!
Looks easy and tasty!
I will try this recipe... but I think with the addition of sundried tomatoes ...
I think it might improve the taste...

Merrill S. December 20, 2010
Sounds like a great addition -- let me know how it turns out!
Dina A. December 19, 2010
I think I definitely need to make this. I like the idea of adding walnuts to the mix....mmmm drizzled with olive oil and topped with slices of raw manchego.....
Merrill S. December 20, 2010
AmyW December 18, 2010
This is in the oven as I type. Taking to a friend's for dinner tonight. Can't wait to see how it comes out. Also using Pyrex. Then the blue cheese rounds go in the oven!
Merrill S. December 20, 2010
How'd it turn out?
lapadia December 15, 2010
I just made this recipe, it is quick and easy to put together. Used a Pyrex and 45 minutes was perfect baking time. It is cooling right now and the kitchen smells wonderful, an excellent sign that it will taste wonderful too, can't wait to try! Thanks for sharing this recipe, Merrill…
Merrill S. December 15, 2010
You're welcome! So glad it came out well.
Madame F. December 15, 2010
Ooo, this looks divine. I would love to smear it with goat cheese and add a drizzle of honey.
Merrill S. December 15, 2010
Great idea!
amysarah December 14, 2010
My mom used to make sandwiches with a filling of chopped black olives mixed into cream cheese when I was little. Weird thing for a small child to like, I realize - but I loved them. Anyway, I'm thinking a slice of this bread (maybe with the walnuts instead of the rosemary) might be great toasted and spread with cream cheese - or any soft creamy cheese.
Merrill S. December 15, 2010
Oh my God, those sandwiches sound like heaven.
LimeCake December 14, 2010
I adore savoury quick breads like this. The possibilites are endless, and would certainly make delicious edible gifts for Christmas!
Merrill S. December 15, 2010
Great idea! You could even make mini loaves...
TiggyBee December 14, 2010
I just made a quick bread and after seeing this, I may post it. I wish knew more in this area - Thanks Merrill! Mine was an onion and cheese one. I'll say this for it, made great toast. Who knew? An in-depth study of bread making techniques is in my future. Yeppers.
Merrill S. December 15, 2010
Yum! Sounds delish.
cbear1984 December 14, 2010
I think quickbreads are my favorite. They require the minimum amount of effort, but reward with really high satisfaction. This looks fantastic! Now, I must look at the Joy of Cooking qb section...
Merrill S. December 15, 2010
I highly recommend it. The Zucchini Cheddar Bread is another of my favorites.
Soozll December 14, 2010
The base sounds very similar to an Irish Soda Bread..sans soda! I love this idea. Thanks for featuring this. I think toasted and cut it shapes, it would be a great addition to the holiday cheese and dip offerings along with the typical crackers and bruschetta
Merrill S. December 15, 2010
Indeed, it is like soda bread. Actually, it's quite similar in taste and texture to my mother's Irish brown soda bread, which I'll share next week as a bonus (sshhh).
Sagegreen December 14, 2010
Thanks for this series, Merrill. I love this recipe, too. Rosemary is so fragrant!
Merrill S. December 15, 2010
You're welcome! So glad you like it.
mrslarkin December 14, 2010
I love me some quick breads! This sounds very yummy and fragrant, Merrill. Thanks for the recipe. Curious if you've tried this with anything other than olives?? I have many different kinds of loaf pans. But I love the 3 Cuisinart loaf pans I've recently added to my stash:
Merrill S. December 15, 2010
I haven't tried it with anything other than olives, but I think nuts would be good too. The original recipe calls for olives and walnuts.
bcnaples December 14, 2010
A good quality loaf pan matters. Another reader suggested her Calphalon pans. The correct color pan, non-shiny, dull color finish is best for even and dependable outcomes. I have a double walled Calphalon loaf pan which I love to cook meatloaf in. It browns the edges beautifully and evenly without those crusty annoying bits.
aargersi December 14, 2010
OK bcnaples and DrBabs - I will be on the lookout for calphalon loaf pans! Thanks!!!
JoanG December 14, 2010
I was just thinking of making this type of bread for a party, so will try your recipe. Thanks Merrill!
Merrill S. December 15, 2010
You're welcome!
drbabs December 14, 2010
Love this, too! (Unfortunately husband does not eat olives so will have to save for the next party.) @aargersi, I LOVE my Calphalon loaf pans-- & I got them at TJMaxx!
aargersi December 14, 2010
LOVE this and I happen to have all of the ingredients - I am tempted to add lemon zest as well. OK so are metal loaf pans better than pyrex? Do the cook more evenly and/or make a better crust? I only have pyrex but I am Christmas shopping tomorrow and could fix that situation ...
ryanm December 14, 2010
Glass tends to cook faster, so with Pyrex you may need to adjust the times a bit. But Cooks Illustrated, for what it's worth, generally likes Pyrex quite a bit in their testing.
Merrill S. December 15, 2010
I think both are fine -- just be flexible with your cooking time!