Bake

Mediterranean Olive Bread

May  9, 2021
8 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

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 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. 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. 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. 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 wrapped well, and it makes excellent toast. —Merrill Stubbs

  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Serves 8
Ingredients
  • 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)
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 350° 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 let cool completely on the rack. Serve with olive oil for dipping.

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30 Reviews

cricket23 March 27, 2021
Nice simple quickbread. For any plant-based folks out there, I subbed soy milk for milk and Bob's Red Mill egg replacer for egg with perfect results. I also added 1/4 c. walnut pieces. I agree with some about the mild flavor; if I make it again, I'll use strong olives, more rosemary, and add minced garlic!
 
Aakriti G. September 22, 2020
Hi, made this for a small get together served with some hummus and olive oil. Must say it turned out great!
 
Sandra N. May 6, 2020
this was a semi-fail. if it doesn’t work the first time, then it’s a poorly written recipe that wasn’t tested properly using a variety of kitchen equipment and conditions. i followed everything exactly, but converted all measurements to metric weights for better precision (using an online converter that considers the density of each ingredient). i baked this in a silicon loaf pan on top of a preheated baking stone in an electric convection oven with fan (so i decreased the temp by 25 degrees). it didn’t rise as in the photo above. i suspect it’s because the recipe calls for the wrong sized loaf pan. in the above photos of the cooking process, the recipe writer was clearly using 4-cup loaf pan and NOT a 6-cup loaf pan as indicated in the recipe. i have both kinds and when i measured the pans’ volume contents, i had doubts about the need for a 6-cup loaf pan. i’ll try baking this again this weekend with the 4-cup, with other ingredients added for more flavor because as written, the resulting quickbread was really boring and bland. so disappointed.
 
cricket23 March 27, 2021
This reminds me of reviews that change ingredients and then trash the results. A recipe-writer can't test for all equipment and conditions. If I stray from the norm, I feel responsible for my own experimentation. You used a silicone pan AND a convection oven AND a baking stone, any one of which could affect the rise. I used a 6-cup loaf pan and my bread rose quite high. Common culprit: expired baking powder. Re converting recipe amounts for "better precision": It's just a quickbread, and conversion weights vary; you're not likely to get more precise than using the amounts as written. Sorry you didn't have success with this recipe.
 
Sandra N. May 6, 2020
this was a semi-fail. if it doesn’t work the first time, then it’s a poorly written recipe that wasn’t tested properly using a variety of kitchen equipment and conditions. i followed everything exactly, but converted all measurements to metric weights for better precision (using an online converter that considers the density of each ingredient). i baked this in a silicon loaf pan on top of a preheated baking stone in an electric convection oven with fan (so i decreased the temp by 25 degrees). it didn’t rise as in the photo above. i suspect it’s because the recipe calls for the wrong sized loaf pan. in the above photos of the cooking process, the recipe writer was clearly using 4-cup loaf pan and NOT a 6-cup loaf pan as indicated in the recipe. i have both kinds and when i measured the pans’ volume contents, i had doubts about the need for a 6-cup loaf pan. i’ll try baking this again this weekend with the 4-cup, with other ingredients added for more flavor because as written, the resulting quickbread was really boring and bland. so disappointed.
 
OldGrayMare April 3, 2020
ZERO flour (of ANY kind, whole or otherwise) on our shelves. I do have AP unbleached. Can i use only that?
 
sue October 25, 2018
Tasted good, but didn't brown much on top...came out very beige.
 
emanne April 25, 2018
wow I did not find this good at all. Completely tasteless, did not taste the rosemary at all, very disappointed. And I don't think my oven was too hot: I took it out of the oven before a toothpick came out clean since it had been in the oven longer than the recipe indicated (seemed wayyyy too doughy before then). Will not be making this again.
 
De V. April 5, 2020
You have to try more than once it will Not be perfect the first time. Altitude, humidity so many different factors.
 
ghainskom June 28, 2014
I made this to my boss's bbq party and it was a big hit. No crumbles left. I brought the walnuts back into play with 50g.
 
Manhattan T. February 22, 2014
This is beyond fabulous with a glass of wine and will make you look like a HERO if you bring it to a friend as a munchie or hostess gift. I chucked in a few Tbs. of sauteed pancetta and a few handfuls of whatever cheese I had in the drawer (maybe Parm?). Instead of milk I used buttermilk. Also tossed in a generous pinch of cayenne. This is wonderful! Freezes great, too!
 
Emilia September 23, 2013
This is simply delicious--and SO simple to make. The consistency is that of a cake. It's a surprise, because you bite into its softness and are rewarded with the taste of delicious olives!
 
Adam E. February 2, 2012
I have a big exam coming up, so took a study break and baked this at 10 PM last night. It's my first time baking any kind of bread, and I think I'm hooked! Thanks for another great recipe.
 
Betsy January 14, 2012
Love this! Made it to serve with dinner a few nights ago, and it was delicious. Lots of flavor for very little effort.
 
guy.molnar September 28, 2011
Completely bewildered - I found this dry and surprisingly tasteless.
 
Author Comment
Merrill S. September 28, 2011
Sorry to hear it wasn't to your liking -- any chance your oven runs hot, and it over-baked?
 
VeggieQueen August 29, 2011
I just made this, amazing! I used half and half for the flours because I live in Spain and the wholewheat flour isn´t very wholewheaty. I used big fat green olives that had been marinated in garlic. Its so light! Thanks a lot!
 
Author Comment
Merrill S. August 29, 2011
You're welcome! So glad you liked it.
 
wssmom June 24, 2011
I love this recipe!
 
Author Comment
Merrill S. June 25, 2011
Thank you!
 
boulangere June 5, 2011
Made several loaves of this last week using a Mediterranean olive blend (both green and black in a heady, heavily herbed marinade). It is the best quick break I have ever tasted. The addition of the WW flour gives it a texture closer to a yeasted bread. Brilliant.
 
rmll22 May 29, 2011
Instead of wheat flour, can i use bread flour?
 
boulangere May 29, 2011
I don't see why not. It has a bit less protein (gluten) than WW flour, so you might want to use a little more, say 1 full cup.
 
susan G. May 29, 2011
Comparing bread flour to all purpose flour, there is more gluten in the bread flour, which is good for a yeast bread where the development of elastic gluten strands traps the gases from the growing yeast. In quick breads like this, bread flour is usually not recommended because the gluten may toughen the dough. Even AP flour should be handled gently, ie mixed lightly, not beaten. If you don't use whole wheat flour, I think AP is more suitable as a substitute. The directions in step 2 are important to get a tender crumb.
 
boulangere June 1, 2011
Protein contents of WW flour: 14-14.5 %; bread flour 12-12.5 %; AP flour 10-10.5%. The higher protein content of either WW BF give this bread its perfect, more breadlike consistency. We made 4 loaves of it today to serve with lunch. The flavor is breathtaking, and the consistency kept it from being crumbly as quick breads can be. Thank you, Merrill.

 
zest I. May 20, 2011
I make a version of this bread that adds some rolled oats and honey to the batter....in the dozens of times I've made it, I've always intended the bread for sandwiches, but the loaf never lasts long enough. It's delicious!
 
isabelita January 14, 2011
I love this delicious bread and its quick, however I prefer a bit more salt and plan to use 1 teaspoon of salt instead of 1/2. Thanks for sharing.
 
TheWimpyVegetarian January 5, 2011
I made 2 loaves of this wonderful bread tonight. It's easy, delicious and I love the tender crumb. I'm serving the bread with a lunch I'm doing Thursday. I waited until the loaves completely cooled and then cater-wrapped. Any tips beyond that??
 
aargersi January 14, 2011
what's cater-wrapped? I made these for my neighbors for Christmas and gifted with fresh picked herb O&V for dipping - they loved it!!!
 
TheWimpyVegetarian January 14, 2011
It just means completely wrapping something in plastic in 2 different directions very snugly. The term comes from caterers as it's how they wrap everything to be transported to a client location. All worked out in the end and the bread was great. I LOVE your idea of teaming this with a dipping oil for a gift! GREAT idea!!!!!