Mediterranean Olive Bread

December 21, 2010

Test Kitchen-Approved

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

Serves: 8
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 45 min


  • 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


  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.

More Great Recipes:
Bread|American|Mediterranean|Grains|Milk/Cream|Olive|One-Bowl Baking|Bake|Quick and Easy|Weeknight Cooking|Breakfast|Finger Food

Reviews (23) Questions (2)

23 Reviews

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.
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!
MrsK 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!<br />
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?<br />
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.<br /><br />
zest I. May 20, 2011
I make a version of this bread that adds some rolled oats and honey to the 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!!!!!