Monday, September 27, 2010

Pane all'Olive--Olive Bread

Pane all'Olive--Olive Bread

Several recipes in Jim Lahey's "My Bread" book have grabbed my attention.  Just looking at this olive bread recipe got my kalamata olive cravings going.  After a week of the cravings, this loaf just screamed "make me!"

For this bread, I used an 11.5 jar of kalamata olives.  It was just short of the amount in the recipe, but I wasn't going to go back to the store for another jar.  It was just enough, in my opinion.

Of  course, it was a very wet and easy to mix dough.     Here's a shot of the dough, after 5 hours of rising.  Notice the nice bubbles forming!

After quite a bit of research, I bought a 3.5qt Tramontina enameled cast iron dutch oven.  The 6qt size was just too heavy for me, even without the dough inside.  Mr. Lahey must be very strong, as he suggests the larger pots!  For this first use, the knob was covered in foil because it wasn't oven safe at 450 degrees.  Since then, the knob was replaced with a stainless steel knob.
The First Use of My Tramontina Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven!!!

The Pot, After it Was Seasoned...

Using my new enameled cast iron pot was really exciting.  I did a test where I tried to make a similar bread without a cast iron pot. Jim Lahey recipe--testing different baking methods.
The results varied when Corningware and a baking stone were used. So I was excited to try Jim Lahey's suggested method.

Although the recipe called for the bread to be baked at 500 degrees, my pot is ovensafe to 450 degrees.  My Ove Glove mits are ovensafe to 450 degrees.  Cooking at 500 degrees and manipulating a pot can have some anxiety.  So the temperature used was 450 degrees.  

The bread was just great, but it probably needs to be baked a bit longer at 450 degrees.  Although the digital thermometer registered that the bread was done, it was a bit gummy in the middle.  I'll have to make sure to take the temperature reading in the middle next time.

Definitely a "keeper" recipe, and it filled my olive craving!  I already have my eye on his walnut bread recipe....

Jim Lahey's Recipe, Pane all'Olive

 Handwise tips:  If you have hand pain, tendonitis, or arthritis or any other pain issues and want to make this recipe,
Using my Vidalia Chop Wizard
great measurements!
  1. Rather than chop the olives on a cutting board or cutting them with a scissors, I used my Vidalia Chop Wizard. I can press down on the grid of blades (see extra blade grid on top of my dough bucket) with my whole forearm and chop a nice amount of olives into the container.  Using my whole forearm gives me more strength.  The container has markings for cups, and comes apart easily.  The Chop Wizard soaks in my dough bucket, after use, for easier cleaning.     
  2. Soak all your tools in your empty dough bucket or a pan when you are finished using them.   That way, you can wash them easily later (or tomorrow!)  Give yourself the permission of time to clean up much later.

Thanks for stopping by to visit! I hope you will leave a comment below. I read every comment, and really appreciate your feedback.   And come back soon, I'll be baking again often.



  1. Thanks for all the great tips. I use a Corningware pot and have been please with the results.
    The bread looks fantastic.

  2. Thanks, Elwood. Knowing my kitchen "adventures," you can understand why I'll be using the cast iron. Glad you like the Corningware.