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No Knead (Olive) Bread

January 12, 2021

My mother-in-law, Ellen, gave me this recipe for olive bread over the summer. She told me it was delicious and not to be missed. Well, I finally made it this weekend for my husband who adores olive bread. And what do you know? Ellen was right. (Because mother-in-laws sometimes are . . .)

The olives give this bread a salty touch. Of course it depends on how salty your olives are. Taste them first and if you think they are too salty, soak them in water for an hour. But not me, I scooped those olives out of the brine with my hands and threw them in the measuring cup. And the bread was perfect.

This is a rustic and crusty bread that ANYONE can make. I am not really a bread baker, so if I made it its easy! Just know that when you read the directions and it says to let the dough rise for 18-24 hours, that it is NOT a typo. I actually had to call Ellen to see if it was a typo. I let it rise the 24 hours but then you still have to fiddle with it and let it rise another hour or two. I know, I know, that’s a lot of rising. But you know what? It’s truly an easy hands off recipe that is not a lot of work. It just takes a little planning.

Note: The original version of this recipe was printed in the New York Times, written by Jim Lehey, and adapted by Mark Bittman. It was one of the most poplar recipes The Times ever published. The original recipe does not call for olives so if you just want to make this bread without the olives, go for it!


No Knead (Olive) Bread

Adapted from Aysegul Sanford

For the Bread:

3 1/3 cups (430 grams) bread flour

1/2 teaspoon rapid rise active dry instant yeast

2 teaspoons kosher salt (yes, you need this even though you have olives in the bread)

1 1/3 cup (316 ml) lukewarm water from the tap (between 100º F - 110º F)

1 cup pitted and chopped kalamata olives (you can use a combination of olives if you prefer)



Mix the bread flour, active dry yeast, and kosher salt, in a large mixing bowl.

Pour in the water.

Mix the ingredients with a wooden spoon or your hands. At this point the dough will be extremely sticky. I actually used disposable gloves (which I think we all have in the house thanks to Covid-19) to mix the dough because it was that sticky. When fully mixed, add the chopped olives. Continue to mix the olives in and make sure they are evenly distributed. This could be tricky because the olives are slippery and oily.

Cover the bowl the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and place in warm spot in your kitchen. Let it rise for 18-24 hours (not a typo). One thing I’d like to mention is that at the end of the rising time you will see a thin crust developed over the bread. No worries! You will be folding the bread and it will get re-incorporated.

Lightly flour a piece of parchment paper. This will be your work surface. Gently remove the dough from the bowl and place it on the parchment. The dough will still be quite sticky. If you need to you can wet your hands and that will help with the stickiness.

Form the dough into a ball, tucking the sides of the dough under itself. Maybe even flip the ball and fold tuck the sides under again, ensuring that thin layer that was on the dough is completely incorporated. Take your dough ball on the parchment paper and put back in a warm place. Cover with the kitchen towel and let it rise again for 1-2 hours.

Towards the end of the rising time, place your dutch oven in the oven and preheat the oven to 450º F. You are pre-warming the pot

When you are ready to bake, carefully take the now very hot dutch oven out of the oven. Place the parchment with the dough on it in the pot. Put the lid on and bake covered for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, take the lid off and let the bread finish baking uncovered for an additional 20-30 minutes until the bread is golden brown.

When it comes out of the oven, remove the dough with the parchment paper and let it cool on a rack for 30-45 minutes. The cooler it is, the easier it is to cut.

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