About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

« Pane di Grano Duro | Main | Piadina - Flat Griddle Bread »

Apulia's Olive Bread

OK Marcella, you got me again.

I've made non-breadmaker bread many times, albeit a few years ago. So I wasn't expecting any glitches in making my ultimate recipe for this project - figured I could whip it up the day before, take a few pics, post my report the evening before & schedule it to appear early the next morning. Easy peasy.

Pretty simple ingredients - unbleached flour, olive oil, olives, salt, yeast. Well, after all it is bread. What could be simpler?


OK, gotta make a starter - called a biga - some yeast, water, flour, olive oil. Oh, oh, it's supposed to rise 14 to 18 hours - so that's why this recipe didn't appear earlier today. Also there's a big mystery concerning the biga, which I will explain later.
The risen biga below:


The bread dough below, including water, yeast, half the biga, some of the flour, the salt, the rest of the flour, some water & the olives. I used a wooden spatula to mix the ingredients together.


One of Marcella's directions calls for occasionally lifting the dough out of the bowl with the spatula & slapping it back in. I liked that part.


After rising for a few hours, the dough is flattened and lightly kneaded. Then it is shaped into a ball and allowed to rise again under a bowl. before baking in the oven at differing degrees for about an hour.


The final result. Best olive bread I've ever made - also the first.


The biga mystery? Well, the directions call for using half of the starter at an early stage, but no mention of the other half. I read & re-read Marcella's directions several times to see if I missed something. So the final result is a very good loaf of olive bread & half of the biga.

What I liked about this recipe:

It's been a long time since I've made bread - enjoyed the experience. Also, I liked using my wooden spatula, keeping the hand kneading to a minimum.

What didn't I like about this recipe:

Two days to make a loaf of bread?

Will I make it again?

Perhaps. The final result is very good.

Comments (5)


I've found that the slapping technique works wonders in many areas of life and it held true with your bread.*wink* Looks to me like chocolate chip cookie dough but the thought of olives and olive oil in bread form? YUM. slap me for wanting to eat the entire loaf!!

thank you again Doug for all of your great posts during this amazing journey!!


GREAT photo series, Doug!


Doug, this looks so good. I may have to make this soon, now that I have gotten over my aversion to bread making.

Marcella Hazan:

Thank you for never giving up, Doug! The leftover biga? Ah, the mysteries of recipe writing. I have long since written my last one, and I don't miss it. Great bread, though, isn't it? Better than Whole Foods'.

It seems to me that the leftover biga is just what you need to start a SECOND loaf!

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