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Artisan green olive sourdough bread is airy and chewy, has a signature crispy crust, and is loaded with tangy green olives for a Mediterranean flair. |

Artisan Green Olive Sourdough Bread

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5 from 4 reviews

  • Author: Sam | Ahead of Thyme
  • Total Time: 7 hours 35 minutes (at least)
  • Yield: one 6x6-inch loaf
  • Diet: Vegan


Artisan green olive sourdough bread is airy and chewy, has a signature crispy crust, and is loaded with tangy green olives for a Mediterranean flair.


  • 60 grams sourdough starter
  • 300 grams all-purpose flour (2 cups)
  • 30 grams whole wheat flour (1/4 cup)
  • 220 grams water
  • 8 grams salt
  • 1/2 cup green olives, pitted and sliced


Prepare the Starter (6 hours rise time):

  1. If your sourdough starter is not ready to go, and is stored in the fridge, take it out and feed it 12 hours in advance. Discard half of the old starter and add 50 grams all-purpose flour and 50 grams water. Let it rise for 6 hours or until doubled in size.
  2. Take out a spoonful of new starter and drop it into a glass of room-temperature water. If it floats, the starter is ready. If it sinks, you either need to let the starter sit longer to develop more bubbles, or feed it again and let it sit until it passes the float test (usually 6–12 hours).

Prepare the Dough (1 hour rise time):

  1. In a large mixing bowl, add sourdough starter, all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, and water, and whisk to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl (there should be no dry flour particles visible). Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for one hour. The technique is called autolyse.
  2. Add salt and fold into the dough for a few seconds to combine. Salt slows down yeast growth in the fermentation process, so it is recommended to incorporate it after allowing the dough to rise for an hour first.

Stretch and Fold the Dough (1 hour 30 minutes rise time):

  1. Apply some water on your hands and stretch and fold the dough in the bowl by folding the edges over to the centre, one edge at a time. Wet hands makes it easier to work with the dough and it should take you less than a minute to fold all 4 sides. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Fold in the olives and stretch and fold the dough again, cover, and let dough rest for another 30 minutes. Repeat this step one final time -- stretch and fold the dough, cover, and let it rest for 30 minutes, until it almost doubles in size. It takes about 2.5 hours total rise time from the start for the first rise to happen (bulk fermentation).

Shape the Dough (3 hours final proofing time):

  1. Transfer dough to a floured surface and sprinkle dough with a little flour. Shape the dough into a tight ball by folding the edges over to the centre. Stretch the dough a little and fold all four sides to the centre like wrapping a present. Turn the dough over and use your bench scraper to push the dough back and forth to create a tight ball. Repeat this motion until the surface of the dough appears tight.
  2. Line a medium-sized bowl (approximately 6x6-inches in diameter) with a clean dishcloth. Generously flour the dishcloth so that the dough doesn't stick to the dishcloth. Place the ball of dough top side down into the lined bowl. Cover the bowl with a lid or another towel so that the dough won’t lose moisture and dry out.
  3. Let the dough rest at room temperature for approximately 3 to 3.5 hours (OR transfer the bowl into the refrigerator and let the dough rest overnight for 8 to 12 hrs).

Score the Dough:

  1. Remove the bowl from the refrigerator and place it upside down onto the centre of a 9x9-inch piece of parchment paper.
  2. Use a razor blade to score the dough to allow it to expand during baking. You can get creative with your design.
  3. Place the dough together with parchment paper back into the same medium size bowl and cover with a towel until the oven is preheated. 

Bake the Sourdough Bread:

  1. Place a small oven-safe cooking pot (6x6-inches) with a metal lid into the oven and preheat to 450° F.
  2. Take out the parchment paper and dough from the bowl and gently place them both into the preheated pot. Cover the lid and bake for 30 minutes.
  3. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and continue to bake the bread uncovered in the oven for another 20 more minutes.
  4. Remove the bread from the pot, and take off the parchment paper. Allow the bread to cool down completely on a cooling rack for one hour.  To check if the bread is done, you can tap the bottom of the bread with your finger. The bread will sound hollow when it's are done. 


How to make sourdough starter. You make sourdough starter with a combination of flour and water. It takes about 7 days to create a mature starter. Learn how in my sourdough starter guide which includes the top frequently asked questions.

Always use a fully mature sourdough starter. Otherwise, your bread will not rise as it is supposed to. A lively and mature sourdough smells yeasty and a bit fruity. You can check that your starter is ready by dropping a teaspoon of starter in a cup of water and see if it floats. This is known as the float test.

Pat-dry the olives. You want to pat-dry the olives so that you don't introduce extra water to the dough and change its water hydration content. The drier the olives, the better.

Overnight proofing in the refrigerator vs. proofing at room temperature. You can let the dough rise at room temperature instead of overnight in the fridge. The dough will rise much faster at room temperature. Depending on the conditions, it will rise in about 3 to 3.5 hours. You can check if it's ready with a poke test: simply poke the dough with your finger. If it springs back up right away, then it's not ready. If it springs back up slowly, then the dough is ready. If it doesn't spring back at all, then it is over proofed.

Do not over proof the dough. Over proofing breaks down gluten in dough and makes dough sticky and slack. The dough will not rise, but instead will be flat and taste more sour. You can prevent this by letting the dough rise at a cooler temperature (such as in the refrigerator overnight). 

How to make a double batch. You can double the recipe and bake in a bigger pot or dutch oven. Or, you can double the recipe into two separate batches and make two loaves. 

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes (+ at least 5.5 hours rising time + 1 hour cooling time)
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American