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Kalamata Olive Bread

(recipe, Anna Conley)

Introduction This is Lou Preston’s favorite bread. The trick is to use plenty of olives and the right combination of herbs to please your taste. Go easy on the lavender, as it can over­power the other flavors. Serve this bread with a full-bodied red wine such as Zinfandel.


  1. ¾ to 1 cup sourdough starter
  2. 7 cups unbleached flour
  3. 2⅞ cups ice water
  4. ⅓ to ½ lb. Kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
  5. 1501202878189917/9007199254740992 cup fresh herbs including rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano and lavender


  1. Combine the starter, flour and water, and mix for 2 minutes. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes. Add the salt and knead for 3 minutes. Add the olives and herbs and knead for 2 minutes longer.
  2. Refrigerate, covered, for 2–3 hours, then set the dough out at room temperature for 7–8 hours to rise. Punch down the dough and knead briefly. Divide the dough in two and place each piece in a greased loaf pan. Let it rest for 1 hour longer.
  3. Preheat the oven to 450°F with a pan of water on the lower oven shelf. Bake about 30 minutes or until golden brown, removing the pan of water after 10 minutes. Set the loaves on a rack to cool.