Green olive and rye sourdough

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My weekly ritual of making at least a couple of sourdough loaves always fills me with excitement…..not to mention an almost uncontrollable urge to slice into the freshly baked bread!

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Updated March 2020: new photos

Costing pennies to make – a far cry from those very expensive sourdough loaves you can buy – and much tastier, it really is not that difficult to make sourdough loaves, once you have a starter.




How to make and handle sourdough

My post on sourdoughs, detailing how to make and maintain a starter, as well as guidelines for handling the dough, shaping and scoring is here.

About this recipe

This is a fairly standard sourdough recipe, with just a few easy changes to the basic sourdough recipe given at my recipe link above:

  • a mixture of ale and water
  • a blend of strong white plain flour and wholemeal flour

I used the “stretch and fold” method (detailed in the recipe), but this does, of course, work well with kneading if you prefer that.

Recipe: green olive & rye sourdough: makes 2

  • 700g strong plain white flour
  • 80g rye flour
  • 200g active starter, having been fed earlier
  • 200ml ale
  • 280ml cool water
  • 12g fine salt
  • about 200g green olives, pitted

(1) Make up the dough as in the recipe here and then cover it and leave for between about 12 hours and 48 hours in the fridge for the bulk fermentation: it will rise a bit and might seem a bit slack but it will have developed an outstanding flavour. The longer you can leave it, the tangier the flavour.

(2) Turn out the dough onto a surface that has been lightly dusted with fine semolina and/or rice flour and give it a couple of stretchs and folds to tighten it up again (see my above post link for stretching and folding). Cut in two equal pieces and gently pat out into two rectangles.

(3) Scatter about 100g chopped green olives over each piece of dough and lightly pat onto the dough.

(4) Roll up the dough and pop them into bannetons that have been dusted literally with either rice flour or fine semolina (or a mixture of both).

(5) Pop them in a large plastic bag or bin liner, and leave to rise at room temperature until about a 50% increase in volume: this can take anywhere between 3 hours and 8 hours depending on the room temperature. The dough will expand significantly further in the oven.

(6) Preheat the oven to its highest setting and when it has come to temperature, turn the dough out onto hot skillets or baking trays. Score the dough with a sharp blade and bake for about 10 minutes at this temperature before turning the oven down to 220C(fan) for a further 30-40 minutes until it is as dark as you like it: you can get away with 30 more minutes for a lighter finish but can even go to about 50 more minutes if you want it darker.

NB: the guidelines for turning out and baking are as in my “making sourdoughs” post linked above.


Author: Philip

Finalist on Britain’s Best Home Cook (BBC Television 2018). Published recipe writer with a love of growing fruit & veg, cooking, teaching and eating good food.

2 thoughts on “Green olive and rye sourdough”

  1. I wonder if this might be an appropriate time to confess – I think I’ve managed to kill off my starter – it was doing so well …..


    1. Oh no: shockingly murderous! Although discard all but a couple of tablespoons and mix 100g each flour and water. Then following day, discard half and repeat: it may well be ressurected….

      But I can give you like some more starter if that doesn’t work


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