Raise your hand if you’ve ever thrown away the juice from a jar of olives. I’m guilty of it myself. But I’m here to tell you we’ve been doing it all wrong. That briny, salty liquid actually has incredible flavor and will add extra oomph when added to dishes. It’s just three ingredients ― salt, vinegar and water ― but as it marinates with the olives, it takes on a deep, intense olive flavor.
This leftover juice is great stirred into martinis, added to marinara sauce, tossed into a homemade vinaigrette or even used as a delicious marinade for chicken. But for all those olive lovers out there, I have a new one for you. I’ve figured out a way to incorporate the brine into homemade bread by using it as a replacement for some of the water in the dough.
And guess what? It requires no kneading, so it’s basically foolproof, even for an amateur baker.
This recipe is a variation on Jim Lahey’s infamous no-knead bread from Sullivan Street Bakery. You start by stirring together all-purpose flour, instant yeast and salt. It’s important to note that we’re using instant yeast – not active dry. Instant yeast does not need to be bloomed first (the process of dissolving dry yeast with warm water to activate it). Instant yeast can be mixed right into dry ingredients, making this recipe even easier.
Next, you mix together some of that olive brine with warm water, and slowly incorporate it into the dry mixture to create a shaggy dough. I also like to throw in some chopped olives to make it a double olive bread.
After that comes the hardest part of this whole recipe – you wait.
Let the dough sit, covered, for 12 to 18 hours. I know it seems like an impossibly long time, but it’s going to be worth it. You’ll know your dough is coming together when its doubled in size and you can see tiny little air bubbles on top (see above).
After the long wait, transfer the dough to a preheated Dutch oven and let the magic happen. Less than one hour later, you’ll have crusty-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside, beautiful homemade olive bread.
Double Olive Bread
Makes 1 loaf
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped olives
1/4 cup olive brine from a jar of olives
1 1/4 cups warm water
1. In a large bowl stir together flour, yeast, salt and chopped olives.
2. Combine olive juice with warm water and slowly stir into dry ingredients until a shaggy dough is formed. If dough seems too dry, add a little more water, one tablespoon at a time, until dough is barely wet throughout.
3. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in warm place, and let it rise for at least 12 hours but preferably 18 hours.
4. Place a large piece of parchment paper on counter. Generously flour the parchment paper. Use rubber spatula to turn dough on surface – it will be loose and sticky – this is what you want.
5. Flour hands and gently lift the edges of the dough in toward the center, folding the dough over onto itself to create a round shape. Cover with kitchen towel again and let rise for another 1½ to 2 hours.
6. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Place large Dutch oven in oven while it preheats (about 30 minutes).
7. Remove hot pan from oven. Lift the parchment paper/dough into the hot pot. Cover with lid and put back in oven. Bake for 30 minutes.
8. Uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until outside is golden brown and crispy.
9. Let cool to room temperature before serving.