When I saw this Green Olive and Herb Sourdough recipe on “The Perfect Loaf“, I had to try it. If there is one thing I love more than bread, besides my wife, it is olives. All kinds whether a wrinkly oil-cured black, and purplish kalamata, to the gigantic spanish queens stuffed with bleu cheese and marinating in an extra dirty martini, they are all good.

First up is the levain, which requires 5 hours at room temperature.

olive and herb sourdough levain
First step for olive and herb sourdough is to prepare the levain

Next step is to prepare a flour and water mixture for autolysing. The basic purpose is to strengthen the dough. I’ll let Maurizo at The Perfect Loaf explain it in the link. After one hour, the levain from step one, and the water & flour mixture from step 2, are combined to form the dough. During the first hour several “stretch & folds” are completed to further build strength in the dough. During the first set, the olives and herbs are added one-quarter at a time with each turn.

autolyse flour olive and herb sourdough
autolyse flour for olive and herb sourdough

Next is bulk fermentation at room temperature, which should take up to 4 hours. After the time is up, the dough is preshaped, and left to rest for thirty-minutes. The bannetons are dusted with flour and then each boule is gently placed in with the bottom seam up. I use colorful shower caps to cover the banneton, and then they go into the refrigerator overnight. I was concerned with the degree of flattening at this step as it indicates a lack of strength in the dough.

preshape dough and prepare bannetons
Preshape dough and prepare bannetons

While the taste of the final product was outstanding, I did not get as much airiness as desirable so I am working on improving this for the next attempt. I have an article with 20 tips for decreasing the density, several of which were completed this time. One factor might have been overproofing just before baking. Unfortunately this was out of my control but as soon as I was home I got the ball rolling.