Crusty Olive Pecan Loaf

Simple meals were the daily fare in 12th century Byzantium.  Small loaves of bread, olives, nuts and sometimes fruit and vegetables in season completed the typical lunch or dinner. We combined the loaf with the olives and nuts, added a few raisins for a modern version of this delicious bread. We used olive oil and honey, readily available, in the recipe.  The bread is vegan and perfect with any meal.

1 1/2 cup warm water

3 tablespoons yeast

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoon olive oil

3 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour

2 cups bread floor

1 cup roughly chopped green and/or kalamata olives

3/4 cups chopped pecans

1 cup raisins

  1. Sprinkle yeast, honey and salt on the warm water. Let rest for 5-10 minutes, until bubbles.

  2. Add olive oil. Add flours gradually, mixing until dough comes together.

  3. Add olives, nuts and raisins. Knead until smooth.

  4. Cover with a damp cloth and place in a draft free area to rise for 1 hour or until doubled.

  5. Punch down and form into 2 medium or 3 small loaves. Place loaves on parchment lined baking sheets and let rise for another hour. Heat oven to 400 F. 

  6. Place water filled oven proof bowl or dish on the lowest rack of the oven.  Cut 3 shallow cuts in the top of each loaf.

  7. Put loaves into oven and bake for 30 minutes. For a crunchier loaf, lightly spray loaves with water after 10 minutes.

  8. Remove from oven and cook before slice.  Freezes well.

  1. All kinds of nuts: Use almonds or walnuts in place of pecans.

  2. Dried fruits: Use a combination of raisins, dried currants or cranberries

  3. More artisan: Make the loaf with a starter. Instead of 3 teaspoons yeast, use 1/4 teaspoons yeast and 1 cup prepared starter.

  4. Make it sweet: Instead of olives, use 1 cup cored, peeled and chopped apples.

  5. Make it lighter: Use all-purpose flour instead of white whole-wheat flour.

  6. Make it darker: Use whole-wheat flour instead of while whole-wheat flour.

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