Pane alle Olive (Olive rolls)
egg and milk free

Counter clockwise: Olive roll, dry cured, kalamata, black cerignola, Argentine alfonso, Israeli green manzanilla olives.

The Italian Baker (revised) by Carol Field described a bread on p 115 that had also been featured in a Utah newspaper years earlier. A web search for "Pane alle Olive ricetta" found many similar breads: flour, water, yeast, salt, olive oil, and olives. Sometimes milk is used as a liquid. Ms. Field's recipe uses a lot of olives (510 g olives to 500 g flour) whereas many of the Italian recipes use considerably less (150 g - 200g). Ms. Field uses Sicilian green olives, Ligurian olives (ardonio or crespi) and green olives. A fairly exhaustive search of likely olive bars and supermarkets in Palo Alto and Sunnyvale, CA turned up other varieties but not the ones Ms. Field recommended. One of the Italian recipes called for gaeta olives, also not available locally. However, an olive substitution guide recommended kalamatas for brine cured gaeta olives but no substitution for the dry cured version.

All of this seemed a bit confusing. We were trying to achieve a "fruity" olive bread, similar to the olive pugliese we got in the south of France. However, we didn't want the extra bother of making a biga (sponge), and we weren't after a sour dough. We needed to make do with the olives we could find locally, and 510 g of olives seemed too much. Ms. Field used 2/3 black and 1/3 green. Our target was 200 g olives (7 oz), but you could use more or less. Therefore, we would need about 67 g (2 1/2) ounces of green olives and the remainder in black. Only the kalamatas and manzanilla are available pitted, so pitting the other black olives was a labor of love. Per the Italian and Ms. Field's recipes, an olive slice decorates the top of each bread roll. We skipped that step, but you might want to make your rolls more festive by saving out an olive for the top..

We made 13 bread rolls and patted the remaining dough out into an 8" "pizza" or flatbread. We're sure the flatbread will make a delicious pizza; however, half of it got eaten as flatbread by visitors who loved it.

We also added sauteed garlic, not in any of the recipes surveyed. (Raw garlic in bread will deactivate yeast.) Below is Ms. Field's version of Pane alle Olive modified for the gluten free baker.

Pane alle Olive (Makes 13 rolls and an 8" diameter flatbread)
Amount (volume) Amount (weight)


1/4 Cup 60 g Warm water (120° F)
3 1/2 teaspoons 10 g Instant yeast (1 packet of yeast is about 2 1/4 teaspoons, and this is an OK substitute). Our favorite yeast is SAF.
1/2 teaspoon 2 g Sugar
4 Cup 500 g Your favorite gluten free flour. We used a mixture of bread flour and all purpose flour.
1 teaspoon 5 g Double acting baking powder
4 teaspoons 12 g Xanthan gum
1 1/4 Cup 300 g Warm water (120° F)
4 Tablespoons 56 g Sliced garlic - sauteed in a little olive oil
4 Tablespoons 55 g Olive oil
1/4 60 g Baked russet potato without the peeling (optional)
1 1/8 200 g Chopped olives (about 1/3 green and 2/3 black)
    Margarine for greasing the baking pan(s)
    Brown rice flour and/or corn meal for dusting the baking pans

This bread goes very nicely with the Trader Joe's Asiago cheese shown in the background of the picture. The cheese should be a little sweet to complement the olives. In addition, we made pizza with Muir Glen pizza sauce (our favorite) and a pizza cheese blend for the topping. Excellent pizza! It has a very dark flavor that complements the cheese and tomato sauce.