Rosemary Bread with Walnuts and Olives

Winnie Abramson, ND

By Winnie Abramson, ND


Making homemade bread is something I have been doing sporadically for many years. I’ve made all different types and I’ve found that even though they require patience, variations on sourdough consistently yield the best results. This makes me happy because I really enjoy the process of making sourdoughs. I also love the flavor complexity of sourdough, and I feel these breads are generally healthier than yeast-based breads (because the fermentation process makes the grains more digestible).

This rosemary bread with olives and walnuts is adapted from the recipe for Acme’s Herb Slabs in Artisan Bread Across America by Maggie Glezer. I changed the recipe by adding the olives and walnuts, and I baked it into two true loaves. It came out fabulous.

Rosemary is a perennial herb that is generally easy to grow in a sunny spot in the garden. Medicinally, it is said to be good for the nervous system and for the circulation. It is also useful cosmetically; a strong tea can be used as a skin and hair rinse. Rosemary is high in volatile oils and has a wonderful aroma and flavor when it is used in recipes.

Rosemary Bread with Walnuts and Olives
adapted from the recipe for Acme’s Herb Slabs in Artisan Bread Across America by Maggie Glezer
Makes 2 loaves

This bread starts with a “poolish”. A poolish is a type of starter that contains just a bit of yeast. In this case, it is a very tiny amount. Start your poolish in the evening so it can ferment while you are sleeping, then plan to make the bread the next day. Make sure to read the recipe through so you have an idea of when you’ll need to be available to work on the bread. It’s not a ton of hands on time that is needed, but it’s probably best make this day when you are generally home (weekend day, perhaps).

Make the Poolish:
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 cup water (110 )
2 cups unbleached organic all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups lukewarm water

Whisk the yeast and the 1 cup water together. Allow to stand for 5 minutes. Take 1/4 cup of this yeasted water and add it to the flour. Add the lukewarm water and mix. You will end up with a “very gloppy batter”.



Cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and let it ferment for 12 hours overnight, or until its bubbles are popping and the top is starting to foam.


Make the Bread:
3 cups organic unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tb. salt
1 Tb. fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
1/4 tsp. instant yeast
3/4 cup lukewarm water
2 Tb. olive oil
Fermented poolish
1 cup mixed olives, pitted and chopped
1 cup walnuts, toasted in a 325 degree oven for 10 minutes, then cooled and chopped

Using a stand mixer, combine the flour, salt, rosemary and yeast in the mixing bowl. Add the water and oil to the poolish, stir to loosen it, and pour it into the flour mixture. Using the dough hook, mix on low speed until a rough dough forms. Cover and let it rest for 10 minutes.

After the dough has rested, add the olives and continue to mix until it is very smooth (about 5 minutes).


Take the dough out of the mixing bowl onto a floured surface, flatten it out with your hands, and sprinkle it with the walnuts. Knead the bread by hand until all of the walnuts are incorporated.


Wash and dry your mixing bowl. Rub it with olive oil, place your bread dough in, and cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth. Let it ferment until light and doubled in bulk, about 6 hours.

After the dough has risen, punch it down and divide into two equal portions. Knead each ball a bit more, and then “round the loaves” (translation: cup your hands around the dough and rotate it in circles until a smooth ball forms”). Place your dough balls onto an oiled cookie sheet (or one that is lined with parchment paper and has been sprinkled with cornmeal).

Allow to rise for about 1 hour; preheat the oven to 400°F. about 30 minutes into this rising.

Slash the loaves 3-4 times with a serrated knife before you put them in the oven, and allow to bake for 30-40 minutes, or until well-browned and hollow sounding when you knock on the bottom. Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes on a wire rack before slicing.

Alternatively, if you have a baking stone and don’t mind baking your loaves separately, place the stone in the oven before you heat it and clear all racks above the one you are using. When the oven is hot, sprinkle the baking stone with cornmeal, slash the top of your loaf, and place on top of your baking stone. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Repeat with the other loaf.


Related recipes I think you might enjoy:
Homemade Oatmeal Bread from Healthy Green Lifestyle
Poolish Foccacia from VeganYumYum
Intro to Bread Baking from Baking 911

WHB3-1This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging, an event managed by Haalo from Cook Almost Anything. This week’s host is Chris from Mele Cotte!

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