SERVES 6 TO 8
David Genter, my longtime friend in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, is a very accomplished baker. Some weekends, when I least expect it, he drops by my house to deliver the most delicious breads and muffins. When I asked him to make an olive bread for this cookbook, I didn’t hear from him for several months. When he finally let me taste his masterpiece, I realized he had been hard at work perfecting it.
3 cups unbleached white flour
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
1⅝ cups water
1 teaspoon salt, or less if the olives are very salty
1 egg white, stirred together with 1 teaspoon cold water
In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, yeast, and salt thoroughly by hand. Then add the olives and mix them in. Add the water and gently mix until the flour is saturated. Cover the bowl and let rise at room temperature for 12 to 18 hours.
On a lightly floured board, fold the dough all around, tucking it under itself, to produce a tightly formed ball. Cupping your hands, roll the dough ball around on the board to seal any seams. Cover with a clean towel and set aside to rise for about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 475°F.
Transfer the loaf to a parchment-lined baking sheet. With a very sharp knife, score the loaf at regular intervals across its top. With a brush, glaze the loaf with the egg-white-and-water mixture. Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes, spritzing the oven with a spray bottle of fresh water several times during the first 10 minutes to produce a richer crust.