Prep 25 mins
Cook 35 mins
Customarily, the bread includes mint, but because that herb doesn’t take well to a hot oven, here it is replaced with another of Cyprus’s fabulous crops: lemon.
- 1 cup warm water
- 1⁄2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast (1 pkg.)
- 3 1⁄2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for the work surface
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 cup olive oil, plus extra for coating the loaf and the baking sheet
- 1 tablespoon chopped lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 1⁄2 cups Greek olives, preferably oil cured, pitted (9 ounces)
- Stir together the water and sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and set aside until bubbly, 15 minutes.
- Place the 3 1/2 cups flour and salt in a large bowl and mix with a fork. Make a well in the center and add the 1/4 cup oil, the zest, garlic, olives, and yeast mixture. Stir together until fairly well mixed; then use your hands to knead the mixture into a crumbly ball.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until it is smooth and elastic and no longer sticky, 10 minutes. Lightly bush the dough with oil, cover it with a cloth, and set it aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.
- Lightly grease a baking sheet with oil. Punch down the dough and knead it again for 1 minutes. Pat the dough into a ball and flatten it slightly to make a round about 6 inches in diameter. Place the dough round on the prepared baking sheet and set it aside in a warm place until doubled in bulk again, about 1 1/2 hours.
- When ready to bake the bread, preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Place the bread in the oven and bake until quite golden, 30 minutes. Brush the top and sides of the loaf liberally with oil and continue baking until browned and hollow sounding when tapped, 5 minutes more.
- Remove the bread from the oven and cool on the baking sheet until ready to serve.
- VARIATION: Olive Cheese Bread: Olive Garlic Bread easily turns into another Cypriot loaf, a cheese and olive bread. Omit (or leave in) the garlic and lemon zest and add 1 cup grated cheese, preferably Cypriot haloumi.
- THE NONTRADITIONAL CHOICE:.
- While it is easier to use Kalamata olives (they are readily available and can be bought pitted), traditionally Cypriotic olive breads use only oil-cured or oil-and-salt-brined olives, never those that are cured even partly in vinegar, as Kalamatas are. Cyprus produces both green and black olives, plump to wrinkled, cured in numerous ways. Using Kalamata olives for the olive flatbread, the taste of the bread, while slightly tarter than the traditional, is still excellent.
- Adventures In Greek Cooking.