Rustic Olive Rolls

Makes 6 rolls



  • ¹⁄₁₆ tsp instant yeast
  • 1 cup (4½ oz) bread flour
  • ½ cup (4 oz) cool water


  • all of starter
  • ½ cup (4 oz) lukewarm water
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups (9 oz) unbleached bread flour
  • ¾ cup pitted and chopped olives, wrung dry in a dish towel

Special Equipment

  • tea towel or linen towel
  • baking stone


Make Starter:

  1. Mix the water, yeast, and flour, mixing until the flour is incorporated
  2. Cover and let rest at room temperature for about 14 hours; the starter will be bubbly. If you make this in the late afternoon, it’ll be ready to go by the next morning

Make Dough

  1. Combine the starter with the remaining dough ingredients
  2. If kneading by hand, knead 5-6 minutes on a floured surface. If using a stand mixer, mix on low speed with dough hook attachment for 5-6 minutes. You can use a bread machine by setting it on the dough cycle. All methods should yield a soft, smooth dough
  3. Place the dough in a lightly-greased bowl. Cover, and let it rise at room temperature for 1-1½ hours; it should have become puffy
  4. Dust top of dough with flour. Gently deflate and stretch the dough, and transfer it to a lightly-floured work surface. Sprinkle the olives atop the dough. Roll lengthwise, encasing the olives and forming a long log
  5. Fold log into thirds. You should now have a loaf shape
  6. Cover and let rest at room temperature 5-10 minutes
  7. Place a tea or linen towel on a parchment-lined sheet tray. Dust towel evenly with flour
  8. Take rested dough and pat into a 9" x 8" rectangle. The more careful you are to make the corners of the rectangle square, the nicer your rolls will look
  9. Cut into six 3” x 4” pieces. Place each piece onto floured towel, spaced apart in two rows. Bunch the towel in between the rows to prevent the pieces from rising into each other
  10. Cover with plastic wrap that is lightly-greased with non-stick cooking spray, and let rise at room temperature 45-60 minutes
  11. Meanwhile, preheat oven and baking stone to 425º- allow 45 minutes-60 minutes for your oven and stone to get up to temperature
  12. After rising, gently lift the rolls off the cloth, and transfer them, floured-side-up onto heated baking stone
  13. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until they’re golden brown
  14. Remove from oven, and cool