Tartine Olive Sourdough

Olives… there’s something about them, isn’t there? How can there be so many different types and yet still all of them taste so good? I have yet to find an olive I did not like. I got lucky this week and had a bunch of leftover olives, we had planned to make another Moroccan dish (our current obsession) for dinner one night but we never had the chance. No worries, I’m sure I could do something with all those incredible little things…

Before I started baking sourdough at home olive bread was always one of my favorites. I knew baking my own version would go well but I didn’t know it would go this well. The result is just so dang tasty having it sit out on the counter is simply a bad idea. One more slice, suuure why not.

Tartine olive sourdough bread

The olives I used for this came marinated in some garlic-y salty juice that I’ll definitely not use for the next time I bake this bread. They sure tasted good but I think they contributed just a little bit too much flavor to the bread just some straight pitted kalamata and castelvetrano olives would be perfect.

We recently signed up for a bi-weekly local produce box here in town and I was very happy to find I could get organic olives in the shipment. I doubt they are local, but they don’t come drenched in any spices this will be perfect for the next iteration of this bread. Trust me, it’s going to happen soon.

Prepare the leaven – 10:30pm

My typical 100% whole wheat leaven, prepared the night before:

  1. 55g ripe starter
  2. 200g whole wheat flour
  3. 200g H2O @ 78ºF

After mixing the above in a glass container, cover and set out on the counter for an overnight rest. I started with water just a bit cooler (by 3º F) than usual, I had some errands to take care of in the morning and needed a bit more time to mix after waking up.

I’ve realized that water temperature is one of the greatest tools in the baker’s arsenal.

Temperatures are so important with baking and they usually are hard to control, the flour temperature is possible but not easy/practical, and the ambient temperature can be controlled to some level but even a few degrees can drastically affect things. All that’s left is water temperature, this is easily modified in the microwave. Based on your schedule, mix with warmer water to speed things up, or colder water to slow things down.

Mix the flour, water, olives & spices and autolyse – 9:00am

Tartine olive sourdough bread


  1. 250g (25%) leaven
  2. 800g (80%) white bread flour
  3. 200g (20%) whole wheat bread flour
  4. 20g (2%) salt
  5. 730g H2O @ 82ºF and 50g H2O in reserve for after you add the salt (step #5 in Method below)
  6. 3 cups pitted olives (I did 2 cups kalamata and 1 cup green), loosely chopped
  7. 2 tsp herbs de provence
  8. Zest of one lemon

You might also notice here that I’m pushing 78% hydration with this loaf. I’ve slowly been increasing the water amount to try and achieve a softer and more tender crumb. I’ll be journaling my experience with these wet doughs in a future post. It can get challenging! You could reduce the water amount up to 5% with no problem here.


  1. Add the 250g of leaven to a large mixing bowl
  2. Pour in the 730g H2O & mix with your hands until the water and leaven are completely mixed and dissolved
  3. Add 800g white flour and 200g whole wheat flour and mix with your hand until all the dry flour is incorporated
  4. Cover your bowl with a towel and let autolyse for 40 minutes
  5. After 40 minutes add 20g salt to the dough and slowly pour your 50g reserved 82ºF water on top. Squeeze the dough with your hand to incorporate the salt
  6. Now reach your hand under the dough and pull a side up and over onto itself. Do this several times until you notice the consistency of the dough to turn sticky
  7. Transfer your dough to a large bowl for the bulk fermentation step. I usually use a clear-sided plastic container for my bulk fermentation but the addition of the olives will be too much for the smaller container. Instead I use my trusty large Heath Ceramic bowl (nice and thick for insulation).

After transferring to the large bowl I read the final dough temperature: 75º F. Wow, it’s COLD now. This means either the bulk fermentation time is going to be very long, or I’m going to have to improvise and heat things up somehow. In hindsight I should have used much warmer water, maybe even up to 90º F.

Tartine olive sourdough bread

Bulk Fermentation – 9:45am

During bulk fermentation you want to do about 6 turns spaced out 30 minutes apart. The turns should be quite intense to strengthen your dough over the next several hours. After the first turn we will add in our olives and herbs de provence. If things are a bit dry after adding, toss in a splash of water to moisten things up. If you’re following my recipe exactly you probably won’t need extra water (because of the already high 78% hydration).

Tartine olive sourdough bread

Mix your olives, herbs, and lemon zest in a medium bowl before incorporating into your dough. Set this mixture to the side and we’ll toss these into the dough after the first turn; get started:

  1. 10:30am – Turn 1

After turn 1 add in your 3c olives, 2tsp herbs de provence, and lemon zest. Mix thoroughly with your hand and cut the olives into the dough with your thumb.

  1. 11:00am – Turn 2
  2. 11:30am – Turn 3
  3. 12:00pm – Turn 4
  4. 12:30pm – Turn 5
  5. 1:00pm – Turn 6
  6. 1:00pm – 3:30pm – Rest on counter untouched

Tartine olive sourdough bread

By 3:30pm the dough had risen almost to the top of my bowl and was ready to be shaped. The olives dotted the dough and had me wanting to pick one or two out while shaping. It’s impossible to cook/bake good food without tasting the ingredients as you go along, right?

Pre-shape – 3:40pm

Take the dough out of the container onto your unfloured work surface and sprinkle some flour on top before dividing. Divide the mass into two halves and flour the top of each half. After shaping I inverted a bowl on top of each shaped mass to keep it from drying out and set a timer for 30 minutes.

I recently purchased another set of oblong proofing baskets so now I can do two batards instead of one batard and one boule. I much prefer the look of the batard, especially that single long score down the middle. Now that I have four baskets I can do a double batch of bread (that’s the plan for Christmas) and have all of them shaped in my favorite style.

Lightly dust your two linen-lined bowls with white rice flour. These bowls will hold our fermenting dough overnight in the fridge to proof.

Shape – 4:10pm

Higher hydration doughs such as this can be very tricky to handle. I try not to incorporate any more flour than necessary but there is a fine line here between too much flour and too sticky. Finding that balance only comes with experience.

I shaped both as batards in the “Tartine style”.

Proof – 4:30pm

After shaping, gently place the dough into their baskets and into the fridge for an overnight proof. My wife keeps telling me we need either a bigger fridge or a dedicated bread proofing fridge not enough space for food with double batches of dough! “It’s worth it” I keep telling her. She silently agrees each time she toasts a piece of bread in the morning with her eggs.

Score + Bake – 7:30am (the next day)

Gather your tools:

  1. Razor blade for scoring
  2. Parchment paper
  3. Pizza peel
  4. Pizza stone
  5. Oven mit
  6. Lodge Combo Cooker

Place your baking stone in your oven at the middle position and turn it on to 510ºF for a 1 hour pre-heat.

After one hour, take one of your loaves out of the fridge and cut a piece of parchment paper to place on top of the basket containing the dough. Take your peel and then put it on top of those two and quickly invert it so the dough is now resting on the parchment paper and the peel.

Get your razor blade out and score the top of the loaf to allow the bread to expand while rising in the oven. I’ve been practicing more with my single long slash for the batards and I think I’ve found my perfect angle. Take the razor and place it 90º over the loaf and then rotate left (I’m left handed, if you’re right handed rotate right) by 45º and score.

Tartine olive sourdough bread

Place the dough into the combo cooker and turn the heat down to 450ºF and cook for 25 minutes. After this time, open the oven, remove the top lid of the combo cooker, close and cook for an additional 40 minutes. I could have probably cooked these loaves an additional 5 minutes more. I’m thinking the higher hydration might require a little bit longer bake. Next time I’ll push that second half of the bake to 45 minutes and see how it goes.

Repeat for the second loaf.


The salty taste of the olives really set this loaf off. I could hardly wait for the two loaves to cool before cutting into the first one. Keep that in mind when you bake these, start early so you aren’t tempted at lunch time to just cut right in and make a sandwich.

Crust: VERY nice crust this time. The colors, the tears, the openness, all just really great. I love how the olives dot the surface of the bread, hinting at what’s inside. The crust turned out to be nice and thin and very brittle. After a few days it hardened a bit more but that just added to the nice rustic nature of this bread.

Tartine olive sourdough bread

Crumb: Soft and open, a great combination. Could I say I wanted it even a bit more open? Sure… I’m always striving for that it seems. Next time I’m going to try to have a more decisive yet gentle hand when shaping. Perhaps I squished out too many of those precious air pockets developed during bulk fermentation. Still, the crumb was very nice.

Tartine olive sourdough bread

Taste: I’ve probably already beaten this to death at this point but I’m serious: this bread is really something. Bake it and find out, you’ll be happy you did!

In typical fashion, my post-bake sandwich was so delicious with this olive bread: goat cheese, pesto, and roasted chicken. Simple yet so complex with the salty olive taste, a keeper.

Tartine olive sourdough bread

Buon appetito!

Recipe and method submitted to YeastSpotting.

  • Gingi

    nice post man. great job. which makes me wonder – the boules are nicely shaped for a typical Dutch Oven – but how do you place an oval shaped loaf in the DO?

    • Thanks Gingi.

      The boules do fit much easier, but I actually am able to fit the batard in the dutch oven as well — just barely. It touches both ends of the dutch oven, barely squeezed in there.

      • Gingi

        oh wow I would not have imagined that. if you can, a picture of the pre and post baking if the batard will be amazing…

  • Trying this today! Thanks for the post!

    • You’re welcome, would love to hear how it works out for you. Happy baking!

  • hello my name is motti on the tartine olive sourdough the recepie is to put 730 water this is the next step and on the fifth step again water wich water?

    please note good day

    • Motti,
      Sorry for the unclear step there. You want to reserve 50g of the total water for that 5th step. First pour on your 20g of salt on top of the dough, then slowly pour on top that reserved 50g water to dissolve the salt, then mix throughout.

      • motti

        thank you very mouch

  • AAA

    So it takes a day to cook this sort of bread? Now I think the supermarket price is totally justified!

    • It does take a fair amount of work, but most of the work is very easy and not time consuming. The end product is far superior to what you’d find in the supermarket and definitely worth it!

  • Tammy

    This is really a dumb question but do you bake it with the cover on the dutch oven or not. I have never baked bread using a dutch oven before and that’s why I am asking.

    • There are no dumb questions! You bake with the lid on for a total of 30 minutes to create a steamed environment for the bread to rise (water will escape the dough and get trapped in the closed dutch oven, allowing your loaf to rise). After the 30 minutes, you take the lid off for the remainder of the bake to allow the crust to crisp up and interior to finish cooking.

  • Drew

    Hi Maurizio — giving this recipe a try this weekend, couldn’t resist the photographs on your site! Quick question, what are the approximate dimensions of the proofing baskets you use? I, too, prefer the batard shape, but the baskets I have results in a loaf that’s too long to fit into the combo cooker, so instead I’ve been baking them on a baking steel and adding steam. Would love the simplicity of the combo cooker instead if I could find the right proofing baskets. Thanks!

    • Great! I’d love to hear how this loaf turns out, it’s so great tasting I just had to share with everyone.

      The batard bannetons I use are 6.5″ wide by 13″ long. If you have your dough take up the entire basket you will definitely *not* be able to fit the proofed dough in your lodge cooker in the morning. But, what I do is when I divide the dough I put one half of the shaped dough into one end of the banneton, so it essentially only fills up half of the entire basket. I’ve had some close calls where it almost doesn’t fit in the combo cooker, but I’ve always made it work.

      You can see a picture in my latest post of the batard in the morning, takes up about 1/2 the banneton.

      I do love the result of the combo cooker vs. a baking stone + steam — I’ve just had more consistent and better results.

      Hope that all helps, happy baking!

  • Ray

    Why did you prepare 455 gr8. Of leaving to only use 250 of it? Great loaf by he way.

    • Ray,
      Thank ya! I actually have been following the Tartine method for building a levain since the very beginning of my baking days. It is definitely possible to reduce the amount of levain to only what you need.

      One reason I believe it’s recommended to end up with so much excess is to give you a larger window of time before you must use your levain in your dough. This way you can be almost sure your starter won’t consume all the food you’ve given it the night before. Just my thought.

      Happy baking!

  • Hi there!

    I just baked your Olive Sourdough and it was great! Well, almost. Hence my question. I loved the crust, flavour but not the crumb. It is nowhere near as open as yours (jealous). It is moist and chewy but I don’t get the nice big holes. I followed your instructions except I only did five turns. i am always kind of anxious to get the dough in the fridge because it is really hot here (tropics) and I’ve had bad experiences with over proofed dough. All up it bulk fermented at room temp from 3pm when I mixed it to 7.15pm when I shaped it. Also, the flour I get here might not be the best quality, however I have gotten nicer crumb with the same brand. I’ve been trying to be very gentle with shaping etc. Any ideas?? Is it possible that I’d need more water??? It did seem wet but not overly so. Any advice would appreciated.


    • Welcome and thanks for reaching out, I’m glad the olive loaf went reasonably well! A 4 hour bulk time is pretty typical, but what were your ambient and water temperatures? If your ambient temp is relatively high (like close to 85ºF, or more) you might need less bulk fermentation time. Instead of watching the clock for this though, you should observe how the dough is developing during this time. After your 4th or 5 turn, take note on how your dough is behaving, does it jiggle in the bowl? Do you have air bubbles on top and on the sides (if you’re using a clear container this make this easier), does it hold together well and lift from the bowl easily? Adjust one parameter at a time and take note of how things are progressing, this way you can pin point what has helped. For instance, try reducing your bulk time by 30m next time and see if your crumb opens up a bit more.

      What was your dough’s hydration? If you are in the 70% range (in baker’s percentages like I list above) or higher there will be sufficient water.

      With some more practice and careful attention I know we can get your crumb a little more open. Good luck and let me know how it goes!

      • Thanks for your reply, It is over 30 deg Celsius here, more like 33 most days so I will definitely try and shorten the bulk fermentation time. Do you know how long you could keep the dough in the fridge for proofing in order not to over ferment? I like to put it in the fridge late afternoon/early evening and bake the next morning around 9. So it would be in the fridge for about 16h or more. Is that too long?

        • 33C is pretty warm, but not too bad. One thing you can do to offset this is play with using water thats a few degrees cooler when you do your mix. This will help cool the mass of dough down a bit and slow things down.

          I’ve kept my dough in the fridge (which I think is around 3C or 4C) for up to 24 hours with no real problems. 16 hours actually sounds perfect!

  • Just a quick update…made the olive loaf again and it turned out much better, more open crumb and so soft. We love it. Would like a bit more open still but am quite happy. I only did 4 turns and then left untouched for just over an hour. Also, I did minimal handling (practise is everything here, hey?). Do you think the way you slash/score does have any effect on the crumb? Thanks again for helping!

    • That’s great news! Yes, practice does make all the difference; I bet your next attempt will be even better 🙂

      Yes, your scoring technique will definitely have an impact. If you score too deeply your loaf will open up very quickly, possibly reducing overall oven spring. You can control the speed and amount your loaf opens up during baking by changing the angle of scoring and the depth. If you do a shallow score that is at, say, a 30º angle to the surface of the dough it will open up slower as it bakes. This is my typical slash for the “batard” (the oblong type loaf) you often see here on my site. When I do a boule I usually make an “X” on top so the blade is at a 90º angle with the dough, but I do not slash in too deep.

      Scoring your dough really is a personal preference type thing and, again, just takes practice. In the end you find what works for you and what effect you like depending on your shaped dough.

      I’m glad to hear my writeup helped, let me know if you have any other questions and I’ll do my best to help. Happy baking!

  • Dana

    My name is Dana and I’m a beginner bread-maker.
    Because your olive sourdough recipe sounds / looks great to me, I have decided to give it a try.
    Yesterday I have baked my bread, but it came out flat and without oven spring.
    My scoring turned into some kind of channels.
    The crumb is soft, elastic and a little bit sticky.

    …I have started a post on Facebook with photos of my flat-bread. Can you, please, take a look and help me with some advices?

    Thank you,

    • Dana

      I apologize, but it looks like a forgot the Facebook link:

    • Dana,
      Is your starter in good working order? Do you see a predicable rise & fall after feeding? If you need help with starter management check out my post on how to get your starter working super fast with lots of strength.

      How long did you do your bulk fermentation step for? It’s typical to do around 3-4 hours at 74ºF to 78ºF. You need to look for the signs there though: during bulk your dough should increase in volume by about 30% and have air bubbles throughout. It should also be stronger in that it will lift easily from the sides of the container and prefer to stay together in a cohesive mass instead of tear.

      Let me know if those two help, if not we can try a few more things!

  • Dana

    Hi Maurizio,

    Thank you very much for your fast answer and for the advices.
    About my starter: I see that you are using both rye and white wheat flour for your starter….I’m feeding mine with white flour only (I used rye only in the beginning), 2 times / day (morning and evening).
    It usually triples its volume. But not more.
    I will try the rye/white wheat combination, too…

    About the fermentation: the bulk fermentation was 4 hours, at 78-82F. Too long, probably?
    And for sure it increased in volume with more than 30% (actually at the end of the bulk fermentation, the volume was double)

    ….It was over-proofed, isn’t it?

    Thanks’ again,

    • It sounds like you are getting good activity with your starter then. Yes, I use part rye flour to do my feedings, it really pumps it into high gear and there are other beneficial side effects for me and my schedule.

      That is a bit long for bulk fermentation at that temperature range, and it sounds like it by the 50% increase in volume. You might want to cut it short next time, say 3 hours if at that same temperature. Try to hit around 30% volume increase.

      Yes, I would guess over proofing was the cause there. Easy fix for that though! Let me know how your modifications work out.

      • Dana

        Hi Maurizio,

        Thank you.
        I have tried the recipe again last Friday. 🙂 I have reduced the bulk fermentation time. The result is for sure much better:

        One more question(not so important): why did you make 455g of levain, but used only 250? 🙂
        ( 🙂 I wonder if the first time I didn’t accidentally used all the levain, instead of half of it! Hmmm….This might be possible!)

        Thanks’ again,

        • Dana — looking great right there! It looks a little more open and some nice olives scattered throughout.

          You’re right, I made much more levain than is necessary. If you’re following any of the recipes here at my site you can safely halve the levain build and have plenty for mixing.

          I’ve done the same thing before: I accidentally used the entire levain build and my bread fermented WAY too fast and was super sour.

          Keep at it!

  • I am making this loaf as we speak. My first time experimenting with sourdough. When you bake these loaves, do you have a tray filled with hot water in the oven? Do you spray the oven with water throughout the baking process? Many thanks. Shulie

    • I bake the loaves, one at a time, in this combo cooker, closed for the first 30 minutes of the bake (according to my directions). I will spritz the dough a few times just before putting the lid on top to generate a bit more steam.

      You can, alternatively, do what you mentioned: have an old pan in the bottom of your oven and throw in a cup of ice or water to generate steam. Be careful when doing this though, you can easily burn your arms with the steam and not every oven can handle a wet interior (electronics, etc.)!

      Let me know how it goes!

  • Also I am trying to think what’s 90 degrees over the bread? Hmmm….

    • What do you mean 90º over the bread?

  • Evren

    I have a question? I have looked all around, How does chad shape batards? I see on his tartine video. that he shapes boules but puts it in batard banneton.
    He also does something super cool where almost braid the dough as he shapes it to close the seams.
    Do you have any idea ? Or do you just shape it like he shows in the books but put it in to batard baskets as well. There are so many different ways to shape as I am sure you know.

    • If you search YouTube you can find a video called “Chad Robertson Masterclass” that will show you how he shapes batards. It’s a “stitch” style shaping and takes a bit of practice! That’s the braiding you mentioned.

      Tons of different ways to shape, yes! I do this stitch style as well, but also use Hamelmans batard shaping style, he mentioned it in his book Bread.

      Hope that helps!

  • Eun Joo Oh

    Hi Maurizio,
    I always admire your beautiful loafs. i do bake sourdough bread, but I also preheat my le creuset ( like comobo cooker) when I preheat the oven .Do you preheat your combo cooker?
    Thank you in advance!

    • Than you! Yes, when using my combo cooker I always preheat it along with the oven — it’s important to do so!

      Happy baking 🙂

      • opicurious

        Thank you! Right now, I am done with pre-shaping and waiting for the final shaping for my pain aux olives. Always love your blog and instagram!^^

        • You’re very welcome! Thanks I appreciate that 🙂

  • Marketa Dominguez

    Wait, you bake it 40 minutes wih open oven door?

    • Typo! Thanks for catching that — it’s fixed. Open the oven and remove the top of the combo cooker to vent the steam, then close the oven and cook for an additional 40 minutes.

      Happy baking!

      • Marketa Dominguez

        Ok thanks. That makes more sense. 🙂

  • maplechiken

    Hello! I am planning to try this recipe but I only need to make 1 loaf. Can I just cut every ingredients in half including leaven?

    • Hi there, so sorry for the late reply I’ve been out on travel! Yes, you can just cut everything in half for this recipe and it will work out just fine.

      Usually I like to keep the levain build at it’s full quantity, but this recipe has a little bit extra built in so cutting it in half will not be a problem.

      Happy baking!

      • maplechiken

        Thank you! I saw you were in the city on Instagram. Did you like any NY bread?? Hope you had a good time : ) I cut everything in half and it worked great! (Yes I built levain with full amount) Thanks again!

        • You’re very welcome! I had a chance to visit the Union Square Market and picked up a sourdough batard from She Wolf Bakery — seriously good bread! Happy baking 🙂

  • Emily Seidl

    I’ve made the basic sourdough recipe from Samuel Fromartz many times without issue – this dough is unbelievably runny and difficult to work with. When I finally poured it on the countertop it almost ran off. Where did I go wrong? Or is that how funny it should be? I bake in the AM.


    • So sorry for the late reply, I hope the loaf turned out ok! The dough should not be “runny” by any means. It should be wet, for sure, but it should have strength to it and not run on the counter. I would recommend you try and reduce the amount of water used in my recipe to suit your flour and environment, ti sounds to me like it was over hydrated — this is normal! Each bag of flour is different and each baker’s kitchen is different, these things just need a little adjustment from each baking recipe.

      Try to reduce the hydration 5-10% next time you bake and see if that helps firm up the dough. Let me know if you’re still having issues and we’ll get to the bottom of it!

  • Sun Sun

    I love your site, the combination of beautiful pictures and well described science of sourdough, makes it a pleasure to read. This is a fabulous recipe. I have a smaller combo cooker so made 3/4 of full recipe and did one loaf of olive and one loaf of provolone and proscuitto. I do my shape and ferment in an oiled bowl rather than floured banneton and it worked well for this. The crust was crackling and thin as described, although I lost some of loft when I “dropped” the loaves in the heated cooker for the actual bake, the crumb was tender and the taste of the bread was lovely.
    My starter is currently all purpose white flour fed and I purposefully used 20 degree colder water as I was off time cycle and needed the extra hours. I did halve the starter recipe, since it still provided more than the 187g needed. I admit I was guessing a bit on starter readiness since I didn’t have clear surface bubbles with the whole wheat feed to go by but it all worked out fine. I did end up with closer to a 74% hydration than your 78% since I was a little worried about runny dough but will try upping on next round.
    Many thanks!

    • Thanks so much, I really appreciate the kind words! Sounds like your bakes have been going very well, glad to hear that! When I use my combo cooker I like to drag in the dough on top of a piece of parchment paper cut to fit, this helps reduce that high drop and potential degassing.

      Yes, I build a little bit extra levain for this recipe that’s not really needed (it can make it easier if you’re not able to get to the levain in time, a little buffer if you will), sounds good. Sounds to me like all of your modifications were spot on, fantastic. I’m glad you made the necessary changes for your environment.

      Happy baking and thanks again for the comments!

  • Nicolas Ghantous

    Hello, love your site…I have tried your olive tartine many times and always tastes real good..I have few questions though: 1- why do you make so much leaven when all we need is 250g? for strength? also I noticed that I do not get that much of big holes..wonder why…I also always have hard time knowing when to get the dough out of the fridge
    since each time I touch it it feels the same alive and move under my hand, even at the beginning of the final fermentation..I should appreciate your advice

    • Really glad to hear that, thanks! In some of these earlier recipes here at my site I build quite a large levain (mostly so there was a buffer if I wasn’t able to get to the levain in time). It’s not necessary to make such a large levain, though, and I keep meaning to head back and update all these recipes (I have updated some but not all).

      There could be a lot of reasons for the lack of openness in your crumb. Usually it’s due to under fermentation, make sure your dough is at the temps I’ve listed here and keep it warm during the entirety of bulk fermentation. You want the dough to look and feel alive by the end of bulk, it should jiggle a bit when you shake the bulk container.

      I hope that helps!

      • Nicolas Ghantous

        thanks for your time..i always touch the dough during bulk fermentation and i feel it jiggles…i followed everything…not sure…will pay closer attention next time…i also baked your perfect liaf, more holes for sure yet again not as big as yours

  • Tyler Allred

    Hi, I love this site! I’ve been making the basic country loaf to great success almost every week for several months now. I’m trying this olive loaf this weekend for the second time.

    I was wondering why we need to wait until the first turn to add in the olives? Last time I did that but it was a lot harder to incorporate than I was expecting. It seems it would be easier to just add the olives in with the salt, but is there an important reason to wait? Thanks!

    Another question for you: I’ve been thinking of making smaller “bread bowls” out of the standard dough recipe to go with a chili night. Have you done that? Would you change the recipe at all to accommodate a smaller loaf? I’m thinking i might make 4 or 6 loaves out of the standard 1000g batch to get the size I would need for a chili bowl.

    • Thanks so much Tyler, appreciate that! Glad to hear your bakes have gone so well.

      You can add the olives in earlier if you’d like, some bakers prefer to do this (especially if using a mixer). I find it helps when adding the mix-ins until the gluten is a bit developed before adding things in. This way there’s only a small amount of strength we still need to do (maybe one more fold) before the dough is strong enough. If we add the ingredients in early, with several sets of stretch and folds still to do, it could have a cutting action on the gluten in the dough, leading to a tighter crumb. However, olives are very soft and shouldn’t be a problem — I’d say try adding it in whenever you like and see how the bread turns out!

      I’ve not made a chili bowl (sounds awesome, though) but you could just cut up the dough for this recipe into 4 equal, but smaller, loaves and shape them as boules (rounds). That would work quite well!

      Hope this helps, happy baking 🙂

  • thomas murphy

    made this for first time today, I kind of rushed the folds and bulk ferment but I love this. My wife was like “olive bread??” but then she tried it and loves it. The smell while cooking is fab.

    • Olive bread has gotten a bad wrap but it’s dang delicious (when made right)! Glad to hear your bake went so well!!

  • Jessica

    Hi (again!), I have *finally* gotten your pizza recipe down perfectly, and I’ve partially succeeded with some other sourdough breads as well. I just tried this one, and although the taste is delicious, it didn’t rise up too well. After unloading the dough onto the parchment paper, I realized that the dough had not held its shape at all. … and the result was a rather flat loaf. This problem seems to be reoccurring for me… do you have any suggestions? Also, my starter can get pretty active, but I’m using only half-white/bleached (I don’t know the exact translation from French into English) flour for feeding my starter. Do you think using some rye flour would help with the rise? You’re so great at answering all these questions, thanks a lot !!! Best, Jessica

    • Awesome! Well there could be a few things causing the issue with this recipe. It sounds like either your dough is under proofed or it could be over proofed.

      There are a few indicators your dough could be over proofing: sluggish rise in the oven, the score on top of the dough might not open with a nice “ear” and instead just kind of fuse together, the interior will have lots of small holes and perhaps one or two large ones near the top (but no dense areas of unfermented flour), and finally the loaf could be a little on the sour side.

      There are a few indicators your dough could be under: explosive rise in the oven, dense interior with potentially scattered large holes, gummy texture to the interior and finally it’s possible the bottom of the loaf is slightly bowed upward (like the letter “U”).

      Finally, it could be that your dough needs more strength! Make sure it holds its shape in the bowl after you perform your sets of stretch and folds. You should see over the course of bulk fermentation the dough will become more and more smooth and have defined edges and lines to it — you won’t see any shaggy or overly wet sections.

      Hope this helps!

      • Jessica

        Thanks so much for your response… turns out that I’m a serial overproofer ! I have tried this recipe again (it was a bit better, but I need some more practice I suppose), and I recently tried your ‘best ever’ sourdough that turned out much better. Thanks again 🙂

        • You’re very welcome and it happens to all of us! 🙂

  • Gena

    Oh.My.Word. This bread is sublime. The smell, texture, taste…wonderful. I finally figured out that you were (I think) putting your cast iron ON the pizza stone to bake. My loaves were getting too dark on the bottom. (Didn’t affect our ability to eat them!) Bu these were so crunchy, crackling, and it just gave way under the knife. Thank you for the wonderful recipes and method. I am very new to this and am quickly becoming an addict!

    • Excellent, glad to hear this recipe has worked out so well for you! I too have noticed that when I place my Dutch oven directly on a preheated baking stone the bottom of the loaf can get a bit too dark. Lately, when using my DO, I’ve been placing a rack on top of the baking stones so the DO is not sitting directly on it, reducing the bottom heat. This has helped quite a bit!

      Happy baking, Gena, and thanks!

  • Monica Kim

    I’m so thankful for this post. I have the Tartine cookbook and have attempted the recipe twice. Flavour and texture has been great. I have the holes in the crumb. But it doesn’t seem to rise and “puff up” like my plain sourdough. It’s quite flat and the scoring doesn’t expand. I use the same the Tartine sourdough recipe but add the ingredients at the 2nd turn. Do you have any advice for this? I will definitely try your version of this recipe next!

    • You’re very welcome, Monica! There are several reasons you could run into a sluggish rise when baking this loaf. I’d first guess that maybe your dough is over proofed, sluggish rise and a lack of opening at your score seems to point to this. Have you tried pulling back on the final proof in the fridge by a couple hours? This might help!

      • Monica Kim

        Thanks for responding! I proofed my dough in the fridge but you could be right… it was longer than usual. The finger indent test seemed ok to me, but next time I will keep an eye on the dough more closely and have it proof for a shorter time. I was wondering if the ingredients make the dough proof faster. My plain sourdough can proof for 6 hrs in the fridge and turn out quite beautiful.

        • Yes, ingredient add-ins can definitely make the dough ferment faster (especially with some fruit additions like figs, etc.). It’s possible the olives have impacted fermentation in some way, but I haven’t experienced it too much with this dough. As always, I just keep an eye on that dough and adjust as necessary!

  • Karen Hendricks Crawford

    I am also working on getting better more open and even crumb, and more oven spring. I baked your Beginner’s recipe today (built it yesterday) and I’m liking how it looks (haven’t cut into it, yet). So, I was going to try your olive herb loaf next, and I’m wondering about the differences in techniques. 1) Why, in the Olive Loaf, do you add the levain before the autolyse, and with the Beginner Loaf you don’t add it ’til after an hour? 2) Why, in the Olive Loaf, do you feel the need for 6 S&F, and in the Beginner Loaf you only feel the need for 3? 3) Also, with the Olive Loaf, you start the night before (with the Levain), and with the Beginner’s Loaf you start the levain in the morning. Can’t I follow the time schedule of the Beginner’s Loaf, but with the ingredients of the Olive Loaf? I’m trying to understand how the dough starter levain should feel look, before I move on to the next stage. My thoughts about the fewer S&F (in the Beginner Loaf)was that I was giving the dough the time to do what it wants to do anyway, that of creating gasses and expanding. I think, however, I might be over proofing – or even over fermenting – because I live at 6100 ft. elevation, and things rise faster here. I understand that I could play around with the water temperature – and I’m expecting to get to that point – but for now, I’m really trying to go by the book.

    • Really great questions. Answers:
      1) A lot of the changes between this loaf and the Beginner’s Sourdough are simply due to me having baked for numerous years between the two, testing, tweaking, and refining my style and process.
      2) The number of s & f’s per dough is totally dependent on the flour, the hydration, and other factors. You need to give the dough the strength required. For example, if I had a dough that was very highly hydrated (90% hydration, let’s say) I might have to give it 6 sets of stretch and folds, whereas a dough that’s around 75% hydration might only require 2.
      3) I build a levain in various ways and the different approaches are usually based on my schedule. If I want to do dough early in the morning I’ll adjust the levain to go overnight (less starting mature starter, lower temp, etc.) but if I want to do a same-day levain I’ll mix in the AM with a higher starter inoculation to speed things along.

      You can definitely use either process for either of these loaves. Just adjust the levain to suit your schedule and adjust the amount you mix to suit the dough.

      I hope this helps!

      • Karen Hendricks Crawford

        Thank you, Maurizio!! I anticipated those answers, glad to hear I’m on the right track. In the meantime, I did make the recipe, and we all are loving your recipe. So, how do you know that the 6 (say) S&Fs are enough, and you don’t need to do a 7th? That’s where I’m at in my education . . . thank you!!!

        • Karen Hendricks Crawford

          btw, since I’ve started using my thermometer – at your suggestion – I’m having MUCH better, consistent results.

          • Awesome to hear that! Regarding the stretch and folds — it comes with experience. Over time you’ll develop a sense for how much strength is enough, and stop there. Usually I stop when the dough is hard to stretch and fold, or it’s holding it’s shape in the bowl and isn’t relaxing out fully by the next set. Usually I find that under strengthening is better than over, as under can be adjusted for during shape time but shaping tighter!

  • Ryan

    This is what I’m making today (per our FDT discussion in the other post)… but I see you are using 250g of levain, versus the usual 200g per Tartine. Any particular reason?

    • That’s the amount of levain I found worked best for this dough for me at my temperatures in the kitchen. I also believe it had to do with the flour I was using at the time and the way I maintained my starter. Since writing this I have reduced my levain percentage down to 18% or so, depending on the weather and other factors.

      You could adjust that percentage if you know the levain percentage called for in the original tartine recipe will work well for you!

      • Ryan

        Well the original percentage is 20% if I recall. You have 100g of flour and 200g of levain (along with water). So it sounds you’ve dropped it even further.

        • In my more recent bakes I do drop my levain very low — I’ve been liking the results using a lower levain percentage but bulking at warmer temperature or for a longer period.

          • Ryan

            That makes sense. I’m still trying to get my crumb the way I’d like it (open/irregular or open/regular).. instead I usually get some pretty good oven spring, but a semi dense crumb. Perfect for butter and jam, but not quite what I want visually.

            Once I can achieve those with regularity I’ll start tinkering with other variables.