Pancetta and Mixed Olive Bread

olive pancetta breadI make nearly all the bread we eat but recently I have tended to make the same basic recipe each time: flour, yeast, salt and water. No fat, no sugar. The only things that vary are the types and proportions of flour. White, brown, wholemeal, granary, seeded, spelt: it’s all good. It’s quick and easy and I don’t have to get a recipe book out. It was great to be given some olive oil as that inspired me to make ciabatta and since then I have been keen to get back into making different types of bread. I have been meaning to get a sourdough starter together for months now and I am determined to do that before the end of the week…

This is a Richard Bertinet recipe and includes olives, olive oil, pancetta and sage but you could easily leave out the pancetta if you wanted to make it vegetarian. I used my Franschhoek olive oil again and even managed to use the sage I had rescued and repotted in my garden. I misread the recipe and didn’t make the olive mixture before I started the dough, so added it after the first proving instead. That actually just reduced the number of times it needed proving and knocking back and as it effectively turned out perfectly with less work I have written the recipe below as I made it.

It is a very salty bread and is delicious on its own or with cheese. And my son absolutely loved it as the bread with one of his favourite treats, beans on toast, and was devastated when it was all gone: it didn’t even hang around long enough for me to remember to take a decent photo…

olive pancetta breadRecipe


200g diced pancetta

200g mixed olives, stoned and chopped

Sage leaves, chopped

500g strong white bread flour

20g semolina

15g fresh yeast, or 1 teaspoon fast action dried yeast

10g salt

50g extra virgin olive oil

320g water


Cook the pancetta in a frying pan until it starts to crisp.

Add the olives and cook for a couple of minutes.

Remove from the heat and add the sage.

Spoon the mixture, including the cooking juices, into a bowl to cool.

olive pancetta bread

Allow the mixture to cool completely

Make the dough:

Put the flour and semolina into a large bowl and rub in the yeast.

Add the salt, olive oil and water and mix to form a dough.

Knead for 5-10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and silky.

Put the dough into an oiled bowl and cover with oiled clingfilm or a tea towel.

making bread

Leave to prove until doubled in size

Leave to prove for around an hour or two until doubled in size.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and flatten out.

olive pancetta breadAdd the cold olive mixture and knead the dough until it is evenly incorporated.

Put back into the oiled bowl and cover again.

olive pancetta bread

Leave to prove again

Leave for around an hour to prove again.

Flour the work surface again and divide the dough into two or three equal pieces and shape them into loaves.

Place the loaves on a floured baking tray and flour the tops.

homemade bread

Leave until doubled in size

With a sharp knife make several diagonal cuts about 1cm deep across the tops of the loaves.

Cover the loaves with a tea towel and leave to prove again for around an hour until they have nearly doubled in size.

Heat the oven to 250ºC.

olive pancetta bread

Ready to bake

When the loaves are ready, put them into the oven and immediately turn it down to 230ºC.

Bake for around 30-35 minutes until they are golden brown and sound hollow if you tap the base.

olive pancetta breadAllow to cool on a wire rack.

olive pancetta bread

Categories: Baking, Bread, Recipes

Tags: , , , , , , ,

21 replies

  1. I love the combination of flavors you chose and I’ve never ever cooked with semolina flour except for making pasta once.
    I have an Italian BIGA in my refrigerator now from Carole Field’s Italian Baker book. I want to make the Como Bread from Como, Italy.
    Stay tuned!

    Check out my cooking site:

    Paulette Motzko

  2. It looks delicious.

  3. What a beautiful loaf of bread! I’m so inspired!

  4. Looks and sounds delicious, lots of flavour in there!

  5. This bread would be so fabulous with just about anything, but I’m really thinking salad, or even as sandwich bread!!! Gorgeous!

  6. I love olives so I am sure I’d love this.. I also love sourdough. If you lived nearby I’s be ordering some from you for sure 🙂

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