What is Olive Bread?

Mary McMahon

Olive bread is a type of bread which is made with the addition of olives, most commonly the Greek brine-cured olives known as kalamatas, although other varieties of olive are perfectly acceptable. There are a number of different varieties of olive bread, many of which are probably on offer at your local market or bakery. It is also possible to make olive bread at home, giving you greater control over the ingredients.

Wheat flour may be used to provide a nutty flavor to olive bread.
Wheat flour may be used to provide a nutty flavor to olive bread.

Among the many varieties of flavored bread, olive bread is quite popular. It is also extremely versatile. It can be used as a picnic bread, for example, in which case it may be smeared with cheese, dipped in dressings, or dressed with tapenades and other spreads. It can also be used as a table bread, in which case it may be served with oil and vinegar. Olive rolls are also quite common, and they can make a hearty snack when paired with a cheese like feta.

Blue cheese, which is commonly served with olive bread.
Blue cheese, which is commonly served with olive bread.

To make olive bread, bakers simply mix dough as they normally would, adding olives to the blend. Olives may also be pressed into the bread before it is baked, although they can be burned when this is done, so they are usually pressed into the bread before the second rising, allowing the bread to rise around the olives, shielding them from the direct heat of the oven. The olives may be whole or sliced, depending on personal taste, and they can be mixed with spices like rosemary or cheeses; blue cheese is a common choice.

Different types of olives.
Different types of olives.

The dough base for olive bread may be yeast or sourdough. Sourdough breads have a more chewy, filling texture which complements olives well, while the milder softer yeast doughs are perfectly acceptable. Some cooks may even mix in a bit of whole wheat flour for a hint of nutty flavor. Many olive breads are vegan, with simple doughs which contain just flour, water, oil, and salt.

Many olive breads are vegan.
Many olive breads are vegan.

If you want to make olive bread at home, start with a relatively simple bread recipe which you think would taste good with olives. If you aren't sure, make a plain loaf and try slices with an assortment of olive varieties on the side. Once you've mixed the dough, add in olives as desired, taking care to remove the pits. Some cooks halve their olives, to ensure that the pits are removed before baking. Allow the dough to rise and bake it as you normally would.

An olive tree.
An olive tree.

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Discussion Comments


I feel so deprived! I have never had olive bread and I love Italian and Greek food! Maybe it is kind of good that I haven't had it yet, because I would probably eat way too much of it!

I love the idea of a bread with kalamata olives in them. Greek olives are the only kind of olives that I like. I am getting hungry just thinking of this bread and the many ways delicious dips to dip it in.

I think I will try my first olive bread loaf with an olive oil and basil based bread dip. Then maybe marinara with feta cheese. These two ways seem like they would be a hit appetizer at any party!


The recipes I usually use to make olive bread use a little bit of molasses. This adds a little bit of natural sweetness to the taste.

There aren't too many things that a slice of this bread doesn't taste good with. I like to eat it with any kind of soup or salad.

If you like to eat toast in the morning for breakfast, this is a great alternative. A loaf of olive bread doesn't last long around our house - especially when you can eat it for every meal.


I love all kinds of bread and would have a hard time if I had to remove it from my diet. Olive bread just happens to be one of my favorites.

I even came across an olive bread recipe on the Panera Bread website. This recipe calls for kalamata olives, but I have also substituted nicoise olives that have tasted delicious as well.

Dipping slices of this bread in some olive oil bread dip is a perfect companion for any meal.


My family is Italian and when I was little, my brother and I would sneak into the kitchen at night to eat olive bread. My grandmother made this sourdough bread with olive oil and lots of olives and I've never tasted one as good since. It is the perfect bread in my opinion, you can have it any way.

I love to have it for a mid afternoon snack with feta cheese and fresh tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and a few sprinkles of oregano. It's also great as a sandwich bread, or as a panini with some fresh mozzarella cheese and basil pesto.

I can eat this bread everyday but I try not to make it too often because I eat too much of it. Olives do have a lot of fat and salt in them. It's really great for when you have guests over though. You can serve it as a pre-dinner appetizer with different cheeses.


@manykitties2 - Those ingredients for olive bread dipping oil sound delicious. I may try a bit of mixing and matching myself to see what tastes really good.

The bakery I go to sells a few varieties of olive bread. There is a version that is olive garlic and one that is listed as olive Italian bread. I haven't tried anything but basic olive bread yet, but I may start picking up a few more things at the bakery.

If you are looking for another delicious bread to try that makes use of olive oil though, I would go for focaccia bread. It is hearty and good for you.


Olive bread makes a delicious snack if you serve it with the right olive oil bread dip. Dipping oil mixes are pretty easy to put together yourself, and there is no harm in being a bit experimental if you are interested in trying new things.

My mother taught me that using olive oil as your base is the easiest way to get started. After that you can add things like chopped garlic, basil, crushed red pepper flakes and balsamic vinegar to your dip. My mom never used a recipe, just the mix and taste method, and her dips always turned out wonderfully.

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