Olive Flatbread – from Ali Benammar – Family Flavours

In my July 2014 newsletter I featured Chef and Baker Ali Benammar, whose cookbook ‘Family Flavours’ has now become my trusted kitchen companion. My olive flatbreads didn’t turn out quite as beautiful and perfect as the ones in Ali’s book. Also, after deciding to make them, I realised I didn’t have enough white flour, so mine were made of half white-half wholemeal flour and, I confess, I used half black and half green olives. Even so, they tasted absolutely delicious. I made a double batch, half of which I later placed in a bag and put in the freezer. They worked perfectly from freezer direct to toaster. So what I’m really trying to say is : make them, they’re fantastic!


500g strong bread flour

25g sea salt

2 tsp olive oil

40g fresh or dry yeast

200g small pitted black olives

350 ml water

300g semolina (50 gms for dusting). (The semolina gives this bread a lovely crunchy crust)

Put all the ingredients in the bowl and knead for 15-20 minutes. The dough is ready when it is springy and not sticky. Dust the table top with semolina and roll the dough in it. I split the dough into small balls which I then flattened to be 1cm thick and placed on lightly floured trays (you can also use trays lined with greaseproof paper).

Cover the flattened dough balls with a kitchen towel and leave in a warm place to rise for about 40 minutes.

Preheat oven to 190°c. Remove the towel and put the trays in the oven. Bake 25-30 minutes. Tap the top of the breads with your fingers. If they sound hollow and are a nice golden colour- they’re ready. If not, return to the over for another 5-10 minutes.

Serve hot, with olive oil for dipping and a beautiful salad on the side.


Apple and walnut soda bread

This loaf is so easy to make and requires little time! In about 40 minutes you can have a freshly baked, fragrant loaf to serve with your meal. Unlike most soda breads this one is nice and moist with a delicate sweetness.  It’s delicious with melted cheese and soup or simply sliced and toasted for breakfast with butter and honey.

150g plain flour

200g wholemeal flour

½ tsp salt

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 apples peeled and grated

50g butter melted

2 tbsp honey

1 egg, beaten

250ml apple juice

50g chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 180c. Grease a baking tin ( approx 20cm x 10cm) with butter and a dusting of flour. Combine flour, salt and soda and add the grated apple. Top with butter, honey, egg,  juice and nuts ( saving a few to sprinkle on the top) ,gently fold all the ingredients together but don’t over –mix. Spoon into the prepared tin, sprinkle the reserved nuts on the top, bake for 30 mins or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let it cool for 10-15 minutes before removing from the tin and serving.

Salt-free Tuscan Bread

This recipe is from Erez Komarovski’s new “Book of Baking” available in Hebrew from Keter Publications. It is simple to make, and well worth the effort.


650 grams Pizza and Focaccia flour

350 gr. pasta flour

30 gr. fresh yeast (I used dried yeast with very good results)

750 ml. cold water

4 tbs. olive oil

Method (for a bread-machine):

Mix flour and yeast with water on ‘slow’ for about 10 mins., and for 5 mins. more on speed 2. Add oil and continue mixing for another minute. Cover and allow to prove for at least 1 hour.

Divide dough into 4 balls, cover for 20 minutes.

On a well-floured surface, knead each ball into an elongated tight loaf with pointed ends, then cover for about 1 hour.

Heat oven to 240 degrees C. Place a tin of water, appr. half a cup, at the bottom of the oven. Make a cut through the length of each loaf; place on a floured baking sheet in the very hot oven. Bake till done – 25-30 mins. Cool on a rack.