This crusty gluten free olive bread is incredibly easy to make and, as it only requires a single rise, it’s ready in about 2 hours! It has a wonderfully soft, chewy crumb and a crisp, golden crust. The olive oil and a generous amount of olives in the dough give it a fantastic flavour, so it’s really guaranteed to be a hit with everyone, regardless of whether or not they follow a gluten free diet. And it’s vegan too!
Nothing beats a loaf of freshly baked homemade bread – and this gluten free olive bread is a huge favourite of mine. I just love every single thing about it, and I’m sure you will too. From its crisp, golden crust to the soft, slightly chewy interior… and don’t even get me started on the seriously INCREDIBLE flavour.
There’s no doubt about it: the olives are definitely the star of the show here. I kept the flavourings fairly simple, just by adding some olive oil and a small mountain of chopped olives to the base dough. However, you could easily play around with other herbs and spices, such as garlic powder, dried oregano, rosemary, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika… the options are pretty much endless.
Here’s what makes this gluten free olive bread recipe so amazing:
- It’s incredibly easy. There’s honestly nothing complicated or difficult about this recipe. You just need to knead together all the ingredients, add the olives, shape the dough into a ball, proof and then bake! And I’ve made sure to include detailed instructions and all my top tips in the recipe below to make your life even easier.
- Quick to make – ready in about 2 hours! This bread requires just a single rise, which means that it takes only about 2 hours from start to perfectly baked bread.
- It’s incredibly flavourful. The gluten free flours themselves (especially sorghum and millet flours) add a lovely flavour, but its the olive oil and the abundance of olives that really make it *shine*.
- The perfect texture: a soft, chewy crumb with a crisp crust that isn’t too hard or too crunchy. While I love a crunchy crust on a rustic loaf of bread (like with my Ultimate Gluten Free Artisan-Style Bread), I wanted the crust on this one to be a bit softer – still crisp immediately out of the oven, but not too crunchy. However, if you prefer a crunchier crust, you can bake the bread at a slightly higher oven temperature during the second part of baking, at 425ºF (220ºC) instead of 400ºF (200ºC).
- IT’S PACKED WITH OLIVES!! I’ve added one generous cup of roughly chopped olives to this bread – after all, if I’m making an *olive* bread, then I want an olive in every single bite I take. And with this bread, that’s basically guaranteed.
- You don’t need to use a mixer (though you can if you want to). Using a stand mixer will definitely make the whole process quicker and less labour-intensive but you can also easily knead this dough by hand. Whichever option you choose, both will work great!
- It’s a hit even with non-gluten-free folks. Honestly, everyone loves this bread, regardless of whether or not they have to follow a gluten free diet. It’s just a very VERY delicious loaf of olive bread with a fantastic texture and flavour… what’s not to love?
Before we get to the bits and bobs of making this amazing bread – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!
Note: the whole recipe, including the ingredient quantities, can be found at the bottom of this page – just scroll down to the bottom, or click the ‘Jump to Recipe’ button at the top of this post.
How to make THE BEST gluten free olive bread
Making this gluten free olive bread is honestly incredibly easy. You can use a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook but you can also make it by hand – either option works great.
Here’s a quick overview of the whole process (for all the details and ingredient quantities, check out the recipe at the bottom of the page):
- Make the psyllium gel by combining the psyllium husk and water. After you’ve mixed them together, a gel will form within 15-20 seconds.
- Combine all the dry ingredients (gluten free flours, sugar, salt and instant yeast) in a large bowl and whisk them together until evenly combined.
- Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the psyllium gel, warm water, apple cider vinegar and olive oil.
- Knead it all together until you get a smooth, supple dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Make sure that there are no unmixed patches of dry flour.
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it’s about ½ inch (about 1.5cm) thick and scatter on the roughly chopped olives.
- Roll it up and then give it a gentle knead. This will help to get the olives evenly distributed throughout the bread.
- Shape the bread into a ball. For more details about shaping gluten free bread loaves and helpful step-by-step images, check out the Ultimate Gluten Free Artisan-Style Bread blog post!
- Place the bread, seam side up, into a lightly floured 7-inch (18cm) proofing basket.
- Cover it with a clean, damp dish towel or plastic wrap/cling film, and proof in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Turn the proofed bread out of the proofing basket and score it with a sharp knife or, ideally, a bread lame.
- And then: bake! I recommend baking the bread on a pre-heated cast iron skillet but a Dutch oven will work too – the recipe below includes detailed instructions for both. (I’ve found that the bread has a better oven spring in a skillet compared to a Dutch oven.) First, bake it at 480ºF (250ºC) with steam for 15 minutes, and then at 400ºF (200ºC) without steam for about 40 minutes. All baking set-up details are in the recipe card below.
- Allow the bread to cool before slicing into it – and enjoy!
Top tips for the perfect gluten free olive bread
Here are the most important things to keep in mind when making this recipe:
- Use finely ground gluten free flours. They should have a fine texture – like a typical flour or a fine powder, not coarse like polenta. Coarsely ground flours don’t absorb moisture very well, which can result in a runny, very sticky dough that’s difficult to handle.
- If possible, use whole psyllium husk, not psyllium husk powder. However, if you do use psyllium husk powder, use only 85% of the quantity listed in the recipe (that is, reduce the amount by 15%). That’s because the powder form absorbs more moisture and forms a stiffer gel, so you need to use less of it. Note that there is no substitute for psyllium husk!! You can read more about the role of psyllium husk in gluten free baking here.
- Use “blond” psyllium husk as it won’t add any colour to your bread. Other types of psyllium husk can sometimes add a brown or even a purple colour to your bakes.
- Make sure that your oven is correctly calibrated and use an oven thermometer to check if necessary. Ovens can often run hot or cold, and they can sometimes deviate quite a lot from the temperature you set them to. So, I recommend using an oven thermometer to ensure that you bake the bread at the correct temperature(s).
- Add a few ice cubes around the bread on the cast iron skillet to improve oven spring. The ice cubes act as a steam source close to the bread, which (along with the baking tray with hot water at the bottom of the oven) keeps the crust supple for long enough so that the bread can expand for the final time before the yeast activity is destroyed by the high heat. This will ensure that you get a gorgeous, tall loaf with an open, soft crumb.
- If you don’t have a cast iron skillet or a Dutch oven, a hot baking sheet will work in a pinch. The benefit of cast iron is that it holds on to heat really well, which improves oven spring. However, you can still make fantastic bread without it – just follow the instructions for using a skillet below and use a large baking sheet instead.
- To determine when your bread is done, I recommend weighing it. I go into more detail about why the weight of the bread is a good (if not the best) indicator for when the bread is perfectly baked in my gluten free cookbook – but in short: you want your bread to lose enough moisture during baking to prevent a sticky interior, and that’s best determined by weighing it. For this specific bread, aim for a final weight (directly out of the oven) of about 790g, which corresponds to a weight loss of about 14%.
- Allow the bread to cool completely (or at least until it’s lukewarm) before cutting into it. Cooling is a very important step in gluten free bread making, as it gives the bread crumb time to set. This way, you’ll get a beautifully open, soft, chewy texture when you slice into it. On the other hand, if you cut into a hot loaf of gluten free bread, the inside can be quite sticky, as the crumb hasn’t had the time to fully set.
Although all the ingredients in the recipe should be easily accessible either in your local grocery store or online, I still wanted to include a list of substitutions you can make. (NOTE: all substitutions should be made by weight and not by volume.)
- Psyllium husk: YOU CAN’T SUBSTITUTE IT WITH A DIFFERENT INGREDIENT. But, if you use psyllium husk powder as opposed to the rough husk form, use only 85% of the weight listed in the recipe (that is, reduce the amount by 15%). Note that you don’t have to change the amount of water used to make the psyllium gel.
- Instant yeast: You can use active dry yeast, but you’ll need to activate it first before adding it to the dough. Use the warm water you’d otherwise add along with the psyllium gel, vinegar and olive oil to activate the yeast – and to boost the yeast activity, add about a teaspoon of the sugar to the water-yeast mixture.
- Apple cider vinegar: You can use other types of vinegar, although I recommend sticking to apple cider vinegar if at all possible.
- Tapioca starch: You can use an equal weight of cornstarch, potato starch or arrowroot starch instead.
- Sorghum flour: You can use an equal weight of light buckwheat flour, white teff flour or oat flour instead (the latter only if you’re not sensitive to oats).
- Millet flour: You can use an equal weight of finely ground/milled brown rice flour instead.
A note on measurements (tl;dr: if possible, use a scale)
While I’ve included the volume measurements (US cups and spoons) in the recipe card below, if at all possible (and I really cannot overemphasise this): USE METRIC GRAM MEASUREMENTS IF YOU CAN.
They’re much more precise and produce more reliably delicious results. This is true for pretty much all of baking: a kitchen scale will invariably give better results than cups and tablespoons.
And there you have it: everything you need to know in order to make a truly fabulous gluten free olive bread. It’s absolutely fantastic enjoyed plain, but you can also serve it with a dipping oil or use it to make a flavour-packed sandwich.
I really hope you’ll love it as much as I do.
More amazing gluten free bread recipes
If you’re looking for more fabulous gluten free bread recipes (that taste, look and handle like PROPER bread), you’re definitely in the right place!
In addition to the recipes listed below, make sure to also check out my gluten free cookbook, Baked to Perfection, as it has a whole chapter all about gluten free bread. It includes recipes such as burger buns, proper pizza, bagels, flatbread, cinnamon rolls, artisan loaves, baguettes and more – and it’s all gluten free!
- The Ultimate Gluten Free Artisan-Style Bread
- Gluten Free Seeded Loaf (Mixed Seed Bread)
- The Softest Gluten Free Dinner Rolls
- Easy Gluten Free Flour Tortillas (just 5 Ingredients!)
- Easy Gluten Free Soft Pretzels
- The Ultimate Gluten Free Vegan Cinnamon Rolls
- The Ultimate Gluten Free Jelly Doughnuts (Fried Yeast Donuts)
- Gluten Free Boston Cream Doughnuts
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Easy Gluten Free Olive Bread
- 20 g (¼ cup) whole psyllium husk (If using psyllium husk powder, use only 17g.)
- 390 g (1½ cups + 2 tbsp) warm water, divided
- 125 g (1 cup + 1½ tbsp) tapioca starch (You can use an equal weight of arrowroot starch, cornstarch or potato starch instead.)
- 105 g (¾ cup + 1 tbsp) sorghum flour (You can use an equal weight of light buckwheat flour, white teff flour or oat flour instead. Use the latter only if you're not sensitive to oats.)
- 90 g (⅔ cup) millet flour, plus extra for flouring the surface and the proofing basket (You can use an equal weight of finely milled/ground brown rice flour instead.)
- 15 g (4 tsp) granulated sugar
- 8 g (2½ tsp) instant yeast (If using active dry yeast, use 10g.)
- 8 g (1½ tsp) table or sea salt
- 10 g (2 tsp) apple cider vinegar
- 12 g (1 tbsp) olive oil
- 135 g (1 heaping cup) roughly chopped olives (You can use black olives, green olives, or a mix of the two.)
Making the gluten free dough:
- You can prepare the dough using a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment or by hand.
- In a bowl, mix together the psyllium husk and 240 g (1 cup) water. After about 15-20 seconds, a gel will form.
- In a large bowl (or the bowl of the stand mixer, if using it), whisk together the tapioca starch, sorghum flour, millet flour, sugar, yeast and salt, until evenly combined.
- Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the psyllium gel, vinegar, oil and the remaining water. Knead the dough until smooth and it starts coming away from the sides of the bowl, about 5-10 minutes. Make sure that there are no unmixed patches of dry flour.
Incorporating the olives:
- Transfer the bread to a lightly floured surface and roll it out until it's about ½ inch (about 1.5cm) thick. The exact dimensions of the rolled-out dough aren't important.
- Scatter the roughly chopped olives evenly across the dough and then roll it up, so that all the olives are fully enclosed by the dough.
- Give the dough a gentle knead. This will help to get the olives evenly distributed throughout the bread. If any olive pieces fall out of the dough, just press them back in.
Shaping and proofing the bread:
- Shape the bread into a ball, then flip it seam side down onto a part of the work surface that isn't covered in flour and rotate it in place between your palms to seal the seams. For more details about shaping gluten free bread loaves and helpful step-by-step images, check out the Ultimate Gluten Free Artisan-Style Bread blog post!Tip: You can knead the dough until you're happy with its shape and the smoothness of its surface, just be careful not to incorporate too much extra flour as that can make the final baked bread too dense and dry.
- Place the dough into a 7-inch (18cm) round proofing basket that you’ve dusted with some millet flour with the seams facing upwards. Cover with a clean dish towel or a sheet of plastic wrap/cling film and proof in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.Tip 1: If you don't have a proofing basket, use a similarly sized mixing bowl (about 7-inches/18cm in diameter) and line it with a clean dish towel. Lightly dust the dish towel with some millet flour before placing the bread into it.Tip 2: The exact proofing time will depend on the temperature of your kitchen – if your kitchen is very warm, the bread will rise faster; if it's on the colder side, the bread will rise slower. The bread needs to approximately double in size/volume before it goes into the oven.
The baking set-up:
- While the loaf is proofing, pre-heat the oven to 480ºF (250ºC) with a cast iron skillet on the middle oven rack or a Dutch oven/combo cooker on the lower middle rack. If you’re using a skillet, place a baking tray on the bottom rack of the oven. Tip: If you don't have a cast iron skillet or a Dutch oven, you can use a large baking sheet instead (you just might get a slightly flatter loaf due to reduced oven spring). In that case, follow the instructions for using the skillet.
Scoring and baking the bread:
- Once the dough has doubled in volume, turn it out of the proofing basket onto a piece of parchment/baking paper and score the top about ¼-½ inch deep, using a bread lame or sharp knife. Take the hot cast iron skillet or Dutch oven/combo cooker out of the oven and then transfer the bread along with the baking paper into it.
- If using a cast iron skillet: place the skillet in the oven, pour hot water into the bottom baking tray, add 3-4 ice cubes around the bread (between the parchment/baking paper and the skillet), and close the oven door.
- If using a Dutch oven/combo cooker: add 3-4 ice cubes around the bread (between the baking/greaseproof paper and the walls of the Dutch oven/combo cooker) and close it, then place it into the pre-heated oven.
- Bake at 480ºF (250ºC) with steam for 15 minutes – don’t open the Dutch oven or the oven doors during this initial period, as that would allow the steam to escape out of the oven.
- After the 15 minutes, remove the bottom tray with water from the oven (for cast iron skillet) or uncover the Dutch oven/combo cooker, reduce the oven temperature to 400ºF (200ºC), and bake for a further 40-45 minutes in a steam-free environment. The final loaf should be of a golden brown colour and weigh about 790g immediately out of the oven (about 14% weight loss).Tip 1: For a crunchier crust, you can bake the bread at a slightly higher oven temperature during this second part of baking, at 425ºF (220ºC) instead of 400ºF (200ºC).Tip 2: Weighing the loaf tells you whether the bread has lost enough moisture to have a beautiful soft, open, non-sticky crumb. I've found this to be the most reliable method of determining when gluten free bread is done. Read more about it in my gluten free cookbook!
- Transfer the loaf onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely or at least until lukewarm, before cutting into it.
- The gluten free olive bread keeps well in a closed container or wrapped in a clean dish towel in a cool dry place for 3-4 days.For best texture, I recommend toasting it on days 3 and 4.