Lying at the head of the Messenian Gulf in southern Greece, Kalamáta is the second most populous city of the Peloponnese. This city is famous all over the planet for wonderful ‘’Kalamáta olives’’ which originated here and have been cultivated in the area for many centuries. They are now protected under the European ‘’Protected Geographical Status’’ scheme.
In Greece Kalamáta olives are mostly eaten as a snack, at branch or lunch, or as a mezedes for drinks, but they are also used in cooking some regional stews and, of course, in olive breads. From time to time my mother would make sourdough olive bread for the family and she would also make some olive bread sticks for me; I have always loved their crust!
Since not everyone is familiar with sourdough, I will give you the yeast version which is, in my opinion, just as good.
Olive bread sticks
Makes about 10 bread sticks:
250gr all purpose flour, plus some for dusting
200gr tepid water
5gr dry yeast
1Tbsp olive oil
150gr Kalamáta olives, pitted and halved
1tsp dry thyme
In a mixer bowl, put the flour, yeast and salt. Add the tepid water, and olive oil, and with hook attachment fitted, mix for 5-7min on medium speed. Add olives and thyme to the dough and mix until well incorporated.
Transfer the dough into an oiled bowl, cover and place at a warm spot and leave until tripled in size, - about an hour.
Carefully, transfer the risen dough to a working area well dusted with flour. It will be very loose but it’s fine. Flatten the dough with your palms to a rectangle, being careful not to break the air bubbles in the dough. Cut 10 strips of dough and transfer them to the baking trays lined with baking paper, leaving some space between them for the final rise. Cover the baking trays with kitchen towels and place them in a warm spot for about 20-30min until risen. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 220 C.
Bake for 15-20 minutes and then let cool on wire rack.