Monday 1 February 2016

Olive and Pancetta Buns

Another portable, savoury snack... I picked up a tub of olives while I was shopping, and decided to throw them into a bread recipe. I also wanted to do some wholemeal bread...whenever I've tried before I've found that I have trouble getting it to rise. These actually came out really well, though I think they needed a "sweet" ingredient to counter the salty olive and ham...onion or tomato come to mind!

The other slight challenge was trying to form the buns without olives appearing in the surface, which led to holes. I've seen some people add a clear latyer of dough over the top, which seems a little complex to me! I reduced the water and oil content of this dough, to try and make it easier to shape, and that worked really well. I also made sure I had a nice, warm location for the proves, which definitely worked this time! I probably overdid the olive:pancetta ratio (I just threw in entire packs). As always for bread, I used a stand mixer to do all the hard work, then just finish the dough for a minute or two kneading by hand.

Olive and Pancetta Buns


  • 600g wholemeal flour
  • 7g fast-action yeast
  • 30ml olive oil
  • 5g salt
  • 350ml warm water
  • 130g pitted olives (Waitrose Essential!)
  • 60g diced pancetta 
  • Beaten egg to glaze
  • Poppy seeds

1) Ddd the flour, salt, olive oil and yeast to a stand mixer, with a dough hook attached.

2) Pour in the water, and mix with the dough hook for 8-10 minutes

3) Remove the dough from the mixer, and knead by hand for a couple of minutes (this lets you check that it's all fully mixed, and nice and stretchy).

4) Oil a large bowl, and put the ball of dough in it. Cover with clingfilm and prove for an hour in a warm room (dough should double in size)

5) Take the dough, knock it back, and usingthe balls of your hands form a rectangle.

6) Spread the olives and pancetta over the rectangle evenly, and press in.

7) Roll the rectangle up with the ingredients inside to form a "sausage" of dough

8) Chop the sausage into 12 slices

9) Take each slice and form into a ball, rolling it round on the surface with your hand. You may need to pinch some bits closed.

10) Place the balls on a baking tray in a 3 x 4 grid, evenly spaced

11) Prove for another hour

12) Pre-heat the oven to 230'C

13) Using a pastry brush, glaze the bread rolls with beaten egg

14) Sprinkle with poppy seeds

15) Place in the oven, and pour ~750ml of water into a pan at the bottom of the oven (to create steam)

16) Bake for 10 minutes at 230'C, then reduce the temperature to 200'C, and continue to bake for another 15 minutes.

17) Remove to a wire rack, and tear apart (I used a knife to help!)