Paleo Artisan Olive Bread

Artisan bread baked in a pot is as old as the hills, and it’s even easier in an oven. This olive loaf tastes just like your favorite Mediterranean bakery, except it’s grain-free, gluten-free, no-yeast and super-easy to make! Nutrient dense and delicious, the secret ingredients are almond meal, chia seeds, and egg. Instead of yeast for leavening, it uses old-fashioned baking soda and apple cider vinegar.

Pot baking essentially steams the bread, so it stays moist and rises more than dry-baking. I used a Le Creuset 22 cm (3.5 quart) pot because it is heavy and really retains heat, however any medium sized pot will do if it has a tight-fitting lid. It’s important to start with the pot in the oven, and both preheated to 425° F. Bake covered for 20 minutes, and then another 20 minutes with the lid off to give it a crust. It’s that simple! This bread tastes amazing with my Paleo Vegan Cream Cheese. Keep it for about 6 days in the refrigerator. Or freeze it with a piece of parchment paper between the slices for up to 3 months. The recipe makes one loaf about 8” round. Serves 6.

Paleo Artisan Olive Bread

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Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs, pastured organic, if possible
  • 1/4 cup white chia seeds, ground
  • 2 teaspoons unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups almond meal, or a bit more if needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon unprocessed salt
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (optional for a crunchy texture)
  • 1/2 cup olives, coarsely chopped or sliced

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F with your pot in the oven. It’s important for the pot to reach 425°F temperature, because the pot is the “oven”.
  2. Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the chia seeds, vinegar, and olive oil. Allow the mixture to sit for at least 15 minutes while the chia seeds expand and thicken.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl stir together the dry ingredients: almond meal, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin seeds, if using. Stir well, and add the olives.
  4. Put the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well. If the dough seems too loose, stir in a bit more almond meal until the dough is the texture of thick cooked oatmeal.
  5. Flour your hands well with almond meal. Roll the dough into a smooth ball and place on a piece of parchment paper.
  6. Make two criss-cross cuts with a sharp knife in the top of the bread just before baking. The slashes across the top crust help the bread to rise freely, and prevent random cracking of the crust.
  7. Be EXTREMELY careful at this point, using heavy pot-holders to avoid burns: Remove the pre-heated pot from the oven. Pick up the bread by the parchment paper corners and place it gently in the pot. Don’t drop it in or it will flatten, and you want it to rise as high and round as possible. Quickly cover the pot and place it in the oven.
  8. Set the timer and bake about 20 minutes. Then remove the pot cover and bake for an additional 15 - 20 minutes until the crust is golden brown.
  9. Remove the bread from the pot and allow it to cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes. Slice and enjoy!