Olive Sticks

This is a recipe from Paul Hollywood’s new book ‘How to Bake’ which, by the way, is really good!  Every recipe I have tried so far has been spot on and in it lies the best lemon drizzle cake I have ever baked (saving that for another day).  However, I have been wooing my friends with these olive sticks, which look a bit odd (at a friend’s party I heard them referred to as ‘dog chews’.  She nearly got a poke in the eye from one….grr).  However, they taste lovely especially when dipped in some oil/balsamic.

olive sticks paul hollywood

The dough is really wet, so don’t be put off by it, but persevere.  You will need a mixer/kitchenaid for this recipe.

So, put 500g of strong white flour in a bowl and on opposite sides, 10 g of fast-action yeast and 10 g of salt.  Mix on a slow speed and gradually pour in 300 ml tepid water.  When the dough starts to come together add a further 100 ml of tepid water.  Using my kitchenaid, I mix for 5 mins on a slow/medium speed (no 3).  The dough should become wet and stretchy.  Then add 2 tbsp of olive oil and mix for another 2 minutes.  In my experience it now becomes very odd and flaps around the bowl, but don’t fret!

Drain a large jar of pitted green olives and add to the dough mixing slowly until they are well distributed.  Sort of.  Then put the whole lot into an oiled tub, clingfilm and leave for at least an hour until the dough has tripled in size.

While you are waiting line 3/4 baking trays with baking parchment and heavily flour the work surface and add a shake of semolina too, if you have some.

paul hollywood olive sticksTip the dough gently on to the floured surface and flour the top of the dough too.  Gently as you can, stretch the dough into a vague rectangle and then cut it into about 3cm strips.  I usually end up with 15.  Carefully transport each strip onto the baking trays, stretching it out to about 20cm.  Cover loosely with a plastic bag (or I stick two trays into a bin liner which works well) and leave to prove for 30 mins.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200ºC.  Bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly golden and cool on a wire rack.  You may need to test one while they are still warm….just to make sure ;)

I have tied some with raffia and taken them to friends’ for drinks and nibbles or even presented the whole lot in a basket.  But usually, we just scoff the lot at home.  They are very moorish.  I did try them with black olives, but I think they are much nicer with green.  When I am feeling flush I might buy some better quality olives and see if it makes a difference..

Do try these – they are relatively quick and easy to make and are just soooo nice.  Well, if you like olives.


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