Olive Bread (Eliopita)

4/5
about 6 hours
35-45 minutes
10 to 12 medium sized “eliopittes”

For the dough:
6 1/2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
6 1/2 tablespoons vegetable shortening (spry)
small pinch of salt
3/4 tbs of ground mastic
3/4 tbs of ground mehleb
2 large eggs
3 1/4 cups of milk
2 envelopes dry yeast
just under 1/8 cup of sugar
sesame seeds

For the filling:
1.5kg of pitted and chopped olives (Kalamata, Moroccan, Royal are recommended)
1 finely chopped onion
1/4 cup of olive oil
2 tbs ground dry mint

1. Prepare the filling. Add chopped olives, chopped onion, olive oil and dry mint into a large bowl. Mix and let rest while you prepare the dough.

2. Prepare the dough. Mix together the flour, mastic, mehleb and salt in a large bowl. Add the vegetable shortening and rub the shortening into the flour mixture with your fingers.

3. Dilute the yeast with 1 cup of warm milk and 1 tbs of sugar in a bowl making a very soft dough. Cover the same and let rise in a warm place for about 15 minutes until a light foam has formed on top.

4. In the meantime, warm the remaining milk with remaining sugar over the stove at low heat. Place in a large bowl.

5. Beat the eggs and add them to the milk. Keep this mixture warm until the yeast mixture has risen.

6. Once the yeast mixture has risen, add it to the flour mixture. Start adding the milk mixture slowly while mixing the dough with your hands. If the flour mixture needs more water, have some warm water at hand and add a little warm water if necessary.

7. Start kneading the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic. This will take about 10 to 15 minutes.

8. Cover with a blanket and let the dough rise for about 2 hours.

9. When the dough has risen, punch it down with your fists.

10. Cut a piece of dough the size of a small lemon. Roll it into into a rectangle approximately 9 inches long.

11. Place 2-3tbs in the lower half of the rectangle. Starting at the bottom of the rectangle, roll the dough towards the top of the rectangle forming a roll.

12. On a flat, clean surface sprinkle a generous amount of sesame seeds and pour a little water over top the sesame seeds to wet them.

13. Place the roll onto the sesame seeds covering it with sesame seeds, including the bottom of the roll.

14. Place on baking paper on a pan. Prepare all the “eliopittes” the same way. Once a pan is full, cover the same with a kitchen towel and let the “eliopittes” rise again for about 1 hour. Do the same with each full pan. It is important to let the “eliopittes” rise again before placing them in the oven to prevent them from becoming hard.

15. Preheat the oven to 160C. Lightly brush the top of each “eliopita” with egg wash and bake for 35-45 minutes. If you put the egg wash on top of the “eliopittes” before they have had time to rise again before placing into the oven, the egg wash will only make patches of your “eliopittes” glossy.

I love olives. The Cypriot “eliopita”, or olive bread, is a famous bread that many people love. You can find large “eliopittes”, small “eliopittes”, “eliopittes” with whole olives, pitted olives, sliced olives. There are a lot of different recipes for the “eliopita” and they will surface on this website with time. The particular recipe below is a tried and tested olive bread recipe, which you can make anywhere in the world – not just Cyprus.

This bread is all about the olives.  Love olives? This recipe is for you. The emphasis in this recipe is on the diced olive and onion mixture in the middle of the bread. As a result, it becomes more like an olive roulade. When you slice it, there is an equal balance of bread and olive. I would recommend using a combination of 3 types of olives: Kalamata, Moroccan and Royal olives. But if you don’t have these, any olive mixture will do!

2 Comments

  1. Love your site! I am a Cypriot-Caribbean located in Oakland, CA! Far away from good traditional Cypriot food but your recipes bring me back. Blessings Nichola

    1. Thanks so much Nichola! It’s in the process of being updated! So I hope you will enjoy the new website when it launches!

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