Does it get much better than homemade bread? These homemade breadsticks with olives are delicious and I wasn’t surprised that my kids loved them as all three of them love olives – which is perhaps surprising when you consider the long list of things that they claim not to like.
Do your kids like olives?
Olives might seem like an unlikely thing for a child to love. I don’t think I even tried an olive until I was in my late teens yet my kids absolutely love them. Even R, who won’t eat fruit or many vegetables, would gladly eat a whole jar of olives if I let him. Olives are of course a bit salty so I don’t.
While writing up this recipe I thought I’d take a look at how the salt levels in olives compare to other salty snacks. In case you’re wondering a 15g serving of olives has more salt than a typical-sized bag of crisps. However, olives are reported to have plenty of health benefits, including high levels of vitamin E so I’ll continue to include them in my kids’ diet – it’s all about balance right?
Olives are actually a fruit
Did you know that olives are actually a fruit? They’re a bit like tomatoes, in that although they are a fruit they are treated in cooking as a vegetable and so I still consider this to be a good hidden veg recipe and is definitely one that is worth trying if you have a picky eater.
I make a batch of these every so often to add to my freezer stash for serving with soup and putting in lunch boxes. They’re also delicious alongside a mezze style meal with salad, cheese and hummus. I particularly like them when they’re warm straight out of the oven but the kids loved them both warm and cold.
I like to add a little spelt flour when I bake bread. By using three quarters strong white flour and one quarter spelt flour the bread rises well and has a lovely mild wholemeal texture. And I know that my kids are getting a little bit of wholemeal goodness from the spelt when they eat these. Remember that if you use a different type of flour you may need more or less water than I’ve used in the recipe below as absorption levels vary.
It’s also worth mentioning that I make these in a stand mixer. I do enjoy kneading bread but I’m increasingly finding that time to cook and bake is short and using my stand mixer means that I can get on with other exciting jobs like the washing up while the mixer does its work. I have a Sage Scraper Mixer* which I won in a competition a couple of years ago and it’s transformed my baking. I think I’m a bit lazy when I make bread and cakes by hand and the results from the mixer are so much better.
Here’s how to make homemade breadsticks with olives:
Homemade olive breadsticks
- 300 g strong white flour
- 100 g wholemeal spelt flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 7g sachet of instant yeast
- 240 ml water plus extra if needed
- 1.5 tbsp olive oil
- 100 g black or green pitted olives or a mix, chopped
Fit your stand mixer with a dough hook.
Place the flour, salt, yeast and most of the water into the bowl of your stand mixer. Start mixing on a slow speed. If you need to add a little more water. The dough shouldn't be too sticky.
Turn the speed to medium and mix for five minutes.
Add the olive oil and mix for a further 2 minutes.
Add the chopped olives and mix until combined. You may need to use your hands to get the olives into the dough.
Transfer to an oiled bowl and cover with a damp tea towel or cling film until doubled in size (around an hour).
Line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
Tip out onto an oiled work surface and stretch out with your hands into a large rectangle.
Cut into 12 strips and place on the two baking trays.
Leave to prove for 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C (fan)/220°C/gas mark 7.
Bake for 10-15 minutes until turning golden brown.
Leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
Can be frozen.
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