You would think that I’m done talking about gifts. Sorry, there is one more, a super special gift received from Celia, the bread baking Goddess Extraordinaire from Australia, hostess of the equally extraordinaire food blog Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.  She found out that it was my birthday last month (full disclosure: I told her), and sent me a bread cookbook: Josey Baker Bread.   I was traveling at the time, but could not wait to get my hands on some flour, salt, and yeast to put my gift to use.  Of course, my first thought was sourdough, but we’ve been so busy lately, that every Wednesday would come and go, and I never remembered to revive my starter, hibernating in a – 20°C freezer.  Finally, I could not wait any longer, and tried one of the simpler recipes using commercial yeast.  This is by far one of the easiest breads you can make. All it takes is preparing a pre-ferment with whole-wheat flour, allowing that to sit at room temperature overnight, then proceed with a no-knead formula next day.


OVERVIEW OF THE RECIPE: to make this bread, you will start by mixing whole wheat flour with water and a little commercial yeast.  That mixture will bubble away overnight, and will be part of the final dough, which contains only white flour, a little salt, lemon zest, fresh rosemary, and of course black olives.  I actually omitted the rosemary because I did not have any at home then.  I increased the amount of lemon zest, but other than that the recipe was followed to a T.

It is essentially a no-knead bread, with a very flexible schedule as far as preparing the dough and baking it. This is one of the things I loved the most about his cookbook: Josey offers a timetable for all his recipes, so that you can adjust making bread to your own schedule, no matter how busy you are. If you rather stay up late to bake, follow one particular timing. If you prefer to bake first thing in the morning, follow another one. Baking in the end of the afternoon? At lunch time? It’s all doable. Part of the beauty of working with yeast. If you are new to bread baking, this book will be perfect for you, because it totally demystifies the process. Reading the book is the closest thing to having a class on bread baking given by a pro who behaves more like a friend, not a snotty professor. Yeap, that is what Josey Baker’s book is all about.

If you want the full recipe, it is available online, reprinted with permission from Josey on this site.


For a no-knead bread, the crumb has quite a nice structure, and the taste is wonderful!  The lemon zest was very prominent, and I think rosemary would make this bread perfect. But I would never substitute dried rosemary because I dislike its texture. In fact, one of the spices I rarely use in dried form is rosemary for that very reason.  Unless it is part of mixes such as Herbes de Provence, but in that case it is pretty much pulverized and the drawback of harsh texture is eliminated. Still, get your hands on some fresh rosemary, grab your bag of flour and make this bread. The smell while it bakes is out of this world delicious! And refrain from grabbing one of those olives that will be peeking on the surface of the loaf.  It is bad bread etiquette, and resisting that temptation builds character. HA!

Celia, thanks so much for the thoughtful gift! Special friends make getting one year older “almost’ painless…

ONE YEAR AGO: Almonds, a Cookbook Review

TWO YEARS AGO: Pumpkin Shrimp Curry

THREE YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, April 2012


FIVE YEARS AGO: Banana Bread



  1. I’m not fond of olives but the bread sounds tasty and looks it otherwise. I wish two bad winters hadn’t killed my original rosemary plant and its replacement. Maybe I should try again. 🙂


  2. Ha, indeed. I will have to share that character building suggestion with my husband. But I fear it’s hopeless by now as each year my fruitcakes get more and more of the crater look by the time I’m packaging them. I have to specially mark the perfect ones lest I gift one of his attacked ones. 🙂


    • My beloved husband prefers to attack my carefully hidden precious things such as dried Mission figs, Marcona almonds, you know the super hard to find and pricey stuff. By the time I go to make the recipe, I find 2 figs staring at me from the very bottom of the package. He never finishes it, oh no… 😉


    • THank you! I love birthdays! I like to cook a nice dinner on my Birthday just for the two of us, but we were away this year, so dinner was quite spectacular…. should talk about it soon…


  3. Ah, yes, rosemary – agreed, it would be delightful here with the olive. I don’t mind dry rosemary but I know exactly what you mean about the texture and how it might be abrasive for some. The crust looks gorgeous on this loaf Sally and how did you guess that I would absolutely be one to pluck a poking olive from the top? 😉


  4. Love the bread, but might be tempted to throw in a handful of walnuts along with the rosemary, lemon and olives. Just ‘cuz, though your loaf looks amazing. Thanks for the link to the recipe.


    • OH, walnuts would be AMAZING in this bread… funny that you mentioned because I almost did that, but decided that with being no knead and all, maybe it could be too much for the structure of the crumb. ON a sourdough with enough folding cycles, I’d go for it


    • Very flexible – I did not want to print the whole thing without permission – I asked JOsey but unfortunately he never got back to me, so I refrained from going into too much detail. His table of possible schedules is great…


  5. From your description, I can almost smell the freshly baked bread. Mmmmmm!! I need to find time to make this. No kneading sounds good to me!


    • no kneading helps a lot, but I made another recipe from his book and included ONE cycle of folding (not kneading) – and it improved oven lift quite a bit. Will blog about it sometime.


    • Great, good that you found it… I don’t have a bread machine, so all my recipes in the blog are either made with a Kitchen Aid or by hand (usually folding instead of kneading)

      Hope you give this recipe a try…. 🙂


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