Author of new book shares sun-dried tomato and black olive sourdough recipe

Roly Allen only baked his first sourdough loaf in his mid 40s because he’d been made redundant and needed a healthy pursuit while he got back on his feet.

Picture:  Ida Riveros
Picture: Ida Riveros

He has now released a book - How To Raise a Loaf and Fall in Love with Sourdough, it contains instructions on how to make rye loaves, sourdough pizza, grissini, rolls and more, as well as suggesting surprising flavours (think chocolate, tomato, olives and linseed) to incorporate into your sourdough bakes.

It was particularly the positive outcome of baking a delicious loaf that he describes as 'life-saving', as this creative process which had very tangible results. The book is his way of sharing this experience, and spreading the joy or making something wholesome and good that can be enjoyed by your family and friends.

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The benefits of the book are more than physical, and Roly, who lives in Hove, hopes to encourage new bakers (or experienced bakers looking for new ideas) to get stuck in and truly enjoy a satisfying process.

The book is published by Laurence King and is released on May 28

To order visit Waterstones hereHere Roly shares a recipe for sun-dried tomato and black olive sourdough...

"Fragrant, colourful and packed with Mediterranean aromas, this bread begs to be ripped up and dipped into olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or paired with a strong hard cheese such as pecorino or Manchego. You don’t need fresh olives from the deli counter: pitted black olives in brine will do just fine."


150g starter

40ml olive oil

300ml warm water

100g pitted black olives, chopped

100g sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

500g strong white bread flour

7.5g (1½ tsp) fine salt

large pinch of dried oregano

rice flour or semolina, for dusting


1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the starter, olive oil and warm water together. When the starter has dissolved, mix in the chopped olives and sun-dried tomatoes.

2. In another large bowl, mix the flour with the salt and the dried oregano. Add this to the wet mixture and mix well with your hand until the ingredients are evenly distributed in the dough. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave to rest for 30 minutes.

3. Wet your hands, then pull, fold and rotate the dough eight to ten times, so that it forms a ball. Leave to rest for 10 minutes.

4. Repeat Step 3 twice so that you’ve worked the dough three times and it has rested for an hour in total.

5. Dust a proving basket liberally with rice flour or semolina. Wet your fingers, work them around the bottom of the ball of dough, and gently transfer it to the proving basket, keeping the seam upwards.

6. Cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place to prove. Depending on the temperature and the activity of the yeast, it may take three to six hours to gain about 50 per cent in size.

7. When the loaf has proved, preheat the oven to 230°C (210°C fan)/gas mark 8, with a heavy baking tray or baking stone on the middle shelf, and add a source of steam. Turn the loaf out of the proving basket onto the heated surface, cut it twice across the top with a sharp blade or scissors, then place it in the oven.

8. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 210°C (190°C fan)/gas mark 6 and bake for another 40 minutes, or until the loaf is done and sounds hollow on the base when tapped with a fingertip. Leave to cool on a wire rack before eating.

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