Braided Olive and Harissa Bread

A very special bread recipe which is a bit of a showstopper. Braided bread with layers of harissa and chilli oil and juicy little olives nestling inside.

braided-olive-and-harissa-bread 1

The bread looks complicated but don’t be scared – it’s actually pretty simple to make.

The trickiest part is the folding, as it can be a little messy, but just get in there and fold one piece over the other.

Again, don’t worry if it’s not perfect, just wrap into a snail shape and you will get a striking loaf.

Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Love, Niki xxx.

braided-olive-and-harissa-bread 1a

Braided Olive and Harissa Bread

A very special bread recipe which is a bit of a showstopper. Braided bread with layers of harissa and chilli oil and juicy little olives nestling inside.
Prep time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Serves 8
5 from 1 vote


  • 120 ml warm water
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 7 g fast action dry yeast
  • 450 g plain flour
  • 150 ml plant based milk
  • 3 tbsp melted vegan butter

For the fillings

  • 2 tbsp chilli olive oil mixed with 2 tbsp rose harissa
  • 4 tbsp olives pitted and chopped a little


  • In a jug, combine the warm water, sugar and active dry yeast.
  • Set aside until foamy.
  • Now, in a large bowl, mix the flour and salt.
  • Add the yeast mixture, milk and melted butter to the flour.
  • Mix until it forms into a dough and transfers to a floured surface and knead until springy.
  • Form into a ball and place back in the bowl. Cover and set aside in a warm space for about one hour or until it doubles in size.
  • Preheat oven to 180c.
  • Grease a 9-inch spring-form pan, and line bottom with baking paper; grease the paper, then set aside.
  • Transfer the dough back to a floured surface and knead again for a few minutes
  • Roll the dough into a very thin rectangle.
  • Spread a thin layer of chilli oil and harissa mix on top of the dough, but leave a little space around the edges.
  • Scatter the olives over the top.
  • Starting at the long edge, roll slowly and tightly into a log. Press it closed.
  • Now carefully (it’s messy!), cut the dough in half along the length (so you get two long strips).
  • To form the loaf - Cross the two halves with the layers facing up.
  • Continue to lay the left piece over the right until the dough is tightly twisted.
  • Pinch both ends together.
  • Now roll the braid into a tight circle (like a snail) and press the ends together
  • Carefully transfer to the baking tin and cover and allow it to double in size.
  • Once risen, pop in the oven and bake for 35 minutes.
  • Allow to cool a little before eating.
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4 Responses

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve just finished making this and it is genuinely brilliant. I’ve never made bread before and am so pleased how it’s come out. If I can do it, anyone can. It’s really not hard and very, very worth it. I’m so pleased with it.

    I’ve just got a few notes on the recipe above which might help others.

    Step 3: It says add salt, but doesn’t say how much. I went with 2 tbsp and that seems to have worked well.
    Step 7: This is far to early to start heating the oven. I started pre heating the oven about 5 minutes before the second proof was done in step 19 which seemed to be good timing.
    Step 14: Be very careful not to score your work surface! I managed not to by cutting the dough on a chopping board.
    Step 15: I struggled with this on my own. I needed my wife to help me. Others may manage by themselves, but if you’re as new to bread as I am, make sure you have someone ready to help you cross the halves over each other.
    Step 19: Not so much a comment on the recipe, but this took 35-40 minutes which surprised me. Don’t worry if it takes a bit of time to double in the tin, that seems normal.

    I’m so happy with how this has come out. Definitely not the last time I’ll be baking a loaf. Thank you Niki for a wonderful recipe!

  2. Oh wow this looks amazing – perfect for harvest festival or enjoying breaking bread with family and friends. I hope mine looks this good!

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