These bread rolls are soft baked and are made with a generous helping of olive tapenade mixed in to the dough. Spread some butter on these or just dip into some good olive oil for the ultimate pre dinner snack!

olive bread rolls with flaky sea salt on top on a tray.

I was so happy with how these bread rolls turned out and after only two tries to get them perfect for you! The first batch were a little dry and didn’t rise as much as they should have. So by doubling up on the olive tapenade mix and switching to fresher yeast, I can proudly pass this recipe to all of you olive bread lovers. And I know there are a bunch of you because my crusty olive bread recipe is consistently in the top five of my most viewed recipes.

Olive bread is amazing if you haven’t had the chance to experience it yet. I love the small baguette that Trader Joe’s sells, It’s loaded with chunky pieces of kalamata olives and is the perfect bread to accompany any cheese or charcuterie board.

Making olive bread rolls seemed like a natural step from the whole crusty loaf I made previously, after all there’s nothing like a bread roll on the side of your plate for dinner. Also let’s not forget how awesome they are for making mini slider Italian sandwiches!

what you’ll need to make these olive bread rolls

  • Yeast- Dry active yeast is the best, just be sure to make sure it’s not too old and been sitting at the back of your fridge for months. This will definitely affect how your dough ends up
  • Flour- All purpose, a pantry staple.
  • Salt- Sea salt tastes better than the harsher table salt for this recipe.
  • Water- Make sure it’s hot-lukewarm in temperature as this will help the yeast activate.
  • Olive tapenade- Found in the olive aisle at the store, loaded with flavor and great for adding to baked goods.

how to make olive bread rolls

  1. Creating the dough in step one

    The dough will need to rise three times. This might sound like a long time but it actually goes by quickly. By following this process the bread rolls will be lighter and fluffier with a good texture. The more times you let your dough rise means the more times you have to deflate the dough, tis is called proofing the dough. By deflating the dough each time, causes new gas and sugars for the yeast to feed on. Too many punch downs though and the yeast will have nothing left to feed on so I don’t recommend any more than two or three at the very most. Once the dough has risen twice, you’ll divide the dough into individual sized bread rolls. Place them on a baking pan and let them have a final rise before baking.

  2. After the final rise

    When the bread rolls have begun touching or bumping into each other, it’s usually time to place the pan in the oven. If you wait too long, the gases will begin to escape and you’ll see your bread or rolls begin to deflate quickly. This is called over proofing and will result in a dry hard roll with an uneven texture on the inside.

  3. Baking the rolls

    Carefully brush the rolls with a beaten egg and water mixture. This will give them a nice shine and help the sea salt stick to the surface. be very gentle though because at this point you don’t want to lose any of the bubbles inside the rolls. Bake until golden brown on top.

olive bread rolls cooling on a wire rack

FAQ’s about making bread

Can I make these ahead of time?

You can have the dough rise the first time and then punch it down. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge until the next day. Punch it down again and proceed with shaping the rolls.

Do I have to weigh each roll?

You don’t but if you have kitchen scales, I’d say use them. Evenly sized rolls make for a more consistent finished product. If some rolls are larger than others they will be rise slower than the smaller ones.

My dough didn’t rise very well. What happened?

There are many factors in place when working with yeast. Humidity needs to be high for the yeast to react, also the yeast must be fairly new and the water at the beginning should be warm and not tap cold. Patience is also an important step when baking bread.

My rolls turned out perfect but how can I store them?

Awesome! You can keep them in ziplock bags for a couple of days to stay soft or freeze them for one month.

My dough keeps sticking to the table?

Whenever you’re baking bread or rolls, keeping some extra flour by the side helps with any stickiness. Just keep dusting the table and adding small amounts of flour to prevent this.

More fantastic bread recipes

Soft Baked Olive Bread Rolls

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 people
Author: foodnessgracious
Light and fluffy bread rolls with a healthy dose of fresh olive flavor
Print Recipe


  • 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water, divided
  • 1 tbsp dried yeast
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cups all purpose flour plus extra for kneading
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup olive tapenade
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 tbsp water
  • Flaky sea salt


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add 1/4 cup of the water and sprinkle the yeast on top. Let sit for 5 minutes then whisk it together.
  • In a separate bowl add 3 tbsp of the oil to the remaining water (1 cup)
  • Once the yeast has been stirred add the remaining water/oil mixture to the stand mixer. Keep the bowl handy too reuse.
  • Add the flour, salt and tapenade to the mixer and mix on low speed for about 5-7 minutes and the dough has come together.
  • Dust your table lightly with flour and dump out the dough.
  • Knead by hand until you have a ball shape.
  • Place the dough back into the bowl from earlier and cover with a clean towel.
  • Place the bowl in a warm area and let rise until doubled in size, about an hour.
  • Dump the dough back out onto the table and knead again into a ball shape.
  • Place back into the bowl and repeat for the second rise.
  • Line a baking sheet pan with parchment paper and dust lightly with flour.
  • Once doubled in size, take the dough from the bowl and gently press all of the air from it.
  • Divide the dough into 12 evenly sized pieces each weighing as close to 2oz as possible.
  • Roll each piece of dough into a ball and place on your prepared baking pan close together.
  • Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Once the rolls are ready, combine the egg and water and lightly brush each roll with it.
  • Sprinkle with sea salt and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.