Monday, November 18, 2013

Savory Cheese and Herb Bread

You want to bake bread without the hassle of yeast...
Make a savory cheese quick bread!

This recipe comes from Dorie Greenspan's incredible cookbook,  Around My French Table.  If you're into French food, and you do not want super complicated obnoxious recipes, Dorie's book is a must-have.  As a bonus, it's exceptionally beautiful to look at.  My father gave it to me as a gift when it first came out in 2010, and since then I have made recipes from the book many many times.  When I first read the book, I was working as a personal chef.  I ended up making a version of her mushroom soup at work, and it quickly became one of the family's favorite dishes.

Until recently, I had never tried this savory cheese and chive bread.  I love making quick breads: pumpkin, apple, pear and chocolate chunk, banana, zucchini, and on and on.  If there is a thing you can put into a batter made of eggs, flour and oil, and then if that batter can be put into a loaf pan, I'll make it. The recipes are so easy, and they are so delicious, that I always feel like I am cheating on "real" baking.  
You can really taste the egg in this bread, and next time I might add more variety of herbs and a different combination of cheeses, but all in all it is a fun recipe to have on hand.  Guests are always impressed with homemade bread, and you do not have to tell anyone how simple it is to make this recipe.*

*I have only made slight alterations to the original recipe

Savory Cheese and Chive Bread
Makes 1 loaf

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
3 large eggs, at room temp
1/3 cup whole milk, at room temp
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
1 generous cup coarsely grated Cheddar (you can use Gruyere, Comte, Swiss, or anything you fancy...I used extra sharp white cheddar)
2 ounces cheese cut into very small cubes - use any of the cheeses listed above
1/2 cup minced fresh chives or other herbs (or thinly sliced scallions if you want onion flavor)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, rough chop

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F or 175 degrees C.  Generously butter a loaf pan (8 x 4 x 2 3/4)

Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper together in a large bowl.

Put the eggs in a medium bowl and whisk for 1 minute, until they are foamy and blended.

Whisk in the milk and olive oil.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and, using a sturdy rubber spatula or a wooden spoon, gently mix until the dough comes together.  Be careful not to over-mix the dough, or it will become tough.  Also, do not worry if the dough is not mixed thoroughly, just mix it enough that the dry ingredients are moistened by the wet ingredients.  Stir in the cheese, both grated and cubed, and the herbs.  Pour the dough into a buttered pan, and you can even the top with the back of your spoon or spatula.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the bread is golden and a knife or wooden skewer comes out clean when you stick it into the center.  Place the pan on a cooling rack for 3 minutes, then run a knife around the edges of the pan.  Turn the loaf over onto the rack, invert and cool right side up.

Slice and serve!

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