Thursday, March 7, 2013

Savory Cheese, Olive, and Buttermilk Herb Bread

Bread - the staff of life.  My research shows that some form of bread is found in every society on earth.  Who doesn't love a good, delicious bread?  I'm not talking about white bread from the grocery store.  Not at all.  Actually, I don't like sliced white bread from a package, I don't care if it's the greatest thing ever.  Thanks, but no thanks.  Not a fan.

Baking bread can be quite involved, so many of us stick to banana bread, pumpkin bread, and zucchini bread because it doesn't involve yeast and waiting for the dough to rise and punching it down and waiting some more.  That's what bakeries are for, right?  But, have you ever thought about savory breads that don't require yeast and all the many steps listed above?

Pinterest addict that I am, I scour the recipes looking for things that sound amazing and delicious.  I found this recipe for cheese, olive and buttermilk herb bread that is from a blog site called  She adapted this recipe from "Mix and Bake" by Belinda Jeffrey.  I haven't seen the original recipe, so I don't know what changes the writer made to the original, but it is good and really easy.  Really good.  Really easy.

If you don't like olives, I don't know what to tell you other than the fact that they are not the most prominent flavor of this bread.  The most prominent flavors would be cheese and herbs.  If I make it again (and I will) I would actually add more olives because I love them.  You can leave them out if you want, that is up to you.  I will also add more cheese next time.  Cheesy bread is delicious bread.  Yum.

Here is what you need to make this awesome bread:

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 dry mustard powder (I used 2 tsps of dijon instead because I love it)
1/4 cup (60 gms) grated cheddar cheese - I would use 1/2 cup next time
1/4 cup (60 gms) grated parmesan cheese - again, I would use 1/2 cup
1/2 cup green olives, sliced (I would use 1 cup)
8 pieces sun dried tomatoes, sliced thinly
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup mixture of spring onion (scallions) and Italian parsley
2 tsp thyme leaves or 1 tsp dried thyme
2 eggs
2 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 1/4 cup buttermilk (or use 1 1/4 cup less 1 Tbsp milk + 1 TBSP white vinegar or lemon juice.  Set aside for 10 minutes before using)
Egg wash made from 1 egg yolk beaten with 2 tsp water
Extra thyme sprigs and sea salt for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Generously butter a large loaf pan and dust with flour.  Set aside.

Sift flour, baking powder, soda, salt, pepper and mustard powder (if using) into a large bowl.  Whisk to incorporate the dry ingredients.  Add both cheeses, olives, sun dried tomatoes, spring onions, parsley and thyme and mix thoroughly.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, then whisk in the oil and buttermilk and dijon mustard (if using) until well combined.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the wet ingredients.  Stir together to form a thick, sticky batter.  Scrape the batter into the prepared tin and spread it out evenly.

Brush the top of the batter with the egg wash and then sprinkle some thyme leaves and sea salt on the loaf.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean.  If the top starts to burn, place a piece of foil over top of the loaf and continue baking.  Leave in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

This loaf is best served on the same day.  Wrap left overs in foil and store in fridge.  Can be gently reheated if serving again.

We enjoyed this delicious savory bread with the cheese, sausage, and grits casserole I posted on Monday.  We did spread some garlic herbed goat cheese on it and it was fantastic!  This bread is sort of dense, almost cake like in texture.  I would have liked more cheese and olives, but that is just me.  If you don't like strong flavors, stick to the recipe.

If you get tired of sweet breads and would like something savory, this recipe fits the bill.  It would be awesome to serve for brunch or for an afternoon treat.  Children would certainly enjoy it!  The grandsons gobbled it up.  You could spread their favorite cheese on it while it's still warm.  Delicious!

Baking bread doesn't have to be hard or have a million steps to be delicious.  Give this recipe a try.  It's a keeper.

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

If you have extraordinary bread and extraordinary butter, it's hard to beat bread and butter.  
Jaques Pepin

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