Dorie Greenspan calls this an American quick bread with a French soul. It is salty and savory.
Serve with aperitifs, with a salad for brunch, or lightly toasted and buttered.
Make Ahead: The loaf can be wrapped and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days, or wrapped well and frozen for up to 2 months.
Yield: Makes one 8-by-4 1/2-by-2 3/4-inch loaf
- Unsalted butter, for greasing the pan
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt (depending on what cheese you're using)
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper (may substitute a pinch of cayenne pepper)
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup whole milk, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 generous cup (about 4 ounces) coarsely grated Gruyère, Comté, Emmental or cheddar cheese
- 2 ounces Gruyère, Comté, Emmental or cheddar cut into very small cubes (1/2 to 3/4 cup)
- 1 bunch chives, minced (1/2 cup; may substitute thinly sliced scallions)
- 1/3 cup walnuts, toasted (optional; see NOTE)
Position a rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Use butter to grease an 8-by-4 1/2-by-2 3/4-inch loaf pan, preferably Pyrex.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt to taste and the pepper in a large mixing bowl.
Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl for 1 minute, until foamy, then whisk in the milk and oil.
Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture; use a sturdy flexible spatula or wooden spoon to gently mix together until moistened, then stir in the grated and cubed cheese, the chives and walnuts to form a thick dough. Transfer to the loaf pan and spread to make the dough even on top. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until the bread is golden and a slender knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 3 minutes, then run a round-edged knife along the edges of the pan to loosen the loaf. Turn it out and cool right side up before cutting and serving.
VARIATION: For a heartier loaf, add the following ingredients: 5 strips of crisped, drained bacon, crumbled; 1 cup of moist dried pears (about 3 1/2 ounces), finely chopped; instead of the chives, try 1 tablespoon of minced fresh sage, and instead of adding those types of cubed cheese mentioned above, fold in Gorgonzola or Fourme d'Ambert.
NOTE: Toast the walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, until fragrant and lightly browned. Shake often to keep the nuts from burning.
From Greenspan's "Around My French Table" (Houghton Mifflin, 2010).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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