Olive Oil Quick Bread With Pancetta, Dates and Goat Cheese 10.000

Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Jan 31, 2019

In this savory loaf, cornmeal blends with flour for a crumbly, sandy texture that slices beautifully. Omit the pancetta for a vegetarian-friendly version.

Make sure the pieces of goat cheese, dates and pancetta are all pea-size and well distributed throughout the batter. Use a sweet, golden olive oil, the more buttery the better; bitter, green oils are too strong for this bread. You'll need an 8 1/2- by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan.

To read the accompanying story, see: If you’re looking to cut back on sugar, this quick bread is sweet news.

Make Ahead: The flavors develop even more after the bread rests for a day, wrapped in foil and refrigerated. Reheat gently for 10 minutes at 325 degrees if you wish to serve it warm. It’s delicious toasted. Leftovers are good for up to 4 days.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 10 servings; makes one 8 1/2-by 4 1/2-inch loaf

  • 3 ounces pancetta, chopped into pea-size pieces (1/4 cup; see headnote)
  • 1/2 medium onion, minced (1/2 cup)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 pitted dates, chopped into pea-size pieces (about 1 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh chives
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (see headnote)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • About 3 ounces (1/3 cup) fresh goat cheese, crumbled into pea-size pieces


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat the inside of your loaf pan with cooking oil spray. Line a plate with a paper towel.

Cook the pancetta in a dry skillet over medium heat until crisped, about 8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pancetta to the lined plate to drain. As needed, pour off all but about a teaspoon of the rendered fat in the pan, then return to medium heat and add the onion. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until wilted and lightly browned in spots. Remove from the heat.

Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the chopped dates and fresh parsley, rosemary and chives; use your fingers to break up the sticky pieces and coat them with the flour mixture. This will help keep those solids from sinking to the bottom during baking.

Whisk together the oil, milk and eggs in a liquid measuring cup until well incorporated. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture; pour in the oil mixture. Use a flexible spatula to gently stir and combine the liquid and dry ingredients, scraping the dry ingredients up from the bottom of the bowl regularly. Once there are no white streaks remaining, stir in the crisped pancetta, cooked onion and goat cheese until evenly distributed.

Scrape into the prepared pan. Bake (middle rack) for 55 to 65 minutes, until the cake has risen to form a golden brown crown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Turn out from the pan onto a wire rack to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving, or cool completely before storing.

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Recipe Source

From Bring It! columnist and cookbook author Cathy Barrow.

Tested by Cathy Barrow and Bonnie S. Benwick.

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