A couple of weeks ago I found out on Twitter that Dorie Greenspan's brand new book "Around My French Table" had been released earlier than expected and since I had pre-ordered it a long time ago I received my copy a couple of days later. As I opened the cardboard box I could barely contain my excitement. This was like birthday and Christmas rolled into one. I have been a huge fan of Dorie's ever since I first received my copy of "Baking: From my home to yours", and holding her new book in my hands was so much fun. I started flipping through the substantial book, and almost immediately felt overwhelmed. There are so many incredible looking recipes in this book; anything from hors d'oeuvres, to soups, salads, meats and best of all, desserts.
I really had a very difficult time to decide which recipe to make first. I mean do you start in the front and work your way through? Do you randomly pick a recipe by closing your eyes and poking your finger on a recipe in the index? I just didn't know which direction to go. Then my youngest son decided to take the book and started flipping through the pages and found this recipe for cheese and chive bread. I guess the picture "did him in" and I don't blame him, it looked scrumptious. After looking over the recipe I knew I had my first recipe to try out. This bread is about as easy as it gets. A two bowl recipe that is literally put together in 10 minutes flat.
The recipe starts by measuring flour, baking powder, salt and pepper into a big bowl and whisking them together. In a second bowl, your wet ingredients of eggs, milk and olive oil get a good whisking as well. The wet mix gets quickly incorporated into the dry ingredients before adding in the grated and cubed cheese along with chopped chives and toasted walnuts. The finished batter gets spread into a greased loaf pan and is then ready for the oven. Now this is where this recipe gets tough. I had every single person in our house come into the kitchen during the baking of the bread with their mouth watering and wondering what smelled so incredible. I wish I could bottle this smell, which is simply drool inducing and makes the waiting time for the bread to cool very, very cruel.
This bread is so simple, yet absolutely amazing and flavorful. Ms. Greenspan did not disappoint with this recipe either, and I'm excited to be introducing my family to more french inspired dishes. Best of all, in true Dorie fashion many of her recipes have side notes or what she likes to call "Bonne Idee" that will give you further options of how to change up already wonderful recipes. This bread was gone so quickly in our house that the next time I'm making it (and there will be a next time) I'm doubling the recipe! This is a great dish to serve along side a hearty stew or soup, and I hope you'll be giving this one a try and adding some "French flair" to your dinner table as well.
Savory Cheese and Chive Bread
(adapted from "Around my French Table" by Dorie Greenspan)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 - 1 teaspoon salt (depending on what cheese you're using)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper (or more to taste)
1 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 Gruyere, Emmenthal, or Cheddar (I used Emmenthal)
2 ounces Gruyere, Emmenthal, or cheddar cut into very small cubes (I used Emmenthal)
1/2 cup minced fresh chives or other herbs (or thinly sliced scallions)
1/3 cup toasted walnuts, chopped (optional)
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter and 8 -x- 4 1/2 -x- 2 3/4 -inch loaf pan. If your pan is slightly larger, go ahead and use it, but your loaf will be lower and you'll have to check it for doneness a little earlier.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and white pepper together in a large bowl.
Put the eggs in a medium bowl and whisk for about 1 minute, until they're 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. There's no need to be energetic - in fact, beating the dough toughens it - nor do you need to be very thorough: just stir until all the dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in the cheese, graded and cubed, the herbs, and the walnuts, if you're using them. You'll have a thick dough. Turn the dough into the buttered pan and even the top with the back of the spatula or spoon.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the bread is golden and a slender knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and wait for about 3 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the pan and turn the loaf over onto the rack; invert and cool right side up.