Savory Easter treats for any day of the year, Ham & Cheese Quick Bread. So easy anyone can bake it. A fast breakfast on the go, serve it with eggs for a snazzy brunch or with your favorite vintage at wine o’clock. (Is it wine o’clock yet?!)
All Hail the Quick Bread
I don’t do leavened breads very often. I find them tedious and time consuming. All that kneading… bor-ring! Why work so hard on bread?!
That’s why I love quick breads. They assemble fast (no need for starter or yeast growth). Mix easy (no dough hook required). And rise easy (it’s baking powder, not rocket science) and they’re so versatile.
Instead of butter in this recipe I’ve used olive oil, largely to underscore the olive taste and also because I bought a three liter can of great olive oil in January. (It was on sale!) The chef in my life says it will go off before I use it all. Call me crazy, but that sounds like a challenge. Can you substitute melted butter? Yes, of course you can. Swap it out in the exact same measure.
An Ode to the South Of France
Testing this Ham & Cheese Quick Bread recipe I tossed in all the ingredients of a decent aperitif in the south of France. A nice, ripe cheese, a bit of charcuterie, salty olives and a dash of Dijon plus a little green onion and parsley – just to make a point. It’s chunky and colourful, very cheesy and with four eggs in the dough it’s a little like a brioche.
Don’t knead this bread like a yeast risen bread. Don’t beat it. Don’t even use the mixer. Just mix it, lightly, by hand. I use a spatula for quick breads and fold until combined. If you find all your delicious little bits of cheese and olive are not sticking to the dough, press them in with your hands – without kneading.
Can you freeze your Ham & Cheese Quick Bread? Yes, it freezes beautifully and reheats well too. One word of caution; the cayenne intensifies as it sits, so if spice is not your thing, just skip it.
In this Ham & Cheese Quick Bread recipe you’ll find all the ingredients of a decent aperitif in the south of France. A ripe cheese, a bit of charcuterie, salty olives and a dash of Dijon plus a little green onion and parsley – just to make a point. It’s chunky and colourful, very cheesy and with four eggs in the dough, it’s a little like a brioche. Serve as a breakfast bread or with a bottle of wine for a lazy evening snack.
½ cup white wine
1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 ½ cups flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup sharp cheese (cheddar, Gruyere, Manchego), shredded or cubed
1 cup smoked ham, diced small
3 stems green onion, chopped
¼ cup green olives, sliced
¼ cup black olives, sliced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, rough chopped
Preheat oven to 350⁰F (175⁰C). Prepare loaf pan, either coat liberally with butter, spray with non-stick spray or line with parchment.
Dice cheese and ham, chop onion, slice olives, chop parsley and reserve.
In medium bowl combine wet ingredients; wine, olive oil, mustard and eggs and whisk to combine.
In a second larger bowl combine dry baking ingredients; flour, baking powder, salt and cayenne then mix with a whisk.
Incorporate wet ingredients with dry mix, using a spatula to scrape and fold, three or four times. With the dough still dry and not completely mixed add cheese, ham, onions, olives and herbs and fold to mix. If necessary ‘knead’ lightly by hand to press ingredients into the sticky dough. Do not over mix. Do not use a mixer. Quick breads need a light hand. Just mix until all ingredients and moist.
Gently roll dough into prepared loaf pan and gently press into corners and level dough. Garnish with olives if you like. Bake at 350⁰F (175⁰C) for 50 – 65 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of ham and cheese loaf comes out clean.
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Cooking in her home kitchen just outside Ottawa, Canada; Cori Horton is a food photographer, recipe blogger and Food Business Consultant. A Cordon Bleu-trained Chef, Cori spent five years as the owner of Nova Scotia's Dragonfly Inn, ten years in catering, and has been sharing all things delicious - right here - since 2010.