Saturday, May 25, 2013

Ottolenghi's Cheese, Garlic, Veggie and Herb Bread

I am absolutely crazy for homemade bread, but I really haven't felt like dedicating an afternoon to mixing, kneading, proofing, and baking bread from scratch.  That's where this recipe comes in.  It's a delicious recipe for quick bread that's rich with eggs, infused with garlic and herbs, with little pockets of cheese, thinly sliced sun-dried tomatoes, and a beautifully adorned top.  It's absolutely delicious, very impressive to look at, and can be made in around an hour.  Score!

This recipe is also highly adaptable.  You can use any variety of herbs, cheeses, and veggies that you like to create your own special loaf.  The original recipe called for cubes of gruyere cheese, but I used little cubes of sharp white cheddar because that's what I had on hand.  Ottolenghi infused his loaf with rosemary, but my family isn't crazy about rosemary so I opted for oregano instead.  Lastly, this loaf has thinly sliced ribbons of sun-dried tomatoes, but you can use capers, olives, roasted red peppers or any other veggie you like.  I can foresee many versions of this recipe in my near future.  I really don't think you could go wrong!

Cheese, Garlic, Veggie and Herb Bread
Adapted from Yotam Ottoleghi
via the Guardian

1/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons roughly chopped rosemary leaves, plus 2 whole sprigs to decorate*
2 garlic cloves, crushed
6 eggs
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
2 tablespoons ground almonds*
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup thinly sliced sun-dried tomatoes*
3-1/2 ounce Gruyere, diced into 1/2-inch cubes and tossed in 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour*
1 cup grated Parmesan 

*Notes: Use any variety of herbs, cheese, and/or veggies you like.  I used green onions in place of the rosemary.  I did use the sun-dried tomatoes; however, olives, capers, and roasted red peppers would also be great choices.  I didn't have Gruyere but I did have a nice sharp cheddar so I went with that.  I omitted the ground almonds because my son has a nut allergy and we try not to have any nuts in the house.  I garnished my loaf with oregano leaves, thinly sliced sun-dried tomatoes, slivers of garlic, and more parmesan cheese. 

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Line a 10 x 4 inch (8-cup) loaf pan with parchment paper.

Place the cream, rosemary (or herb of your choice), and garlic in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Turn off the heat and leave to infuse and cool for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk the eggs and olive oil together in a medium sized bowl.  In another medium-sized bowl, mix the flour, ground almonds, salt, and baking powder.  Make a well in the center and slowly add the egg mixture, whisking to avoid lumps, until you have a thick batter.

Pass the infused cream through a fine sieve directly into the bowl of batter, reserving or discarding the garlic and rosemary (I used this garlic to decorate the top of the loaf).  Add the sun-dried tomatoes, and Parmesan.  Toss the cubes of cheese (Gruyere or your substitute) with the 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour.  Add the Gruyere tossed with the flour and mix well.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and decorate the top of the loaf as you wish.  I scattered fresh oregano leaves, thin slivers of sun-dried tomato, slivers of garlic, and additional Parmesan cheese on top.  Feel free to use your imagination here  

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.  Leave to cool for 5 minutes, then remove from the pan and place on a wire rack.  Once the loaf is completely cool, cut into serving slices using a serrated knife. 
Theme: Potluck

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