Okay, so this should really be called “Cheese-Herb” Quick Bread, because there’s way more cheese than herb. But, I think the herbs are much more of a forward flavor, than the cheese…whatever you call it, doesn’t matter. Just make it… This is perfect for those times, like right now, when yeast is difficult to come by, if not impossible…so Sour Cream Cornbread and this, are both great options. Quick breads, by definition go together quickly and bake quickly…usually start-to-finish, in under an hour. This is my go-to recipe for a quick cheese bread. And, remember, you don’t have to add the herbs…it’s pretty delicious, as is. But, today is an herb-day…in celebration of Earth Day.
This is easy enough…I use fresh herbs, but if you don’t have fresh, use a combination of dried…there’s some flexibility there, too.
I used garlic chives, oregano, lemon thyme and a few lemon balm leaves. Just chop them up and stir them into the oil. I like to do that at least 15 minutes before I’m going to use them. I love the hint of lemon they give to the bread. If you don’t have those lemony herbs, and you want a little hit of lemon, add 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest. Sometimes I add poppy seeds. Don’t omit the sesame seeds and shredded (not grated) Parm on top. It just isn’t as good without them. So, here goes….
Combine the dry ingredients, and that includes the cheeses. Stirring the cheese into the dry ingredients coats the shreds with flour and will help keep the shreds suspended in to bread, rather than settling to the bottom of the pan. Combine the wet ingredients; I keep the herb/oil mixture separate. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients; pour in the buttermilk/egg mixture, and then the herb/oil mixture. I use a spatula to just combine them…there can be a few little streaks of flour…just don’t over-mix it. Pour into your prepared pan (sprayed with cooking spray), smooth the top and sprinkle with the remaining Parm and sesame seeds. Bake until no crumbs are left on a skewer you insert into the center of the loaf…you know the drill! Also, I used a 9X5-inch pan…this will not take as long to bake as an 8X4-inch pan, which will give you a higher loaf. Do try to wait to slice it until is cools completely…it won’t be easy, because the aroma is heavenly…it brought The Latin Lover down from his office.
Don’t be afraid to toast this for breakfast or a midnight snack or to have with your coffee, or….
Buttermilk-Cheese Quick Bread with Fresh Herbs
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (see NOTE)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper (really coarse; cracked)
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic granules
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup finely shredded (not grated) Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1 1/3 cups buttermilk (or sour milk)
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic chives (or plain chives)
- 1 tablespoon chopped thyme (I used part lemon/part plain thyme)
- 2 teaspoons chopped oregano
- 2 teaspoons chopped lemon balm (or fresh dillweed)
- 1-2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeded
Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8 X 4-inch OR a 9 X 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Set aside. Mix chopped herbs and olive oil in a small bowl, set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, black pepper, garlic granules and salt; give it a good stir. Add the shredded cheddar and 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan; stir until well combined.
In a separate container (I use a glass 2 cup measuring cup), whisk together the buttermilk, and eggs. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Pour in wet ingredients and then, the herb/oil mixture. Using a spatula, mix until just combined. Don’t over-mix.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan and the sesame seeds. Bake for 35-55 minutes (the time will depend on the size of the pan you use) or until a cake tester inserted into center comes out clean. Cool completely before slicing. Keeps at room temperature for about 3 days, or frozen for about one month.
NOTE: This time, all I had was cake flour, so I used that and increased the amount to 2 1/2 cups. If you don’t have fresh herbs, use 2 tablespoons dried herbs; stir into the oil and let stand for at least 20 minutes. This is a terrific way to use up milk that has turned, instead of the buttermilk. Sometimes, I have added 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds into the flour. l like this particular herbs combination, as I like the hint of lemon. When I use fresh basil, I don’t chop it too finely, but that’s my choice; you do as you please.
Buttermilk-Cheese Quick Bread with Fresh Herbs Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2020. All rights reserved.
Just a couple of after thoughts…First, I’ve never added chopped fresh fennel fronds, but I think they would be fantastic, with basil. I would use at least 3 tablespoons of the fennel fronds…you know, the fluffy part that resembles dillweed. And I might add 3 tablespoons of very finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Secondly, I think you could omit the herbs (but add the olive oil), increase the garlic to 1 teaspoon and prepare the batter as given. Put half the batter in the pan, drop a few teaspoons of pesto randomly over the batter. Add the remaining batter, and repeat adding the pesto. Then take a table knife, and not reaching all the way to the bottom, gently run the knife through, swirling a bit as you go. Then add the cheese and seeds and bake as directed…I see more loaves in the not too distant future!