From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I was given a copy of Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table earlier this summer. As soon as it arrived, I curled up on the sofa, and like a child paging through a Christmas catalogue, marked my favorites and plotted the order in which my choices would be tried. The bread I am featuring tonight was on that list. The photo that accompanied the recipe was gorgeous and highlighted a deep gold pebbly crust that was unique and gave the bread an irresistible, come-hither air. I was finally able to make the bread today and I am generally pleased with the result. The bread, which is delicious, does, indeed, have gorgeous color and its aroma will make stomachs start to growl as it wafts through the kitchen and adjoining rooms. I couldn't wait for it to cool enough to slice. It's meant to be served as an appetizer and its cheesy goodness makes it perfect to serve with drinks at an informal gathering. I let the bread sit for 45 minutes before I had my first bite. It had wonderful flavor, but I was unhappy with the appearance of the sliced bread. The surface had holes and tunnels that are usually an indication that a dough has been over-mixed. I knew that was not the case, so I did a search to find other photos of the bread and see what others had come up with. As it turns out, my results were not unique. Most of the breads I found had the same holes and tunnels, so it is probably safe to say they are a characteristic of this bread, probably caused by slow melting cheese. I will, however, give the recipe another try in an attempt to produce a more finely grained loaf. I'll keep you posted if the results are significantly different. I think those of you who try the bread will really like it. It is easy to do and makes an unusual cocktail appetizer. Here's how it is made.
Savory Cheese and Chive Bread...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Dorie Greenspan
Unsalted butter, for greasing the pan
1-3/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt (depending on what cheese you're using)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper (may substitute a 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, Comte Emmental or cheddar cheese
2 ounces Gruyere, Comte, Emmental or cheddar cut into very small cubes (1/2 to 3/4 cup)
1 bunch chives, minced (1/2 cup; may substitute thinly sliced scallions)
1/3 cup walnuts, toasted
1) Position a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Use butter to grease an 8 x 4-1/2 x 2-3/4-inch loaf pan, preferably Pyrex.
2) Whisk flour, baking powder, salt to taste and pepper together in a large bowl.
3) Whisk eggs in a medium bowl for 1 minute, until foamy, then whisk in milk and oil.
4) Pour egg mixture into flour mixture; use a sturdy flexible spatula or wooden spoon to gently mix together until moistened, then stir in grated and cubed cheese, chives and walnuts to form a thick dough. Transfer to loaf pan and spread to make dough even on top. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until bread is golden and a slender knife inserted into center comes out clean.
5) Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool for 3 minutes, then run a round-edged knife along edges of pan to loosen loaf. Turn it out and cool right side up before cutting and serving. Yield: 1 loaf.
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