I’ve eaten my fair share – arguably more than my fair share – of sweet loaf cakes since the beginning of this pandemic. But not that many hearty ones. To correct this, I baked a cheesy olive bread with chopped fresh thyme and served it warm for breakfast on Wednesday.
To make it, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease (or line parchment) a 9-inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together 2½ cups / 320 grams of all-purpose flour (or a combination of all-purpose flour and some whole grain or rye flour), 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, 1½ teaspoon of baking powder, and ½ teaspoon of baking powder.
In a smaller bowl (or a large measuring cup so you don’t have to wash the bowl), whisk together ¼ cup / 60 milliliters of olive oil and 1 cup / 240 milliliters of fermented milk product such as buttermilk or plain yogurt. (If you’re using thick Greek yogurt, dilute it with a little water or milk.) I used some yogurt and the leftover whey from yogurt making, and it worked perfectly. Stir in 2 eggs.
Whisk the wet ingredients with the dry ones. It’s a heavy, thick batter.
Now switch to a rubber spatula and fold in 110 grams of sliced pitted olives and 1½ cups / 7 ounces of grated cheese. (I used Gruyère, but cheddar or other firm grated cheese is fine.) Finally, add about a tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves (or use fresh oregano, marjoram or rosemary, or 1 teaspoon of dried thyme). I should have added some freshly ground black pepper to the batter, but didn’t think about it. Next time.
Spread the batter around the pan and sprinkle another ¼ cup / 1 ounce of grated cheese on top. I also threw some fresh sprigs of thyme on them just to use them up and because they look pretty. But they don’t add any real flavor at this point so feel free to skip it.
Bake until cheese is browned and the top of the loaf springs back when pressed lightly, 45 to 55 minutes. Serve warm as soon as you can remove it from the mold (approx. 30 minutes after baking). Or try it toasted later in the day. I like mine with sliced tomatoes and onions. But if you have a jar of tapenade in the fridge, you can spread it on top to accentuate the savory olive tip.
This is part of a series where Melissa Clark teaches you how to cook using pantry staples. See more. From the Pantry continues on Monday June 22nd.