There are a few food bloggers that I’ve been following for many years. When I see their emails in my inbox, I know they’ll provide consistently delicious recipes that are interesting but not too difficult. Clotilde at Chocolate and Zucchini is a food writer living in Paris. She sends out a monthly post with a round – up of recipes, restaurants, and other tidbits. This month provided a gem of a recipe: a savory quick bread with feta cheese and lots of fresh herbs. There’s no yeast and no rising time, if you can make banana bread then you can make this!
Everything about this recipe is perfect. The sesame seeds provide a subtle, nutty crunch, and the salty feta cheese in a soft rich bread hits all the right notes. The basil makes this bread very seasonal for late summer, but any other herb or combination of herbs would work just as well.
Clotilde kindly includes converted measurements since Europeans measure baking ingredients by weight instead of volume. I have ‘Americanized’ this recipe even more by using buttermilk in place of the yogurt and making a few other small changes. However, her version is absolutely perfect so if you have some plain yogurt in the fridge please click through for her recipe.
Quick Basil and Feta Bread
A little butter for the pan
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds (I used a mix of black and white)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 and 1/4 cup buttermilk (full fat)
1/4 cup olive oil
7 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1 bunch fresh basil or about 1 cup chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 1 full size bread pan or three minis (which is what I used) by smearing with butter and sprinkling in 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds.
Chop the herbs (here’s a post that includes directions for chopping basil) and crumble the feta cheese. Set aside.
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper and stir well with a fork or whisk in a medium bowl.
Using a 2 cup or larger liquid measuring cup (such as the one in the picture), measure the buttermilk and oil, then add the eggs and mix well.
Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and stir gently. When the mixture is still very lumpy, go ahead and add the herbs and cheese. Mix until just combined (do not over mix or you will develop the gluten and make the bread tough). Spread into prepared pans and top with remaining sesame seeds.
Bake 40- 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes then turn out to finish cooling and allow the crust to crisp.