Saturday, 8 October 2011

Bacon, Olive, and Sharp Cheddar Bread: Don't Freak Out! No Kneading, No Yeast!

Okay, so before you tune out this entire post due to the fact that it's a bread recipe, let me assure you that it's more like the savoury equivalent of banana bread in terms of difficulty level. Laura Calder, whose recipe this is, calls it an 'aperitif cake', which she can do because she lived in Paris for a while and she's quite stylish and all that. I feel a bit ridiculous calling it an 'aperitif cake', so we move forward identifying it as bread. Fine with you?

Resting bread.  Can you guess which loaf has bacon in it?
I'll just tell you.  The one on the right.  The better-looking one.

This loaf ruled. Calder suggests you serve it before a dinner party, something to tide people over before the meal. I love this idea. It's very sophisticated. Very French. But you can serve this any old time - I think it would be a nice snack, and would also be a punchy little breakfast bread. Or be all Paris (pronounced Par-eeh) and serve it as an aperitif (pronounced a-pear-a-teef - just kidding, I know y'all know how to pronounce that).

And again, the best thing about this is how hella easy it is to make. No intimidating bread-like elements like kneading or yeast, or special paddle attachments for your special stand-mixer. Just a couple of bowls and a loaf pan (or two loaf pans, if you're me - I did one with bacon and one without - guess which one was better).

Bacon, Olive, and Sharp Cheddar Bread
This is a recipe of the aforementioned Laura Calder, whose website is at

I brought these to a meeting.
Yes, I had a meeting where I was required to bring snacks.  
1 and a half cups flour
1 and a half teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup, plus another tablespoon butter, melted
a big handful of chopped green olives         (you could use black olives, but I think the green lends the whole loaf more of a consistent earth-tone kinda thing)
6 slices of bacon, chopped into 1/2 inch squares and fried/broiled         (Calder's recipe called for four slices, but that's such a joke - use 6)
1 cup of grated sharp cheddar cheese         (you could also use Gruyere, parm, asiago - anything that is grate-able and has a nice strong, sharp taste)
a pinch of salt         (but seriously, go easy - you've got bacon, cheese, and olives in there - a lot of salt action already)
2 tbsp of chopped fresh rosemary         (this was a nice addition, but totally not necessary)

So here's the drill:  preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a loaf pan, and then throw a tablespoon of flour in there and shake the pan around, so the flour covers the butter. Your pan has now been buttered and floured.  

Mix the flour, baking powder, and ground pepper together in a mixing bowl. Beat the eggs lightly, then add them into the flour, mixing all with a wooden spoon. Then stir in the melted butter. Don't over-mix, just stir until everything is incorporated. Now add the cooked and chopped bacon, chopped olives, and grated cheese. Again, just try to evenly distribute, not more than that. Overworked batter is no good.

Spoon the batter into the loaf pan, and stick her in the oven for about 45 minutes. You'll know it's ready when it's slightly browned on the top and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  

Let me tell you, making this bread kind of made me feel like some kind of pioneer.

Let it cool slightly, and then remove it from the pan. Slice it up. And then definitely follow Calder's instructions, which are to 'serve with drinks'. I mean, unless it's breakfast.


  1. This is a recipe I've been searching for. I've always wanted to make bread but didn't want to do the kneading. I like olives and cheddar, and bacon too? Why not. Can't wait to try this!

    BTW, came across your blog from Food Bloggers of Canada -- the name of your blog is really witty!

  2. Hi! Thanks for checking out the blog - I'm heading to yours to check it out as well. Yes, kneading is not really my thing...but this was dead easy. I hope you like it! And also glad you like the blog name. Let me know how the bread shakes out!

  3. Carly, this recipe rocked. I made it yesterday and it is almost finished. Is it wrong to make it twice in one week?

  4. LA! That's awesome. I need to make it again pronto. Not wrong in the slightest to make it twice in one week.

  5. Hello Carly, i like your blog a lot! i´m follower,i´m understand english but i can´t understan all sometimes, could you put a gadget to translate it???