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French Ham and Cheese Quick Bread Recipe

French Ham and Cheese Quick Bread
Difficulty: Easy | Total Time: | Makes: 1 (9-inch) loaf

We’ve riffed on the ham and cheese baguette sandwich to make this savory quick bread that has an extra punch of flavor from briny Niçoise olives. In France, similar rustic quick breads called gâteaux are served as snacks. This easy recipe is great for breakfast, snack time, or a light lunch when served with a Butter Lettuce and Pumpkin Seed Salad.

Special equipment: You will need a metal 9-by-5-inch loaf pan for this recipe. Loaf pans can be purchased at most cooking supply stores and at many large grocery stores.

What to buy: You can find fully cooked or smoked ham steaks in the deli case of any well-stocked grocery store.

Game plan: You can also use this recipe to bake savory muffins instead of bread—just use a standard 12-well muffin pan. Coat the wells with butter and bake the muffins at 350°F until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let the muffins cool for 10 minutes, then remove them from the pan and finish cooling on a wire rack.

This recipe was featured as part of our 5 Savory Quick Breads for Fall Baking.

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded Gruyère cheese (about 3 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 1/4 cups small-dice cooked ham (about 7 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup small-dice pitted Niçoise olives (about 1 1/4 ounces)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), melted, plus more for coating the pan
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Generously coat a metal 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with butter; set aside.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and pepper together in a large bowl until aerated and any large lumps are broken up. Add the cheese, ham, and olives and toss in the flour mixture until the pieces are separated and evenly coated; set aside.
  3. Place the eggs, milk, and melted butter in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Add this egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until the flour is just incorporated, being careful not to overmix (a few streaks of flour are OK; the batter will be very thick).
  4. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pan, pushing it into the corners and smoothing the top. Bake until the bread is golden brown all over and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (test several spots because you may hit a pocket of cheese), about 40 to 45 minutes.
  5. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the perimeter of the bread and turn it out onto the rack. Let it cool for at least 30 minutes more before slicing.