Offbeat Bites: Kalamata Quick Bread

Chef’s note: This lovely bread is made without yeast, meaning that you can whip it up in no time. Though olives are known for their briny flavor, they mellow out when baked. This bread is heavily inspired by Mediterranean flavors, and makes a great accompaniment to a Mediterranean meal but can alo double as a delicious pick-me-up in the morning.

Buttermilk is often expensive, and regular milk can be substituted for it. Just add 2 teaspoons of vinegar to a cup of whole milk, stir it around, and let it sit for 5 minutes and voila! – you have a cup of “buttermilk”. If fresh oregano is hard to come by, you can also use 1 teaspoon of dried oregano in place.

Click here for my previous quick bread recipe, Irish Soda Bread. Click here for a lighter version of this recipe, or here for zucchini quick bread.

Without yeast, this bread relies solely on the power of baking soda for leavening.
Without yeast, this bread relies solely on the power of baking soda for leavening.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

  • ½ large white onion, finely chopped

  • 2 cups of all purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda

  • ½ teaspoon of salt

  • 1 cup of buttermilk

  • 2 tablespoons of butter, melted

  • 2 egg whites

  • ¼ cup of pitted Kalamata olives, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh oregano

  • butter, for greasing and serving

 

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 5.5×9 inch loaf pan with butter.

Sauteing the onion removes some of its pungent qualities.

Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high. Saute onion in pan until tender, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, set aside.

Mix the olives in well; no one wants a huge mouthful of olives in just one section of the bread.
Mix the olives in well; no one wants a huge mouthful of olives in just one section of the bread.

Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the mixture. Whisk buttermilk, butter, and egg whites together until combined. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just moist. Fold in onion, olives, and oregano.

The batter will be moist and almost manageable, just short of being classified as a dough.
The batter will be moist and almost manageable, just short of being classified as a dough.

Spread batter into prepared pan, then smooth it out.

Bake 45 to 55 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let the bread rest before slicing, otherwise it falls apart.
Let the bread rest before slicing, otherwise it falls apart.

Cool in pan on a wire cooling rack for 10 minutes, then loosen the sides of the loaf from the pan using a knife and unmold onto the rack to let cool completely for an hour to two. Slice and serve with butter.

 All photos by Lauren Quinn

 

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