Feta and Fresh Herb Quick Bread Recipe

Feta and Fresh Herb Quick Bread

You can divide the French population in two camps: those who go on vacation in July, and those who skip town in August.

My own family was unequivocally juillettiste (August vacationers are called aoûtiens) so Bastille Day found us in the French Alps every year, crossing our fingers that the summer thunderstorms wouldn’t rain on our parade, quite literally.

These are the sweetest of childhood memories, the years blurring together into a single evening: the walk through the village carrying candle-lit lanterns, the fireworks, the stars in our young eyes, and the soft, unique feeling of being scooped up from the car fast asleep and carried into bed late at night.

As I became an adult, I soon lost the habit of celebrating le quatorze juillet: crowds make me anxious, and after a failed attempt to watch the Eiffel Tower fireworks from the heights of Montmartre (surprise, surprise, others had had the same idea), I pretty much gave up.

But now that I have kids, it’s different; now is the time their own childhood memories are formed (no pressure, right?). And as it turns out, my American friend and fab Pilates instructor* Emily recently moved into an apartment with a breathtaking view of the Eiffel Tower, and she threw a small party for some friends and their children to enjoy the fireworks**.

Dinner was assembled potluck-style, and the theme was “Typically French”.

Feta and Fresh Herb Quick Bread

I took me all of three seconds to decide what I was going to bring: nothing could be more quintessentially French than a cake salé — a quick bread. Cut into slices or cubes, they are a national fixture of our buffets, picnics, and other apéro spreads.

Now, I must make a confession: I often find other people’s too dry (sorry!), and have worked hard to perfect my own recipe to reach the Holy Grail of quick breads, one with a finely crisp crust and a fresh, moist texture that begs for another slice (and another).

Sharing the evening on Snapchat! Find me @clotildenet.

Sharing the evening on Snapchat! Find me @clotildenet.

(This is one of the cult recipes I included in Chocolate & Zucchini, my first cookbook, which I just released digitally in its French edition. If you read French, download Chocolate & Zucchini : Le Livre today to inspire your summer cooking!)

This quick bread formula can be used for endless combinations of ingredients, but the version I have adopted with great success since the beginning of summer — for this Bastille Day buffet, for the year-end party at my youngest’s daycare, and my eldest’s school fair — is garnished with feta cheese (the real kind, from Greece and made with sheep’s milk) and mixed fresh herbs.

Feta and Fresh Herbs

My feta and fresh herb quick bread joined the others’ contributions on the coffee table in Emily and Bruno’s living room (from which small hands quickly grabbed breadsticks and filched saucisson slices) and soon enough, only crumbs remained.

This is a must-have recipe for your repertoire, and I recommend you take the basic formula and run with it, garnishing with your own flavor pairings. What will you dream up?

Feta and Fresh Herb Quick Bread

* Every summer, Emily offers a Pilates challenge, a short series of moves to do every day at home, on vacation, anywhere, to feel good and energized! All the details are here. Join us, will you?

** Obviously, the taste of that evening changed dramatically in the morning when we learned about the horrifying events that had taken place simultaneously in Nice. My thoughts and solidarity go to those who have been affected by this, or any act of terrorism throughout the world.

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Feta and Fresh Herb Quick Bread Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Serves 8 to 10.

Feta and Fresh Herb Quick Bread Recipe

Ingredients

  • A pat of unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 150 grams (1 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 large organic eggs
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
  • 150 grams (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) plain unsweetened yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 200 grams (7 ounces) sheep's milk feta cheese (substitute goat cheese)
  • 1 bunch fresh herb leaves (flat-leaf parsley, basil, chervil, chives, mint, preferably a mix), about 20 grams or 1 cup loosely packed, roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F).
  2. Butter a 24-by-12-cm (9-by-5-inch) loaf pan and sprinkle half the sesame seeds onto the bottom and sides, shaking the pan to coat.
  3. Coating the pan with sesame seeds
  4. Combine the flour and baking powder in a bowl.
  5. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, yogurt, salt, and pepper. Stir in the cheese and herbs.
  6. Quick bread batter 1
  7. Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Don’t overmix the batter, it’s okay if a few lumps remain.
  8. Quick bread batter 2
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, level the surface with a spatula, and sprinkle with the remaining sesame seeds.
  10. Batter in pan
  11. Put into the oven to bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the loaf is golden and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  12. Allow to cool for a few minutes and run a knife around the pan to loosen. Unmold and transfer to a rack to cool.
  13. Cut in slices or cubes just before serving, slightly warm or at room temperature.

Notes

  • The bread can be made a day ahead. Wrap tightly and keep in the fridge.
  • I like to prepare it halfway the day before: I measure and mix the dry ingredients in one bowl, and the wet ingredients in another, which I cover and refrigerate. The next day, all that's left to do is combine the two and bake.
  • The recipe calls for a 5 x 9 inch loaf pan as this is the US standard and I don’t want people to go out and buy a different size pan just for this recipe. However, in the photos I used a pan that is the French standard and it indeed longer in shape. It is 10 by 30 cm, which is about 4 x 12 inch.

http://chocolateandzucchini.com/recipes/appetizers/feta-fresh-herb-quick-bread-recipe/

Feta and Fresh Herb Quick Bread

  • Cheryl Lim

    Good cheese is really expensive in my little city in the tropics. (I love cheese but the cheapest I can get is Mainland brand cow’s milk cheese – cheddar, edam, aged – at about 18 ringgit for 250g, just for example)

    What are some suggestions as a substitution?

    • Paul S Bunten

      If you’re in KL, you can find frozen paneer at Modern Stores.

    • You could substitute cubed chicken meat, or tofu!

  • Julie Czosek

    I just made this! Batter tasted great and it smells heavenly! Waiting for it to cool down just a bit. I absolutely love your cake recipes, or in this case quick bread. They are not intended to feed the masses and are perfect for two people for a few days. Thank you!

  • stuart itter

    Nice. What combinations of aperitifs do you put out with it? Combinations…this, this, and that. Or that, that, and this. Actually, start with how many items you put out at a time. Then combinations. Particular items could appear in one or more or all the combinations.

    • It really depends on the occasion and the number of guests, but for the July 14 apéro with 12 people (children included) there was this bread, a plate of sliced saucission, two bowls of olives, a bowl of cherry tomatoes, a bowl of tapenade, and some sliced bread to spread it on. Does that help?

      • stuart itter

        Tasteful and confirming. So many ways to go. And, too much is a problem. Suddenly there is a new rage around: Shishito Peppers. A perfect, delicate, scentful green pepper the size of an index finger. Sautéed at medium heat until they darken and collapse…about 15 minutes. Lemon juice and salt and plated-like a plate of sardines. Perfect for your presentation. Why, simply $13.50 a pound in these parts. Ten or so a couple of dollars.

        • I didn’t know about these, thanks! Would be so curious to have a taste.

  • Heather Sneddon

    This sounds fab. Will definitely try

  • Annabel Smyth

    Must try this when I’m back with my oven (the camping-car doesn’t have one). We were debating popping into Paris tomorrow, but the aires are so full we don’t want to risk arriving so late we can’t find a space! So it will be Chantilly and Senlis, I expect. Another time….

    • Have fun! ^^

      • Annabel Smyth

        We did! Although I am Very Cross Indeed that I didn’t buy dried flageolets when I saw them in some random supermarket somewhere, as there were none in the big Carrefour where I did our last shop before crossing! And you can’t get them here – you can get plenty of other pulses, but I’ve never seen flageolets.

  • Tejanarusa

    I’m dying to try this – picked up feta and herbs on the way home, but.. have a question.
    Is this recipe only in the French version of the C&Z book? I can’t find it in my copy, so I’m printing this out. Just curious, in case I’ve somehow missed it in the book.

    • The recipe I mentioned from the C&Z book is a tomato, pistachio, and chorizo quick bread. It’s based on the same formula, but with different flavoring ingredients. I love it too!

  • Poppy Barkah

    I am definitely going to try this to bring with us on our road trip next week. Will this keep a couple of days, though?

    • It keeps for a couple of days in the fridge! Will you have an insulated bag with you?

      • Poppy Barkah

        I do and it’s coming with me, but since we are a group of 7 it might not last very long!

  • Luckybet168

    Look Tasty , gonna try this recipe this weekend. Thank You
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  • Tracey

    Made the Quick Bread during the week – as I had a bunch of fresh basil that I needed to use & wanted something to accompany dinner that night. Super quick and easy and SO DELICIOUS! Going to keep this recipe on hand to make again (and again!)

  • Julie Osborne

    Looks delicious but how many grams are there in a pat of butter? We don’t use that term in Australia

    • I don’t really weigh it, it’s about 2 teaspoons — whatever you need to grease the inside of the pan.

  • Susan Brodie

    Good formula, very nice cake salé crumb, but missing a little something–salt, acidity, texture. Next time will add some minced sun-dried tomatoes, perhaps a few pine nuts. Or depart from the vegetarian theme to add minced chorizo or country ham.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Susan, let me know if you try those variations!

      • Susan Brodie

        Sundried tomatoes were just the thing. The pignoli were too soft to make a noticeable difference in texture.

  • Jules Clancy

    I made it using chickpea flour and it was so brilliant Clotilde! I’ve been looking for an easy gluten-free bread for my toddler and this looks like a winner (without the herbs). Love it!

    • I’m so glad to hear it, Jules. What a great variation! Did you do 100% chickpea flour, or a mix?

  • alina lin

    This looks interesting, will try it sometimes

    Daftar Sbobet

  • msvitamin

    A Tremendous Hit! I made two for my office, served with tapenade, as suggested. I received many requests for the recipe and happily directed them to your site, Clotilde! One was made with sheep feta and the herbs I had available: italian parsley, chives, sage, savory, thyme, rosemary. The other was made with soft goat’s cheese, sundried tomatoes (packed in oil; per a commenter’s suggestion), italian parsley, chives, thyme, oregano, rosemary, goat yogurt instead of cow yogurt, and oil instead of butter (for the cow-dairy-averse). Note: when using the soft goat’s cheese, mix all wet ingredients first, then chunk in the cheese before folding in the dry ingredients; otherwise, it all blends together for a dryer product. Also, followed the tip for prepping in advance and storing in fridge after baking. Thank you very much!

  • Robert Galvin

    What are the dimensions of your loaf pan? It looks longer and narrower and shallower than a standard U.S. loaf pan. All the better for this kind of bread.

    • Hello Robert, the recipe calls for a 5 x 9 inch loaf pan as this is the US standard and I don’t want people to go out and buy a different size pan just for this recipe! However, in the photos I used a pan that is the French standard and it indeed longer in shape. It is 10 by 30 cm, which is about 4 x 12 inch.

      • Robert Galvin

        Wow. Thanks, Clotide, for the rapid response. Something to add to my list the next time I find myself in Dehillerin.

  • Carolina Luce

    I ve been in France five years and tasted many types of “cakes salés” at potluck events and still not found one that I enjoyed. I haven’t tried making one myself though so perhaps i’ll give your recipe a try :-)

  • Rosemary Shew

    I want to make this sometime this week. Just landed in Denver any high altitude instructions? Thanks

  • wow.. look delicious. i will try to make it. Thanks for sharing

    Bursa Taruhan Liga

  • Nehal Mc

    I can see myself making this again and again. It turned out beautiful. I also added grated zucchini and slit fresh red chilli. Thank you for the recipe.

    • Love those additions ! How much grated zucchini ?

      • Nehal Mc

        Half a med zucchini – coarsely grated and drained. I was being cautious though… I think I could have put twice the amount and it would have been fine.

  • Obrigado por escrever este artigo, este artigo é obviamente interessante. Eu espero que você vai continuar a trazer-nos a história mais surpreendente. i vai seguir em seu blog para ver em seu trabalho incrível e criativo no futuro. Obrigado por compartilhar.
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  • suryani

    wow.. seeing your article i feel like i wanna do it, thanks it must be really delicious

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  • suryani

    I want to make this sometime this week. Thanks What are the dimensions of your loaf pan?

    semua tentang buah

  • Heather Aspinall

    The tin size you state does not appear to be the size shown in your recipe, it looks like a longer, narrower one..I live in Scotland

    • Thank you Heather. This is a question I addressed in response to another comment but I realize now it belongs in the notes section of the recipe! I’ve updated it now with the following: “The recipe calls for a 5 x 9 inch loaf pan as this is the US standard and I don’t want people to go out and buy a different size pan just for this recipe. However, in the photos I used a pan that is the French standard and it indeed longer in shape. It is 10 by 30 cm, which is about 4 x 12 inch.”

  • Heather Aspinall

    Thank you so much for the prompt reply. I do actually have tin size used in the blog. I assume the baking time is different! I am looking forward to trying your recipe over the holidays. Enjoy your Christmas.

    • I am finding the baking time is similar for both shapes. The recipe is pretty forgiving anyway.

  • Nicole

    Made this as part of our contribution to a Christmas Day buffet with friends, was so good and worked so well made it again the next day for our Boxing Day late lunch to have with leftover hand. Can see this one becoming quite the staple, especially for with veterinarians and for a more interesting option than plain bread.

    • I assume it’s good for vegetarians, including vegetarian veterinarians? ;)

  • Heather Aspinall

    Thanks again, making as part of my new years day festive meal. Look forward to receiving your blog in the New Year….best regards Heaher

  • annieweisner

    Do you think I could sub some additional yogurt for the oil to make it a bit healthier?

    • I personally don’t think that making this lower-fat would make it healthier (we need good fats in our diet) but I imagine you didn’t come for a debate on nutrition. :)

      From a strictly taste/texture perspective, you can substitute more yogurt for part or all of the oil, but I recommend you do this only if you’ll be eating the bread entirely on the day you make it, as the oil helps to keep it moist overnight.

  • BettyB

    Can I freeze this? Thanks

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