Picnic in the rain
When I was little my mother baked a rustic, cheesy loaf I loved (especially toasted, smeared with love-it-or-hate-it Marmite).
I wanted a transportable treat for the attendees of my Inwood Field Garlic Walk, and this recipe, a hybrid of several found online, with plenty of my own interference, has delivered a walk staple.
Garlic mustard and field garlic
We top the slices with field garlic butter or a garlic mustard pesto.
Garlic mustard pesto
This recipe uses baking powder, not yeast, for leavening, and is best eaten fresh, within 24 hours, and later, as the toast I loved when I was small. It is still excellent with Marmite.
In a nod to our South African campsite baking adventures, I added beer, and of course you can substitute your favourite cheese.
Cheese Bread with Field Garlic
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour ( I use King Arthur, unbleached)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil or field garlic oil
1/2 cup beer, plus a little extra
3 oz coarsely grated Gruyère
2 oz cheddar, cut into very small cubes (about 1/4")
1/2 cup minced fresh field garlic greens (or chives)
Coarse salt to sprinkle on the top of the loaf
Variation: instead of the field garlic or chives, use 1 Tbsp of ground sumac, and substitute cider for the beer.
Preheat the oven 350'F/180'C. Butter or oil an 8.5" long loaf pan (or muffin trays, for that matter, if you'd like individual servings. They will bake much faster).
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the eggs, milk, olive oil and the beer. Stir gently till well mixed. Add the cheeses and field garlic or chives and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. The mixture should be quite stiff, but if it is too dry to turn easily with the spoon, add another slug or two of beer. Do not overmix, or it will become a brick.
Pour the bread mixture into the prepared pan, making a shallow hollow down the middle of the batter, lengthwise. Sprinkle the top lightly with coarse salt (or sumac).
Bake for 50 - 60 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and gently tip the loaf from its pan. Place on a cooling rack. It can be eaten right away.
Cheese and field garlic bread with field garlic butter