Sun-Dried Tomato and Black Olive Bread

Ah, the smell of fresh-baked bread. It could almost be bottled as aromatherapy or a perfume (perhaps called “Upper Crust”?). I’ve heard if you’re selling your house, you should bake some bread and it will help give it an enticingly cozy, homey aura when buyers come to browse. I can certainly see that. I remember going to my grandma’s house as a kid and the smell of baked bread wafted down the hallway, greeting us with anticipation of what was just known as “sweet bread.” Toasted and, of course, topped with a generous amount of butter, it was delicious. We never quite knew what went into it. It was pretty much a basic white-ish bread but it had that special something with a hint of sweetness. My mom tried to replicate it on occasion and it came close, but grandma, of course, didn’t really write things down.

I like the idea of baking bread, but the idea of messing with yeast, waiting for it to rise, etc., etc., not so much. But quick bread, now there’s something. These are usually made with baking soda and/or baking powder and you mix it up, put it in a pan, and bake. When you’re making your own bread, you can also afford to add interesting ingredients, like in this recipe by cookbook author Elinor Klivans, which appeared in Real Food. Flecks of sun-dried tomatoes and black olives dot this bread that has the texture of a yeast bread but it’s a quick bread leavened with baking powder and baking soda. It bakes in a layer pan and is cut into wedges for serving. It would make a welcome appetizer paired with a glass of wine, or served alongside some soup or as part of an Italian dinner. While it bakes, make sure to enjoy the eau de parfum.

Sun-Dried Tomato and Black Olive Bread

Serves 8

2 c. all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
4 large eggs
1½ c. sour cream
10 halves sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and coarsely chopped
4 oz. oil-cured black olives, pitted and halved
2 Tbsp. basil leaves, coarsely chopped and loosely packed
2 tsp. reserved oil from sun-dried tomatoes
¼ tsp. black pepper, freshly ground
olive oil for pan

Preheat oven to 375°F. Oil a 9-inch round pan with olive oil.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs to combine yolks and whites. Use a large spoon to stir in sour cream, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, basil, reserved oil, and pepper. Stir in the flour mixture until it is blended completely and a sticky dough forms. Scrape dough into the prepared pan. Smooth the top slightly. Bake until the top is golden brown and feels firm, about 45 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack about 15 minutes. Loosen the edges with a small, sharp knife and turn out onto wire rack. Cut into wedges to serve warm or at room temperature.

Nutrition info (per serving) Sun-Dried Tomato and Olive Bread: CALORIES 271 (128 from fat); FAT 15g (sat . 6g) ; CHOL 128mg; SODIUM 511mg; CARB 27g; FIBER 2g;  PROTEIN 8g

Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine, and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her son, who used to eat beets and Indian food as a preschooler, will one day again think of real food as more than something you need to eat before dessert and be inspired by his younger brother, who is now into trying new foods.