I love savoury cakes and this particular recipe is a firm favourite of mine.
Given my New Year’s resolution to cook more vegetarian food, this has frequently been in the form of vegetable soups. After several days of eating rich food like Meatballs in Red Wine Sauce or Boeuf Bourguignon with Baguette Dumplings, a simple and soothing bowl of soup is a great way to restore the body’s balance.
But those who know me will know that I can’t just simply sit down to a mere bowl of soup for dinner. Maybe as a starter, but for a complete meal, I need something a bit more. Some bread on the side is a must, and this Rustic Bacon & Cheddar Bread is a quick and simple way to bulk up a meal.
This recipe comes from Rachel Allen’s baking compendium, aptly called Bake (or Rachel’s Baking Secrets in the US). Although it is called a bread, it is really a savoury cake owing to the absence of yeast. A savoury cake might sound unusual to some, but I love them. Like savoury muffins, they are great at breakfast or brunch, to take along for picnics, or – my frequent choice – served at dinner to help that bowl of soup go further. They are delicious served warm and are equally good served cold.
This particular Rustic Bacon & Cheddar Bread has a mild cheesy flavour which is balanced by the piquancy of the grainy mustard, with a savoury, salty burst from the bacon throughout.
You can fiddle with the ingredients a bit, if you like, replacing the cheddar with perhaps a Gruyère (which I often do for a stronger taste), leaving out the bacon for a vegetarian option, adding some fresh or dried herbs like thyme or oregano … the possibilities are endless.
The recipe lends itself well to halving to bake in a smaller tin, or even made as muffins, in either case you should reduce the baking time accordingly.
I find that I make a lot of savoury cakes but this recipe is one I return to quite often, not just because I usually always have the ingredients to hand in the fridge and pantry, but also because it simply tastes great.