Cheese, Olive and Ham Bread

Cheese, Olive and Ham Bread

I knew immediately upon hearing about Dorie Greenspan’s new cookbook, Around My French Table, that I would be absolutely enamored with it since her Baking: From My Home to Yours is one of my most beloved cookbooks, filled with fabulous recipes. I put in my Amazon order for the book, and before it got here, I was browsing through Barnes & Noble when I picked up a copy of the book, eager to flip through it and not wanting to have to wait for it to arrive. At the beginning of the book is a section called “Nibbles and Hors D’oeuvres” and while turning the pages I landed on this, referred to in the book as “back-of-the-card cheese and olive bread”. And I knew immediately it would be the first recipe I would make from the book. Now, I don’t like olives. I can tolerate black ones if they are on a pizza, hanging out with lots of other stuff. But the green ones? Just the smell makes me want to gag. BUT… my Chief Culinary Consultant absolutely loves olives. When I make pepperoni bread I always add green olives to at least one loaf just for him. So once I saw this recipe, I knew it was something he would love and couldn’t wait to make it.

Cheese, Olive and Ham Bread

The most amazing thing about this bread? I absolutely loved it. I guess I’ve learned that if black olives are surrounded by enough cheese and pork products (on pizza – sausage and pepperoni, in this bread – ham), I actually might dig them a little bit. And saying I dug this bread would be the understatement of the century. We both totally loved it, and his brother did as well. His brother also isn’t a huge olive fan and said that sometimes they can plain ruin a dish, but that the bread was fabulous. This was great at room temperature as well as warmed up. My CCC said he thought it would make a great breakfast bread, and I think it would also be great cut into thick cubes and served with appetizers.

Cheese, Olive & Ham Bread - Cubed for appetizers

The bread has a thick, dense, yet moist texture with a tight crumb. Usually I would have used a Swiss-style cheese or white cheddar in this, but I already had a block of sharp yellow cheddar in the fridge, so I figured I might as well use that (hey, we’re still in a recession, right?!). The recipe in the book calls for an olive tapenade, not ham, but in the preface to the recipe Dorie notes that swapping diced ham for the tapenade would bring the recipe close to the original (which was printed by a French cheese makers’ organization and passed out on cards). Well, that was a no-brainer. Less olive? Additional flavor from ham? Sold. If you want to try the version with tapenade, just omit the ham and use 1½ tablespoons tapenade in its place.

I hope you’ll give this quick and easy recipe a try and Dorie’s book a look – both are truly fabulous!

One year ago: Black Bean Mushroom Burgers
Two years ago: Apple Hand Pies
Three years ago: Sweet Dinner Rolls

Cheese, Ham and Olive Bread

Yield: 1 8x4-inch loaf, about 12 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour


1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2¾ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
4 eggs, at room temperature
½ cup whole milk
6½ tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons (1.5 ounces) small-diced ham
6 ounces Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 1½ cups)
2/3 cup pitted black olives, each olive sliced horizontally into ¼-inch rings


1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Oil or butter an 8½-x-4½-inch loaf pan.

2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.

3. In another bowl or in a large measuring cup, lightly beat the eggs, then whisk in the milk, olive oil, and ham. Pour the liquid ingredients over the flour mixture and stir gently to blend. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the cheese and olives. Scrape the batter into the pan.

4. Bake the loaf for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F and continue to bake the loaf for another 35 minutes or so, until it's puffed and golden, and a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let it rest for 5 minutes, then turn it out. Turn the loaf right side up and let cool completely on the rack.

(Recipe adapted from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan)


42 Responses to “Cheese, Olive and Ham Bread”

  1. Kylie on October 13, 2010 at 12:13 am

    That definitely looks unique but like it would be delicious!! Yum.


  2. the blissful baker on October 13, 2010 at 1:58 am

    this bread looks scrumptious! i am not a fan of ham, but love olives and cheese. would i make much of a difference if i left it out since its only 3 tbsp?


    • Michelle on October 18th, 2010 at 10:21 pm

      Yes, you could definitely omit the ham. Happy baking! 🙂


  3. Jason Sandeman on October 13, 2010 at 7:58 am

    I love the bread as an hors d’oeuvre! I can just see using this as a base for a roasted San Marzano tomato. I used to have the same problem with olives as you, until I discovered kalamata olives in open vats, freshly made. I would never go back to the canned version again. Those are enough to make me gag.


  4. amanda @ fake ginger on October 13, 2010 at 8:00 am

    I’m with you on the olives but this bread looks so good! I cannot wait to get my hands on this book!


  5. Katrina on October 13, 2010 at 8:01 am

    This bread looks so good! My family would love it.


  6. maggy@threemanycooks on October 13, 2010 at 8:48 am

    This looks delicious. Perfect for a cocktail party or for having people over 🙂


  7. Drick on October 13, 2010 at 8:51 am

    this might make a fine hors d’oeuvre but I know I could east slices of it right out of the oven – maybe even use it as sandwich bread…hummmmm


  8. Ad K. on October 13, 2010 at 8:51 am

    OMG! I’m making this today! Looks so yummy and I know my husband will love it …TFS.


  9. Jenny Flake on October 13, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Looks so good Michelle! How great for breakfast or anytime?!


  10. Lori @ RecipeGirl on October 13, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Looks so yummy- what a great idea to cut it into cubes and serve as an appetizer! Can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of Dorie’s book!


  11. Jen @ How To: Simplify on October 13, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    This breads looks like it’s jam-packed with flavor! I’m not a huge fan of ham but I’m sure this would make me love it!


  12. The Klutzy Cook on October 13, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    I’m an olive fan, so no problems for me there. So are the kids, I think they’d love this in their lunchboxes. Thanks.


  13. Simple Skillet on October 13, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Thanks for sharing. Will HAVE to try this one, sounds great with a glass of wine!


  14. Amanda @ bakingwithoutabox on October 13, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    That looks great! Perfect for grapes on the side.


  15. sensiblecooking on October 13, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    Ok Printing the recipe right now. Gotta get the ingredients and get to work.


  16. Maria on October 13, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    I already bookmarked this one. Glad it was a hit!


  17. Cookin' Canuck on October 13, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    This bread looks fantastic! I can imagine how good this would be dipped into a bowl of soup.


  18. Sharlene on October 14, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    This is quite an interesting combination of flavors but I stand behind Dorie and everything she does so I’ll have to try it! Your loaf looks gorgeous.


  19. Patty on October 14, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    I’m a big fan of quick and easy quick breads. This one sounds (and looks!) particularly awesome with all the savory goodness packed in. 🙂


  20. Tracy on October 14, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    I’m not even a huge ham fan and I totally want to try this. I need to get my hands on Dorie’s new book!


  21. Claudia on October 14, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    Well, I am an olive fiend so this is singing to me. I had no idea Dorie came out with another cookbook. I must have been asleep under a rock all summer.


  22. Cherine on October 14, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    The bread looks fantastic!


  23. SusieBee at eatlittleeatbig on October 14, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    I love the idea of cubes on toothpicks for an appy! I will try this and swap out some white flour for whole wheat.

    I just made a version of Dories Pumpkin Muffins


  24. Ameya on October 15, 2010 at 4:39 am

    Olive and cheese bread sounds like a great comination!! I’m a vegetarian, but I would love to give this a try without the ham 🙂


  25. Jenny Nguyen on October 15, 2010 at 6:13 am

    What a great idea! That looks delicious!


  26. FOODESSA on October 15, 2010 at 6:46 am

    Your post got my attention because of the title (Hubby and I love olives and cheese) however, your generous enthusiasm to try that one recipe in the book to please someone else was endearing. I guess, it was a win win situation and a light bulb moment for you to dare to use olives again ;o)

    You got me intrigued about the book…I’ll have to investigate before adding yet one more recipe book to an already overflowing bookshelf…Hubby is keeping a close eye on me. LOL

    Flavourful wishes,


  27. Miss Martina on October 15, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Beautiful job on the bread! I’ve had Dorie’s new book on my Amazon Wish List for a few weeks but you’ve convinced me to go ahead & purchase it! Thank you, Miss Martina.


  28. Jenny on October 15, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    This looks so delicious! Just found what I am going to bake this weekend! I will be posting about it on my blog



    • Michelle on October 18th, 2010 at 10:17 pm

      Hi Jenny, I hope you enjoyed the bread this weekend!


  29. tcmaryf on October 15, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Love it and love the oidea of cutting it up and using for appys


  30. Vicki in GA on October 15, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    Immediately, I thought of breakfast – poached, basted, or scrambled eggs – a little homemade-pepper jam on the side – Peet’s coffee – delish!
    I have some Canadian bacon and lovely cheeses from Wisconsin – I’m going to give this a go for tonight’s dinner.


    • Michelle on October 18th, 2010 at 10:19 pm

      Oh gosh, that all sounds fabulous Vicki!! Hope you enjoyed your dinner!


  31. Betsy on October 18, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    I made the bread this weekend. It was easy, and very tastey. We had it for breakfast.


    • Michelle on October 18th, 2010 at 10:20 pm

      So glad you enjoyed this Betsy!


  32. Dionne Baldwin on October 30, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    This bread looks beautiful. The colors of the cheese, hand and olives compliment the bread so well! And your photos are gorgeous…and on a culinary note it sounds amazing! I bet these flavors go so well together. I’m drooling just thinking about it.


  33. meemsnyc on February 2, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    I have got to try this recipe, it sounds so good! I love ham and cheese and olives. Yummy.


  34. Erica on August 20, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    oh wow! this loaf reminds me of a stained glass window or something! so beautiful! this would be perfect for a party!


  35. Evelyna Sakura on January 8, 2013 at 5:14 am

    I’m going to try this after the brownies(I had to postpone making ’em coz an exam came up). Once again I have a question about the technique. How do you fold with a rubber spatula? Aren’t bread doughs normally pretty not-manipulable-by-anything-but-hand? Or is this dough more liquidy than doughs are?


    • Michelle on January 9th, 2013 at 10:56 am

      Hi Evelyna, This is a quick bread recipe, which does not require yeast. The consistency of most quick bread recipes is like that of a muffin batter, not a stiff yeast dough.


  36. Kal on June 3, 2014 at 5:12 am

    Hi there, this may seem like a silly question but I’m quite the novice at baking. What exactly does 1-2/3 cups of flour mean?


    • Michelle on June 3rd, 2014 at 2:28 pm

      Hi Kal, 1 cup + ⅔ cup flour.


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