Do you ever take a look at old recipe books – like decades old? I find them incredibly fascinating – what a window into the past and what food trends were popular then!
I was recently looking at some of my mother’s older recipe books, and I always find that she used to clip recipes from newspapers, or keep old grocery store flyers, or just write herself notes that often ended up being inserted in her older books. (Talk about a window into what she was thinking of baking or cooking at the time!). I absolutely love that.
So one that I found recently was a grocery store flyer from one of the Minneapolis area’s higher end grocery stores, Byerly’s from April 1988 (can’t believe that was 35 years ago already). And wouldn’t you know it, this one was titled “Tea Time!” Ha!
Even then, they were saying “…everybody’s talking about teas. Tea time is an elegant pause, a civilized custom…” Of course, I couldn’t agree more. And while I was into tea back then, having come back from Germany a few years earlier where I was inducted into the pleasures of afternoon tea time, I hadn’t realized the idea had made it over to the US in any big way at that point. So rethinking that one now 🙂
Among the recipes in the flyer was one for “Herb Dainties” – a very basic white bread tea sandwich with butter and lovely fresh herbs. This had me thinking about making an herb butter to go with another recipe I wanted to try from Shauna Sever’s Midwest Made baking book, her Brewer’s Cheddar Bread. And I gotta say, when I put the two together, it made for a really nice, simple bite that goes great with a nice black tea.
I followed the original recipe pretty closely, though I did make two smaller loaves, instead of one big one. And I winged it with the herb butter – ended up with rosemary, thyme and parsley because that’s what I happened to have in my garden at the moment. And I usually guesstimate on something like this for how much to put in – just until my butter has lots of green in it and I feel like I’ll be sure to taste the herbs.
The bread has a nice, holy crumb, and is tender and moist. The extra-sharp Cheddar, and plenty of it, really comes through in the flavor. I could almost eat it as-is, but the creamy herb butter does really round it out nicely.
Cheesy Bread with Herbed Butter
- 1 1/2 c. (170 g.) coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
- 1/4 c. (32 g.) finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 c. (384 g.) all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp. baking powder
- 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1 large shallot, peeled and finely minced
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced
- 2 Tbsp. (28 g.) unsalted butter, melted, divided
- 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 c. (340 g.) cold beer
- For the herbed butter, 1 stick salted butter (or unsalted, but then add salt to taste) with preferred herbs, e.g., rosemary, thyme, rosemary, green onion
DirectionsPreheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit / 180° Celsius. Spray a 9×5 loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and line with parchment paper.
Toss together the cheeses in a small bowl, removing 1/4 c. and setting it aside for the topping. Whisk together the dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and pepper. Then add all but the 1/4 c. reserved cheese, and shallot and garlic; stir to combine.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in 1 Tbsp. of the melted butter and the mustard. Stir the butter and mustard together with a fork, add the beer, and then use a wooden spoon to gently pull the whole batter together until it just comes together and all ingredients are wet.
Put the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top and spoon the remaining 1 Tbsp. of melted butter over the top of the batter. Sprinkle the reserved cheese (1/4 c.) over the top. Bake 50-60 mins – check with a toothpick that it comes out clean.
Cool the loaf in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then remove from the pan to cool further.
For the herbed butter, cut up the rosemary, thyme, parsley, green onion, or other herbs you prefer, and add them to the softened butter. Mix together; add seasoning if needed. Spread on the bread slices when ready to serve.
Try this savory, cheesy alternative to something sweet for your afternoon tea!