You do not hand the salt from one person to the other or you will start a fight. To become best friends with someone, you have to eat a bag of salt together. Guests are welcomed with bread and salt. If you are left without salt in your house, you will become poor. And the list goes on…
I had a salty superstitious feeling. I wanted to feel the salt on my tongue again…You know, as much as:
“How much do you love me?
“As much as salt.”
How do you delight your palate with saltiness? For me this time, the answer was dried pears, leeks, olives, and spicy cheese in a simple, dense loaf of bread.
Black Olives and Cheese Bread
1 cup (130 g) whole wheat flour
¾ (100 g) cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon (15 mL) baking powder
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
¼ tsp (5 mL) black pepper
3 large eggs
2/3 cup (160 mL) buttermilk
1/3 cup (80 mL) grapeseed oil + 1 tablespoon
½ cup (90 g) grated spiced Provolone cheese
½ cup (90 g) grated Gruyere
1 tablespoon (15 mL) fresh thyme
1 tablespoon (15 mL) dried savory
1/3 cup (70 g) toasted walnuts, chopped
½ cup (70 g) kalamata olives, chopped
1 cup dried pears (110 g), rehydrated and chopped
3 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
- Heat one tablespoon of grapeseed oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook for about 10 minutes, until they are soft and fragrant.
- Heat a dry skillet over medium heat and add the walnuts. Toast the walnuts for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently until the walnuts smell toasty. Remove from pan, cool and roughly chop.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and position the rack in the middle. Generously butter and flour a 9-inch glass loaf pan.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, salt, and black pepper. Sift the dry ingredients.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat in eggs one at a time, until well combined. Add buttermilk and grapeseed oil.
- Add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed until well combined.
- Stir in the grated cheeses, herbs, toasted walnuts, olives, dried pears, and cooked leeks. The dough will be dense and heavy.
- Spoon batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth with a spatula.
- Bake until a tester inserted into center of the bread comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes. Unmold the bread from pan and cool completely before slicing.