I first conceived of this bread when I was teaching a culinary arts job training program. We often received donations of food in such quantities that we really had to stretch to find ways to use it up. Odd abundance is a great teaching tool. While I'm back to being a workaday chef, I still make this bread both at work and at home every spring for the sweet memories it evokes.
This quick bread can be mixed, in the oven, and cool enough to slice but still melt butter by the time dinner is ready for the table.
Fresh peas lightly blanched - I used fresh little English peas - , snips of tender young chives just poking through the soil, and bright lemon zest will be perfectly happy to find themselves served alongside a colorful spring soup, a brilliant salad, or any fish you can name.
And a note of reality: if can't find or don't have bright, fresh peas, please feel free to use frozen (but please promise me you won't try to use canned). Just be sure to thaw them first and drain them well ; ) - boulangere —boulangere
Test Kitchen Notes
When I make a bread like this, I wonder why I ever buy bread in the store when it can be so easy to throw together a loaf of quick bread with such satisfying results. This bread came together so quickly and easily and tasted oh-so-good! I wasn't sure how I'd like peas in bread but they were perfect little surprises in the mouth and added a little moisture to the bread. The lemon brightens everything with the result being a very spring-like fresh bread. The only thing I might try differently next time, an idea of my husband's who also loved this bread, is to add a little chopped mint -- mainly because we love the flavor combo of peas, lemon and mint. One thing for sure, I'll be making this bread many more times!
One side note: I made half the recipe which amounted to a small boule just perfect for a dinner. The only adjustment I made was the baking time, which was perfect at 25 minutes. - ChezSuzanne —TheWimpyVegetarian
1 large or 2 small beautifully browned round loaf
2 1/4 cups
sea or kosher salt
fresh peas, blanched, cooled in ice water, drained
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Anchor the corners if using a convection oven so that the parchment doesn't fly loose and cover the bread.
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the peas, chives (snip them in with some scissors), and lemon zest. Toss to blend.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil and eggs. Whisk in the buttermilk or sour milk (basically milk with a teaspoon of vinegar - not balsamic, turns it a frightening color - microwaved for 30 seconds; alternatively, use truly sour milk) and honey. Add to dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just blended.
The dough will be very sticky. That's okay. Turn out onto a generously floured surface. Pat your palms in the flour. Shape the dough into a dome, or divide in half and shape into 2 domes (they'll bake faster this way). Don't worry about flour on its surface; it will look nicely rustic. Carefully transfer to your baking sheet.
Bake for about 45 minutes (about 25 if 2 smaller loaves), until risen, crackled open, deeply golden brown, and your kitchen is oh so fragrant. If you must, insert a long skewer into the dead center. If it's gummy, add 5 minute increments until it isn't.
Let cool enough to be able to handle and slice easily. Light some candles, pour some wine, and toast yet another fine day.