Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Polenta loaf with rosemary, parmesan and olive oil

A quick bread is just that - something you can pull together in no time to put out for drinks with some relish or chutney, or to serve with lunch or dinner to sop up sauces and stews. Toasted and buttered it makes a good base for baked beans at breakfast, and goes beautifully with bacon and/or eggs, particularly the sort with a nice runny yolk. It's grainy, lightly sweet, fragrant with rosemary, and excellent for using up the odd bit of sour cream in your fridge. There's no yeast to fret over, no dough to knead, or rising time to wait, and it's a shade of yellow so cheerful it will put you in a good mood without even tasting it. A little lift for midweek.

Polenta loaf with rosemary, parmesan and olive oil
Adapted from a recipe from America's Test Kitchen Quick Family Cookbook via email from Ann Darling, a long-standing recipe sharer

When I make this I generally halve the recipe and make one modest size loaf which is cooked in a little less time (check after 30 minutes). But if you're catering for a crowd, or want to stash half a loaf in your freezer for later, the original recipe below would fit the bill perfectly. I laid a few strands of thyme (rubbed with olive oil so they didn't burn) on top of the loaf just to make it look pretty. You could do the same with rosemary, particularly if you have some left over from what you got to make this!

2 cups flour
1 cup polenta
1 tablespoon minced, chopped rosemary
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking (bicarb) soda
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 oz parmesan, grated coarse (1 cup)
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 large eggs 

Preheat oven to 400 deg F.

Whisk flour, polenta, rosemary, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. Sitr in 1/2 cup parmesan, breaking up any clumps, til coated with flour.

In a separate bowl, whisk sour cream, milk, sugar, oil and eggs together til smooth. Gently fold sour cream mixture into flour mixture til just combined, do not overmix. 

Pour into greased loaf pan or greased muffin tins.

Sprinkle with remaining parmesan.

Bake til golden brown and a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean, 15-20 minutes for muffins, 40-50 minutes for loaf pan. Cool before inverting.


  1. Making this now. Apartment smells divine. Thanks Alice.

    Judy Anderson

  2. Making this right now. Apartment smells divine. Thanks Alice.
    Judy Anderson