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So Many Questions: Cheese Filled, Gluten-Free Olive and Onion Bread

[The final recipe, here with olives, green onion and almond feta]

I’ve seen it mentioned on twitter.  I’ve noticed it in passing on other blogs.  I’ve gone to their pages and read them.  But sorry, folks, I still don’t get it.

Question One: What’s the Big Deal with Formspring Me? 

Personally, I’d rather springform (pan) me.  Then, at least, I’d have cheesecake when I was done.

Of course, I do understand the appeal of asking a blogger questions about her/himself; we all like to learn a little more about fellow bloggers’ personalities and personal lives.  (When I first started blogging, memes were all the rage, and I happily participated.  In a way, they accomplish something akin to Formspring, since they answer previously unanswered questions.) But what’s wrong with asking questions the old-fashioned way, through a blog comment, email, or social media?  (Okay, maybe those methods aren’t so old-fashioned after all.  But an inquisition, interrogationjury duty interview or Miss Universe Pageant have all been done before).

So please, go ahead, ask me anything! (Like, for instance, what’s up with Kara DioGuardi on Idol this season? I mean, canoodling with Simon? Drooling over Casey?  Crying??)  Or perhaps you’d like to know: how did I make this inimitable cheese bread?

[An early attempt:  higher, but too moist in the middle.]

Question Two: Why Am I Craving Bread All of the Sudden?

Now that I’m following Phase II of the ACD (almost a month with a “moderate” score on the ACD questionnaire!  Whoopee!), I’m allowed certain new grains and the occasional flour product.  Needless to say, I’ve been going to town baking again.  And though the sweet side of the recipe folder may remain a little neglected for a while, I’m perfectly happy to play with savory.

I’m not sure why I ended up with a hankering for this type of meal-in-a-loaf (or any bread, really), since  I’ve never been a fan of these floury foods in any form. I rarely consume sandwiches (in fact, you’ll find but one mention of a sandwich on this blog, and only two recipes for breads).  The idea of white bread–even a really good, crusty Italian ciabatta or French baguette–leaves me feeling “meh.” Now, give me a dense, hearty pumpernickel or a moist, tawny rye, and I’m there.  These were the kinds of breads we had in our house growing up–straight from my dad’s butcher shop (in an area where ethnic bakeries abounded); bread was something substantial, hefty, and dense; bread could double as a doorstop, or a means of self-defense (sorta like my confiscated keychain).

Recently, I completed testing for an upcoming review of Celine and Joni’s amazing  500 Vegan Recipes (on the blog soon!)  and found myself with some leftover “veganzola” cheese (the HH and I both loved it, and indeed enjoyed it for a few days in a row, but the recipe yields a huge amount).

Contemplating what I could do with the cheese, it suddenly hit me: “savory bread!”

Question Three: So How Do You Get the Caramel into the Caramilk Cheese into the Bread?

[Starting out with cheese filled savory muffins]

I thought it would be cool to enclose pockets of cheese within the bread so that each slice revealed a coin of the creamy stuff along with other savory goodies such as olives and green onions.  But how to accomplish this feat–how to prevent the cheese from melting and dissipating into the bread, effectively disappearing?

I baked up an early batch in muffin form, simply to test the theory; would the cheese remain distinct from the batter?  The answer was, clearly, “yes.”  And these savory muffins make a great breakfast accompaniment.

I thought the bread would be more visually appealing, however, as a single loaf, so that’s what I tried next (told you I had lots of cheese left over!).  Doubling the muffin recipe resulted in a huge slab, but one that required almost 2 hours to bake–and the middle was still a little too moist at that point.

Back to the flouring board.

[The final product: whole loaf success!]

Finally, I tweaked the recipe and proportions (while preserving the same ratios of ingredients–thanks, Michael Ruhlman!) to create a loaf about 3/4 the volume of my first attempt.  This one baked up beautifully in just over an hour.  I could barely wait for it to cool before tasting it–and when I did finally sink my teeth in, oooh mama!  Success!

The combination of tangy, salty cheese; briny, marinated olives; and delicately pungent onion was divine. The cheese remained soft within the moist, dense bread, punctuating each slice with a warm pillow of creaminess.  Manna!

Question Four: Sure, I May Have Liked It, But Are My Tastebuds Skewed From Being on the ACD for So Long?

As I sliced up the bread to photograph it for the blog, the HH observed from across the room.

“What is that?” he asked.

“Cheese bread with olives and onions,” I replied, crumbs dribbling from my mouth.

“Yeah, but it’s veeee-gan cheese, right?”

“Yup.”  (munch, munch).

He watched me scarf down the first slice and reach for another.  “Okay,” he conceded as I bit into it, “let me have a taste.”  I handed over a corner of the slice.

He chewed contemplatively.  “Hmm.  Not bad,” he said.  He broke off another piece from the slice and gobbled it up.  Then he reached for the bread on the table.

“You can’t eat that yet–I have to take a photo,” I said.

“Well, hurry up,” he scowled, “this is really good.”

And that, dear readers, is when I knew:  if an omnivorous, cheese-loving, gluten-eating, generally ornery and skeptical male wanted to chow down on this GF and vegan bread, I had a real winner on my hands.

Question Five:  So What Are You Waiting For? Go Bake Bread!

Last Year at this TimePlease Standby

Two Years Ago: Butterscotch Mousse Pie

© 2010 Diet, Dessert and Dogs


46 comments to So Many Questions: Cheese Filled, Gluten-Free Olive and Onion Bread

  • Its gorgeous, and sounds mighty delicious =D.


  • Eve

    That bread looks so delicious, especially those big blobs of cheeze! And gluten free? I’m impressed! I have to agree with you on the formspring issue – a lot of bloggers seem to be getting borderline inappropriate/nasty questions. Not my cup of tea! 🙂


  • Looks yummy!

    And what is up with Kara? Why is she always squeezing so close to Simon?


  • It looks so good! And yes, I can believe a couple of slices of this bread with a green salad would make for a lovely meal!


  • Jes

    Oh my goodness. I’m on a non-carb cleanse right now and reading your commentary and the recipe and looking at the pictures–I can almost taste it! This is very much so on my to-do list in a week or so when I can ease back into the floury stuff.


  • first off, hooooooray on phase II and the rock’n score! w00t! and secondly – zomg!!! onions, cheeze, olives – and all inside a bread?!?! wahoooooooooo! i need to make some cheeze super soon so i can make your cheeze filled olive ‘n onion bread, Ricki. thank you sooo much the wonderful recipe – it looks like you worked your tail off on getting it just right. it looks and sounds wonderful, my friend. yay!


  • This…looks…amazing!!! I have a question about the flours – can you grind quinoa/millet to get flour, or is there some mystical, special process to it? Also, can the soy flour be substituted, or is it rigid?

    P.S. Love your blog, it always makes me smile 🙂


  • Oh my goodness, that bread looks very, very tasty. Nice work! I definitely need to try this recipe.


  • Lauren,
    I sort of couldn’t stop eating it. 😉

    I haven’t followed many of the formspring pages, but didn’t notice any inappropriate questions (but now I’ll have to look, of course!) 😉

    My point exactly!

    It really did do the trick. And I wouldn’t even call it a “light” meal!

    Congrats on the cleanse! I’m sure the bread will wait. 🙂

    Thanks! As to the cheese, you can use any kind (daiya, tofutti cream cheese, etc)–I don’t think it *has* to be homemade (though it was fun using it!).

    Thanks so much for your comment, and for reading! And thanks for the kind words about the blog! 😀

    I’ve read that you can grind your own flours if you have a strong enough blender–just put the grains in and grind to a powder. I suspect a good ole coffee grinder would work, too (using smaller batches, of course). As to the soy flour, as a legume, I bet that chickpea flour would work instead–let me know if you give it a try.

    Thanks so much! Tasty, it indeed was! 🙂


  • Looks fabulous!

    The same thing happens here. When the hubby likes something I know I have a winner. 😉



  • Yay, no xanthan gum. But as many flours as I have on hand, I don’t have the ones you uses. I could try grinding them in my blender. I think they are easier to grind if toasted first.

    Now my real question: Why oh why was Lilly Scott voted off? I LIKED her. 🙁


  • I’ve been waiting for this bread recipe since you announced it on twitter a while ago. Thank God the waiting has ended, it looks and sounds so good!


  • A-K

    That sounds totally amazing Ricki! Your dedication to perfection is also (as usual!) utterly impressive. I just got 500 vegan recipes, so I’ll have to give this a try when I get around to some cheese-making!


  • I’m totally impressed by how nice the texture looks! Sounds tasty, too.


  • Cheesebread…with olives…and onions? You have managed to combine everything that is good in this world in one handy loaf shaped package. Ricki, you are a goddess.


  • This is really mouthwatering! I must try this. Olive bread is one of my favourites, and adding almond cheese? Presto – instant deliciousness.
    Also happy to know I’m not the only one who just doesn’t get the formspring thing – guess I’m old fashioned and like the memes.


  • Courtney

    I am still waiting for someone to explain Twitter to me, lol! I am so out of it it is sad…

    Glad to hear you are progressing to stage two of the ACD and that more foods are included 🙂 That bread sounds freaking amazing! Do you think it would be okay to sub garfava flour for the soy flour?



  • Wow your food looks great, I am especially loving the cheese olve bread. Thank you for commenting on my blog!!!
    Ok so come back and share with me your raw guidence!!!!lol
    Hugs, Brandi


  • Vegan Epicurean,
    Great to have an in-house taster, isn’t it? 😉

    I actually deliberately didn’t use any xanthan gum–I prefer not to, but also wanted something a little easier/less expensive. And the bread is still moist the next day, anyway! 🙂 Oh, and I totally agree–Lilly should still be there!

    Thanks so much! One day I’ll attempt the gorgeous yeast-based breads that you make so well. 🙂

    I think you’ll love the veganzola. We gobbled it up!

    It’s a very hearty, but still tender texture. . . mmm!

    Voracious Vegan,
    Would you mind telling that to the HH? 😉

    Yay! A comment from Shellyfish! 😀 Oh, and nice to hear you’re the same way re: formspring. 🙂

    Well, I do use twitter, but I’m afraid I probably still couldn’t explain it to you! And based on the time I spend on it, I’d say you’re pretty wise. Re: flours–I’d guess that garfava would be okay, especially since it’s not the major flour used. Let me know how it works if you give it a try!

    Glad you like the look of the bread! I’m not an expert on raw eating, but really enjoy raw foods and try to have something raw every day (ideally every meal). You’ll find lots of recipes under the “Raw or Mostly Raw” category in the Recipe Index. Thanks for the invite–I will visit again! 🙂


  • It looks amazing and I scanned the ingredients and though I could probably produce that from my kitchen – and I love savoury breads – which is no doubt why I post quite a few of them

    AS for questions – glad you answered them for me – though I am still a little confused about what is formspring me – but doesn’t sound like my sort of thing – what I really want to know is why do people just keep inventing more and more packages that we are told we should learn and we need a login to – why can’t we keep it simple????


  • mmm, okay, yeah I will probably have to try this 🙂


  • I don’t comment much, but I always read your blog 😀 (You’re hilarious btw)

    I’m dead set on making my own vegan cream cheese at home without using tofu. The bread looks delicious!


  • Kim

    Having a second look at these ingredients, the basic structure of this bread is remarkably similar to a bread I’m playing with right now, a loaf with fennel and raisins (I’m cheating on the ACD with raisins…naughty). So weird! Great minds think alike, apparently… when I finally figure it out I will have to send the recipe your way for your opinion…minus the raisins 🙂


  • Kim

    But in the meantime, I should make your bread, because I know it will be good, whereas mine is a succession of hits and misses!

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Ricki Heller, I love you. You are brilliant!


  • Oh wow,I can see why this serves as a whole meal. What a wonderful list of ingredients! I have to give this on a try for sure.


  • Johanna,
    I know what you mean–too many passwords, logins, messages to input and check every day! And I’m sure I took inspiration from one of your amazing breads. 🙂

    I’m so glad you did comment! 🙂 The nut-based cheeses are terrific–I once had a pine-nut cream cheese that was out of this world (though, sadly, didn’t save the recipe). The cashew goat’s cheese is pretty great, too, though.

    Fennel and raisins sounds soooo good–can’t wait for the recipe (but yes, I’ll have to forgo the raisins). And brilliant? Not so sure. But I’ll still take the love 😉

    Thanks! Let me know what you think if you do give it a try.


  • OH MY GOODNESS! I’m sooooo excited about finding your blog! I need to start over on the ACD for the billionth time and now I don’t dread it quite as much! I’m dashing to work – I’ll be back!!

    Hugs, Laura


  • Haha I love reading about your husband’s response to your cooking/baking. This loaf looks perfect – I love the giant globs of cheese in there.


  • This sounds delicious! Do you have any idea if coconut flour would work?


  • Hmmm. That’s certainly something to think about. I’m always on the look-out for new recipes, even if they have ingredients in them that I can’t have. I love making substitutions and “fixing” recipes so that they work.

    Sorry if my thoughts were disconnected–I was just chattering about the almond flour. 😀


  • LisaCazz

    I’ve had this recipe bookmarked since you posted it and have finally found an occasion to make it! I’m hosting a Mother Blessing this weekend for a friend who can’t eat eggs, dairy, or gluten. This looks perfect. I’ve already made the cashew cheese and am hoping there will actually be some left by the time I make the bread. 🙂 I eat GF, but I’m new to making breads. If I make this a day or two ahead, do I store it on the counter or should it go in the fridge or freezer? Thanks!


  • Krista

    Ok, scary, Ricki, are you reading my mind? I was just thinking about wanting to make an easy vegan GF bread and thought about asking you. Then I get online and here it is. You’re good! ;o)

    I don’t have soy flour but I might try using garbanzo flour. The recipe looks easy, but I have to grind up all garbanzos, millet and amaranth to get the flours. So, hopefully the heat wont drag me down too much today.

    I don’t have any cheese or olives (the best part.) So, I might have to wait :o(.

    Anyway, thanks for the recipe!


  • Alicia

    I couldn’t wait to rush to the Health food store tonight. I made my loaf of bread, and it’s cooling on the counter. I’m dying to try it, but it’s bed time… I’m thinking it will be perfect for breakfast tomorrow. It sure does smell yummy!!!!!


  • April

    I just had this for dinner! I substituted chickpea for the soy flour and quinoa for the amaranth flour. It was pretty good, kind of on the dry side and a bit bland for my taste, but that was also probably due to the fact that I didn’t have any green onions. It crumbled a lot when I sliced it so I ate it with a spoon. I think I’ll experiment more with the recipe until I can get a better texture without soy flour! Next time I’m thinking green pea flour. Thanks for the recipe!


    Ricki Reply:

    Hi April,
    Thanks for the feedback. Funny, this loaf usually comes out a bit too moist for me! Not sure if that has to do with the soy sub or the quinoa sub, or both. . . or lack of green onions. . . sounds like you basically turned it into a whole new recipe 😉 Would love to know how the green pea flour turns out, though. 🙂


    April Reply:

    Alright, I tried it again! I still have a lot of cheese left though 🙂 I used amaranth and green pea flour and golden flax seeds this time. The loaf came out much moister, but still crumbly if that makes sense. The slices don’t stay together very well. The green pea flavor is only slightly different from chickpea flour. I did use the green onions, which helped slightly with the flavor, but I think I’ll add some chili powder or nutritional yeast to the cheese next time to make the bread less bland. Overall, the loaf has a nice, dense hearty texture and I really like it. I’m not sure if my mother would say the same though. 🙂


    Ricki Reply:

    Thanks, April. Not sure whether it’s because of the chickpea/pea flour. . . I’ve never had that problem with this loaf! Glad you like the general texture and flavor,though. Now you’ve got me wanting to make it again just to see how it comes out in 2013. 😉


    April Reply:

    I’m not quite sure either. The nutritional profiles of soy flour and chickpea/green pea flour are almost identical, so I was positive it would work. Just out of curiosity, how is the texture when you make it? Is it like real bread, or is it quite dense? Mine is very dense, starts crumbly and turns quite gummy and difficult to swallow in my mouth. I make it sound bad, but it actually isn’t that terrible. In fact, I really enjoy the texture… but I have strange taste buds. I ate 3 small slices today for lunch 😀


    Ricki Reply:

    April, that is so funny! I have to say, with that description, I’m not sure I’d try it–LOL! The texture of mine is very moist, but yes, very dense. I used to LOVE very dense rye or pumpernickel breads and it reminded me of those. I didn’t find mine gummy, either. . . I guess there’s no telling about these things!

    April Reply:

    Okay, take three! Best yet! I used half chickpea and half pea flour for the soy flour, 1/4 cup fresh ground buckwheat for some of the millet, 1/3 cup white onion for the green onions, and I mixed some paprika and chile powder into the cashew cheese ( courtesy of Miyoko Schinner)! I ended up adding a little more coconut milk to get the right thickness as well. Oh and I forgot to soak the flax meal with the wet ingredients so i just let the mixture sit for 10 minutes until thick and prayed it would work! None of my attempts came out like you described, but it is so good, I love it! 😀

    Ricki Reply:

    Well, April, I daresay that with all those subs, you have now created your own recipe! 😉 I have been dying to try some of Miyoko Schinner’s cheeses, so glad to hear it works well in here. And I guess you must like the bread in some way, or else you wouldn’t keep re-making it, right? 😀

    April Reply:

    Haha I suppose you’re right… but surprisingly, none of the trials came out extremely different from one another. I do love the bread, actually! I find it quite addicting. I’ve been eating pieces of it every day, and I plan to pack the remainder in the lunch tomorrow 😉 And I highly recommend Miyoko’s book; it’s pure genius!

  • April

    Yeah, the actual batter looked pretty thick, so I think next time I’ll add a bit more liquid! Maybe chickpea flour/quinoa flour is more absorbent? I personally love the taste of chickpea flour so besides the fact a lot of salad was required to keep my mouth from drying out I really enjoyed it. My Mom wasn’t so thrilled though 😀 I’ll update again if I end up figuring it out. 🙂


  • April

    Oh yes, I nearly forgot, I also wanted to ask how you store the leftovers? it would be better in the fridge because of the cheese, right? Thanks 🙂


  • […] cheese from the Sept+Oct 2012 issue of VegNews (bread recipe inspired by Ricki Heller’s Cheese-Filled Onion and Olive Bread), drizzled with flax […]

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