One bowl, a few simple ingredients and 15 minutes are all that stand between you and the wonderful smell of this tasty herb-and-cheddar loaf baking in the oven. Irish ale adds a malty flavour and brings out the best in the aged cheese. If you can’t find sharp Irish cheddar, grab a crumbly old cheddar instead.
Place rack in middle of oven and preheat to 375°F. Grease an 8- by 4-inch loaf pan with unsalted butter; using a long piece of parchment paper, line bottom and long sides of pan, allowing excess to stick up and create “handles” along rim.
In a large bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt, rosemary and chives. Stir in cheese until evenly distributed and coated with flour.
Pour in ale and 1 tbsp (15 mL) butter, and stir until no streaks of dry ingredients remain. (Dough will be sticky.) Transfer to prepared loaf pan and smooth top with back of spoon. Bake in preheated oven until top is golden brown and toothpick inserted into centre comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes.
Remove from oven and brush remaining 1 tbsp (15 mL) butter over top of loaf. Using parchment paper handles, transfer loaf to a cooling rack. Let cool for 1 hour before peeling off paper and slicing.
Feel free to substitute equal amounts of other dried herbs — such as basil, oregano, parsley, dill or thyme — for the rosemary and chives. Alternatively, you can substitute up to 2 tbsp (30 mL) finely chopped fresh herbs for the dried. (It’s a tasty way to use up stragglers in the crisper.)
Greasing the pan with unsalted butter will help the parchment paper stick, plus it gives the loaf a little extra flavour boost.