Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Touch of Sweet

This weeks nut bread is one of my favorite. This Date Nut gem uses very little oil as dates work as sweetener and oil substitute.

Date Nut Bread

1-1/2 cups boiling water
1 cup chopped dates
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups unbleached flour

½ cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 Tbs. oil
1 tsp. vanilla

Pour boiling water over dates and let stand ten minutes. Add sugar to eggs and beat. Sift dry ingredients together. Add nuts to date mixture. Stir in oil and vanilla. Mix date mixture, sugar and eggs, and dry ingredients, stirring enough to moisten. Bake in greased loaf pan at 350 degrees F. for one hour.

Wrapping a nut bread is essential to keeping it fresh for more than two days. I use good ole fashioned wax paper (parchment will also work.) this keeps the bread dry and not sticky which leads to moisture and mold. This picture shows it wrapped in wax paper and in a bag to keep air out. My breads keep for seven days.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Welcome Groundhog

Welcome to February. This month is to be my quick bread month. My goal is to reduce sugar and still keep texture and flavor, if the flavor is off the quick bread is really off. Unlike yeast breads quick breads rely on eggs and baking powder and other things to rise a little. Yeast is also a camouflage flavor enhancer thus most yeast breads taste good even if a little tough or deflated or over inflated.(note my last starter bread was a bomb!)

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup brown sugar, light or dark
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium to large bananas)

1/4 cup honey
2 large eggs
2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, vanilla, baking soda, and salt. Add the bananas, honey, and eggs, beating until smooth. Add the flour, then the walnuts, stirring until smooth. Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan, smoothing the top. Let it rest at room temperature for 10 minutes. Bake the bread for 50 minutes, then gently lay a piece of aluminum foil across the top, to prevent over-browning. Bake for an additional 10 minutes, then remove the bread from the oven; a long toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center should come out clean. Allow the loaf to cool for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan, and cooling it completely on a rack.