Saturday, October 11, 2008

Strawberry Bread

I found this recipe in the local paper about 5 years ago, and I have to make this bread every year when strawberries are in season. I didn't make any all summer (I don't know why). But this past week, Kroger had strawberries at $1.50 a pound. Now, that's a great price. I bought 8 pounds, and the kids ate 5 pounds in 3 days. You'd think I was feeding an army around here (well...okay, I guess 4 kids could be considered a sizable force when it comes to eating).

So today, I went back and bought 5 more pounds, and used some to make strawberry bread. I'm sure I'll go back one more time before the week is out. I love recipes that make 2 for now, and one for later. This bread smells insane when it comes out of the oven.

The original recipe called for 1 1/4 cups of oil. I have found that to be too makes the bread heavy and oily. I've cut it back to 3/4 cup, and I think it makes the texture much better. I also use 1 cup of pecans instead of 1/2 cup of walnuts. I just love pecans, especially when they're toasted. If you prefer walnuts, by all means use them...or leave out the nuts altogether. Either way, this bread tastes like a piece of summertime (in October!).

Strawberry Bread

2 cups sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1 1/4 pounds fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and thinly sliced (like the picture below)
1/2 to 1 cup toasted walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour the bottom and sides of 2 loaf pans, glass or metal, (about 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 half inches. A bit bigger or smaller is fine). Make sure to get the corners-- the strawberries caramelize during the baking process, and might make the bread stick to the pan if you don't grease it generously. If you're using a dark, nonstick loaf pan, grease and flour the bottom only of the pan, so the batter will be able to cling to the sides as it rises). Mix sugar, flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand held mixer on medium speed. Add the oil and eggs, mix until the dry ingredients are moist.

You can toast the nuts in the toaster oven (like I did), or just toast them on the stove in a dry skillet over medium low heat. Watch them carefully, burn nuts are want them a dark golden brown. My rule of thumb is when I can smell them, they're done. This is what they should look like.

I put the toasted nuts into a zip top bag and break them up with a meat mallet or rolling pin. I never chop nuts with a knife and cutting board because the pieces go flying everywhere.

Stir in the nuts and strawberries by hand, otherwise the berries will be mushed, and you want to leave them as intact as possible. Divide batter evenly into the prepared pans.

Bake for one hour, or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean--you'll really want to do this. One of my loaves was a little bigger than a "standard" loaf pan, and it had to bake for 1 hour, 10 minutes. Cool for about 30 minutes before turning out...or it will fall apart on you. You will need to run a knife along the sides of the pan to release the patient, and it should come out easily. A hard tap on the counter top might help too. Cool completely before serving. This bread tastes great toasted with a bit of butter for breakfast. It also freezes well-- wrap in one layer of plastic wrap and one layer of heavy duty foil before freezing.

Have a berry fun time making this bread! God Bless your table tonight!

1 comment:

Susan said...

made it tasty.