This bread tastes like history. Like the Old West. Like The Oregon Trail.
I TOLD you it was crazy, and although I am not a woman prone to exaggeration (*cough cough* ahem), I promise you this is true. It makes you think of covered wagons, sod houses, and Little House On The Prairie. I take a bite, close my eyes, and I no longer hear the beep of the microwave timer, but instead, the clang of the iron cookstove door as my husbands adds more logs to the fire. I can almost smell the waist high grasses blowing outside of the open kitchen window. My calloused hands bring the still warm slice of bread to my lips for another taste and a sudden bellow from Mazy in barn reminds me that its almost time for evening milking.
Don’t you love it when food does that to you? Transports you to another time and place or evokes a thought or feeling with just a taste? I do. That is one of my favorite things about food. Perhaps a little of it is the name, but I feel stronger, more independent, and more adventurous just mixing up a batch.
The recipe-or a version of it-has been handed down through families for generations. It relies on the acid of sour milk to do its leavening and contains no refined sugars and no butter or oil. Certain items have been changed over time, such as the use of wheat flour, but I think it still stays true to its name. It is hearty and a bit heavy, due to the denseness of the ingredients, but it isn’t TOO heavy. The dried fruit helps sweeten the bread but the honey flavor comes through and results in a bread that nearly tastes like sunshine itself. We like to eat it sliced thick, plain, right out of the hand. When you get to the end of the loaf after a day or two, toasted with butter is down right excellent. Milk cow and covered wagon optional. One Year Ago: Pomegranate Sorbet W/Mini Chocolate Chips & White Sangria,
Two Years Ago: Classic Buttermilk Biscuits, The BEST Strawberry Rhubarb Jam,
Three Years Ago: Lemon Chiffon Pie & Outrageous Grilled Pork Chops
Adapted from Americas Test Kitchen
The little boost of sugar is not necessary, but I found that it makes the honey flavor a bit stronger in the finished bread.
3 c white whole wheat flour, or regular whole wheat flour
1 c all purpose flour
1/4 c sugar (optional)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 c buttermilk
1/2 c honey
1 c chopped walnuts
1/2 c chopped dates
1/2 c raisins
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, and honey until combined. Gently stir into dry ingredients, folding together until not quite mixed. Add the nuts and dried fruit and gently fold together until completely combined. Pour the batter into two, well greased or sprayed 9X5 inch loaf pans. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and let cool the rest of the way. Store well wrapped on the counter for a day or two, or freeze.