Cutting carbs in the new year? This hearty, rich bread will provide a satisfying excuse for setting your resolutions aside for a few days. (Yes, that makes me an enabler.)
But really, this is a good option if you’re craving bread. Pears, dates, and walnuts are all healthy foods. It’s sweetened with honey, and part of the flour is whole wheat. The trick is just going to be exercising moderation – something I’ve failed miserably at in this case.
I’d like to tell you that I just nibbled on my test pieces, but I’d be lying. Toast this stuff and put a light scraping of butter on it, and I will keep testing and testing and testing.
My favorite version (which is the recipe given below) has a cup of chopped dates and a cup of ground walnuts. If you want to lighten the calorie load, you can reduce both of those ingredients by half.
Give yourself a little extra time when making this bread; the rich dough takes a little longer to rise. It will be worth the wait!
Preparing your ingredients before beginning the bread is a good idea. Chop those dates! Grind those walnuts! But hold up on cutting the pear until your dough is mixing so the pieces won’t go brown on you.
I added ground walnuts to the recipe to add flavor and structure. A few seconds in a food processor or blender should do it – it doesn’t need to be ground into a paste. The goal is to make the pieces tiny enough to ensure easy slicing of the finished loaves.
NOTE: Unless you have a big family or are making this for a large gathering, I’d recommend freezing one loaf and storing the other in the refrigerator. Since the bread includes fresh fruit, it won’t last as long on the counter as regular bread.
|Pear Date Walnut Bread|| |
- 1½ cup very warm water
- 1 package active-dry yeast
- pinch of sugar
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup chopped dates
- 1 cup coarsely ground walnuts (use a food processor for best results, or chop very fine)
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 4 cups bread flour divided
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- 1 pear, peeled, cored, and chopped into small pieces
- In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, combine the warm water, yeast, and pinch of sugar. Let it sit until foamy (about 5 minutes).
- In a large bowl (a stand mixer is recommended) combine honey, butter, eggs, and yeast mixture.
- Stir in dates and ground walnuts.
- Using a dough hook, add wheat flour, 3½ cups of the bread flour. salt, and cinnamon (if using). Beat well for 4 minutes. (If kneading by hand, add the remaining flour now and knead for 6 minutes before kneading in the pears.)
- Add chopped pears and stir until combined. Slowly add remaining flour until mixture comes away from the side of the bowl. Add a little extra flour if necessary. Dough will be soft and sticky.
- Place dough into greased bowl. Cover and allow it to rise until double, 1 to 1½ hours.
- Punch down dough and divide in half. On floured surface either roll dough into two balls and place on baking sheet, or form into two loaves and place in greased loaf pans.
- Allow dough to rise in pans until almost doubled.
- Heat oven to 375 F.
- Bake approximately 35 minutes, or until the bottom of the loaves are browned and sound hollow when tapped. Brush the tops with butter if desired. Cool on racks before cutting.
Oh, my word, this is good toasted. Tomorrow I’m going to use it for French Toast; I’ll bet it’ll be amazing. We’re expecting snow, and I can’t think of a better treat to go with sausage patties and a cup of steaming coffee.