When strawberries were in the height of their season a few weeks ago, I found a recipe for strawberry bread while I was browsing a church cookbook from my mother-in-law's bookshelf. I jotted the recipe down, all excited to make it with the gorgeous, fresh strawberries appearing around our area. As soon as I got my hands on some beauties, I gave the recipe a whirl. And was terribly disappointed. I had envisioned a light, moist, beautifully-risen bread that let the flavor of fresh strawberries shine. What I got was a dense, somewhat dry, dark bread overly-flavored with cinnamon to the point that the strawberries were ... well ... pointless. Not what I wanted at all.
Start by dicing some fresh strawberries. I like to sprinkle them with a tiny bit of sugar to help bring out their sweetness.
|A nice little dice|
Then mix up your bread batter, following the creaming method ... creaming your butter and sugar, beating in the eggs, and then adding your dry ingredients alternately with your liquid. This is one adaptation I made - the liquid. I used buttermilk, because I just love the moistness and richness that buttermilk adds to baked goods. I also reduced the amount of cinnamon and added a dash of cardamom. I love cardamom - but you have to be careful with it because it's such a strong flavor. It took me a couple of tries to figure out the "right" amount of cardamom. If you're not a fan (which I know some people are not!), by all means leave the cardamom out ... this bread is certainly still tasty without it.
|Gently folding in the berries|
Gently fold in the diced strawberries and some pecans ... you could use walnuts ... I'm just very partial to pecans. Love them. Bake up your bread, and you end with exactly what I was looking for - a light, moist, beautifully-risen bread that lets the flavor of the fresh strawberries shine.
Source: Adapted from The Country Cook
1/2 c. butter
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/16 tsp. ground cardamom (optional)
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 1/2 c. fresh strawberries, diced
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 c. pecans, coarsely chopped
1. Dice the strawberries and place them in a small bowl. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of sugar; set aside while you prepare the rest of the batter.
2. Beat the butter with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture and buttermilk, alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Mix only until combined; do not over mix. Gently fold in the strawberries and pecans.
4. Scrape the batter into a regular-sized (typically 9x5x3") loaf pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack and then remove bread loaf from the pan. Makes 1 loaf.