Strawberry Bread

Although I do not fancy myself a baker, I do love to make quick breads and muffins.  As I’ve blogged about before, I love baking banana bread, zucchini bread, and even apple bread.  But when I opened up the latest Penzey’s Spice catalog, I was very intrigued by a recipe for strawberry bread.   Much like the apple bread recipe I included awhile back from that catalog, it needed a healthy overhaul to make the cut in my kitchen.  Because I like serving these breads for breakfast, there was NO way I was adding 2 CUPS of sugar and over a cup of oil.  And guess what?  The bread is delicious without them.

Apple sauce is the perfect substitution for oil in most baking recipes, particularly quick breads and muffins.  It gives a slightly different consistency to the finished product (more spongy), but does NOT make it taste like apple, as you may suspect.  I opt for unsweetened, organic apple sauce.  The “sugar-free” or “no sugar added” varieties often have artificial sweeteners, which I don’t want.  Apples are sweet enough and need no additives, so check the labels carefully before making your selection.

As for those two cups of sugar?  No need.  Three quarters of a cup was plenty.  The applesauce adds some sweetness, but even without it, I feel like no more than a cup would be sufficient.  If you wanted to cut it back to a half cup, you could too—the result would just be a less sweet bread.

My one tip for this recipe is that when you mix in the strawberries (the recipe called for frozen, which was a perfect way for me to use that big bag I’d preserved from my strawberry picking adventure over the summer), be sure they are very evenly distributed in the batter.  If you get a big clump of strawberries in one part of your bread, it will be complete mush! 

Strawberry Bread

Makes 2  loaves (4.5″ x 8.5″ pans)

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups unsweetened applesauce

3 eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup sugar

1 lb frozen strawberries, thawed and well drained

Preheat oven to 325 degrees (rack in middle position)

Grease and flour (or use the flour variety baking spray) the loaf pans.  Set aside.

Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together applesauce, eggs, vanilla, and sugar until well blended.

Add the dry ingredients a little at a time and stir until just combined.

Stir in strawberries until evenly distributed.

Divide evenly into loaf pans and bake for about an hour.  Cool in pans for 10 minutes before un-molding and transferring to a rack to cool completely.

NOTE:  You can thinly slice a fresh strawberry on top of the unbaked loaf (see picture) for decoration if desired.

Click here for more information about Tracy’s Connecticut cooking classes, or to read her The Secret Ingredient Blog.

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