Wednesday, October 20, 2010

National Baking Week - Pear and Walnut Bread



In honour of National Baking Week, I’m posting a recipe each day this week to inspire you to get baking and sharing. Check out the National Baking Week website for lots more recipes and ideas and even a downloadable recipe book. And don’t forget to enter the 21st Century Housewife’s National Baking Week competition to win a selection of Pyrex non-stick bakeware and prepware worth £50! Click here for more details.

Now, on to my recipe. This is a lovely Autumnal bread, which tastes fantastic served with a bit of butter spread on top. It is quite savoury, but the maple syrup and pears give it an echo of earthy sweetness. It makes a delicious breakfast bread but also tastes lovely with a cup of tea in the afternoon or even with a piece of cheese (especially Brie!). The addition of whole wheat flour and wheat germ mean it is healthier than many other sweet breads and the walnuts it contains are rich in B vitamins, magnesium, Vitamin E and omega 3 fatty acids. 

To make one loaf, you need:-

50 grams butter, melted and allowed to cool slightly
5 tablespoons maple syrup
1 egg, lightly beaten
One 284ml container buttermilk
(Buttermilk comes in 284 ml containers in my local grocery store, but if your sells containers of a different size, simply measure out 280 ml.) 
175 grams plain flour
175 grams whole wheat flour
25 grams wheat germ
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated if possible
75 grams of walnuts, roughly chopped
2 large pears ( or three small ones), peeled, cored and grated
(wait until the last minute to do this so that the pears do not brown)

For the topping:-
1 tablespoon Demerera sugar
1/4 teaspoon ginger

Preheat the oven to 375 or 160. Grease and flour or line a large loaf pan with greaseproof paper or a liner.

In a large jug, mix together the butter, maple syrup, egg and buttermilk. 

In a large bowl, mix together the flours, wheat germ, salt, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and nutmeg.  Stir in the walnuts. Grate the pears into this mixture and stir them in thoroughly. 

Pour the wet ingredients from the jug over the dry ingredients in the bowl and fold in until thoroughly mixed. Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan. 

Mix together the topping ingredients and sprinkle over top of the loaf.  Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until the loaf is beginning to turn golden brown and is cooked through. (You can check by inserting a piece of dried spaghetti into the middle of the loaf.  If it comes out without any batter clinging to it, it is done.)

Remove the loaf from the pan as soon as you can do so without burning yourself, and cool on a wire rack. Wait until it is almost completely cool before attempting to slice it.  In fact, this loaf benefits from some time to rest and tastes even better if you wrap it in foil after it has cooled and keep it until the next day.

The loaf will keep in a cool place for a couple of days or longer in the fridge.

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