Whole-Wheat Date Bread
I woke yesterday morning with cold toes. Cold toes! I grumbled around my house, piling on sweatshirt upon sweatshirt while mumbling to my poor roommate something about the weather and how it’s “still suppose to be summer.” But to be honest with you, I’m kind of really excited for the change in seasons. Yes, I know that it’s still technically summer and that there are still lovely, lovely fresh vegetables and fruits out there at the moment (I ate tomatoes with basil and parmesan on toast for dinner three nights this past week), but still. One cold-ish day is all I need to ready to jump on the seasonal fall bandwagon and plan out my share of apple treats and squash dinners.
And so, I have a warm loaf bread to present to you today, a little preview of sorts to fall. When I first saw this recipe in the New York Times last week, the article suggested serving this bread with cream cheese and grape sandwiches, leaving me to think it was a yeasted kind of sandwich bread that to me sounded nice and cozy. I clipped out the recipe, only realizing later that it’s actually a plain, old quick-batter loaf bread.
To that I’m not sorry whatsoever, as it turns out a whole-wheat loaf bread, slightly sweetened by brown sugar and studded dates with a tender, moist crumb and nuttiness from the whole wheat flour, was exactly what I was wanting (and needing). It’s soft and subtle, with a kind of neutral flavor palate that I’m supposing was intended for it to be turned into things like sandwiches with grapes and olives and the like. That’s all fine and well, because I ended up serving my slices up with a thick layer of cream cheese and a sprinkle of cinnamon—a wonderful combination, if you ask me. If you do end up making this loaf, at least try that out.
But no matter how you eat this bread, or even if you don’t eat it at all, make sure you manage to find some soft baked good or rather to munch on when the first wave of chilly air comes by. I know it’s made my transition into fall a lot more inviting. That, and wearing socks to bed.
Whole-Wheat Date Bread
Adapted from Melissa Clark, New York Times 9/7/2011
Butter for greasing pan
½ cup (95 grams) dark brown sugar, lightly packed
2/3 cup (160 grams) plain yogurt, buttermilk or sour cream (I used plain greek yogurt)
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (125 grams) whole-wheat flour
¾ cup (90 grams) all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
2/3 cup (140 grams) extra virgin olive oil
1 cup (200 grams) sliced pitted dates
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan. In a medium bowl, beat together the sugar, yogurt, honey and vanilla. Beat in eggs, one at a time and scraping down bowl after each addition.
In a separate bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet, just until no longer lumpy. Using a rubber spatula, fold the olive oil into the batter in three additions. Fold in the dates.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until it is golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean with maybe a crumb or two, 50 to 55 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before turning the cake out onto a rack to cool completely. Add cream cheese, cinnamon, honey, or whatever you see fit to top.