This afternoon, as my five year old drifted off to napland, she opened her eyes to dreamily ask, “Mommy, after my nap, can I have TWO MORE PIECES of that bread you made, with butter?” I smiled and nodded, and she was fast asleep. Inspiring that kind of delight is the best reward a cook can hope for, in my book.
It’s lucky that this recipe makes two loaves of bread, because my family started hovering around the cooling rack the moment the bread came out of the oven. The source of this recipe, Cheryl Sternman Rule (writer of this lovely blog), calls it “Toasting Bread.” She advises you to cool the bread completely before slicing, toasting, and spreading it with honey butter. I am here to tell you that the “letting it cool” part will be very difficult. We could not withstand the siren scent and ate most of the first loaf warm, slathered in salted butter. It was heavenly. Lest it appear that I am contradicting Ms. Rule, however, I should add that the loaf we could bear to let cool was indeed delicious toasted.Quick Whole Wheat Spice Bread with Brown Sugar, Orange Zest and Walnuts: Grease two loaf pans well with softened butter. Whisk an a egg in large bowl, then whisk in 3 Tbs. honey, 1 c. dark brown sugar and 1 1/2 c. milk. Zest two oranges directly into the bowl. Trade your whisk for a wooden spoon or spatula and stir in the dry ingredients: 2 c. whole wheat flour, 2 c. all-purpose flour, 3/4 tsp. ground cloves, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 4 tsp. baking powder. Mix well, then add 1 c. chopped walnuts and mix again. Divide batter between your two prepared pans. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick tester comes out clean. Remove from pans and cool on a rack. Hover over the bread, inhaling deeply, resisting as long as you like, then serve toasted (or still warm) with butter.