Dinner last night - my husband made a beef stew and we ate it with a fresh loaf of french bread. We're out of flour and yeast after I made the dough for pizza tonight. We'll have to increase our flour purchases to atleast 10 pounds if we are going to make so many foods from scratch. We stopped by Safeway on Monday to pick up strawberries (3 pounds for $5). I walked down the baking isle to see what the cost of chocolate chips was and took the opportunity to check out their whole white wheat flour price. They've dropped the price to $4.99 and it's on sale until the 10th for $4.49. We'll get April's food stamps then and make sure we pick up 2 bags of flour. It's pricier than the all-purpose white flour but we like it and a bag of flour is about the same price as a loaf of whole grain bread so it works out.
This past weekend I made my mom's pear bread. I'm sharing my version of her recipe and her version. It's kind of fun to see how recipes are passed down in our family. We're not great with writing down the recipes. That's been something I have been working with and one of the reason's I thought I'd start sharing what we are eating. The only substitutions I made was using pumpkin seeds and dried elderberries (I used about 1/3 cup of elderberries and just covered them with boiling water while the bread rose the first time).
My mom is right - this is the best bread ever. It's dense but fruity and nutty. We've started eating it with cream cheese instead of butter and it's perfect. The recipe is so simple and so full of nutrition. I left on the peel for my pears and mashed them with a fork. Heating them made them more mushy and ready for the yeast.
Mom’s pear bread
1 cup pear puree
1 ½ teaspoons yeast
2 ¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup walnuts
½ cup dried cranberries
Heat pear puree to warm. Add the yeast and let sit. Slowly add in flour until you have a firm dough. Let sit and rise until doubled. Knead in walnuts and cranberries. Set in greased loaf pan and let rise a second time. Bake at 350 for up to 30 minutes.
"I don't think you need the breadmaker. In fact I goofed when I added the fruit and nuts but it still came out really good. The pears we picked would just start disinegrating after you peeled and cut them so before long they were more like a thick pear juice so I use a cup of that, 2 3/4 cup of Bobs Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour 1 1/2 teaspoons of yeast ( I think I would use a little more yeast and warm the pear juice and put the yeast directly in the pears and then after it starts to activate add the flour)."
"After the first rising I kneaded in the chopped walnuts and craisins, about half a cup of each by hand. The loaf only raised about half of the height of the breadmaker pan. It ended up being about a 4 inch cube but it was a good texture and just a bit heavy.So without a breadmaker I would use a smaller than normal breadpan. I also stopped the cooking before the given time. I cook by site so when it browned on top I figured it was done. Seriously the best bread ever."