Thursday, January 27, 2011

Date Walnut Oatmeal Bread

I was rooting around in my kitchen cabinet yesterday when I found a container of rock-hard dates. I love eating dates out of hand when they're moist and chewy, but you would have chipped a tooth on these. No matter, I have a great bread recipe that uses dates and it doesn't matter how old they are. Even if they're ancient, like mine were.

I have an Oster bread machine that makes a 2 pound loaf. You may need to adjust the recipe for your bread machine, or even adapt this flavor combination to another bread recipe you mix by hand. This is a basic oatmeal bread loaf gussied up with some chopped dates and walnuts, but I love this flavor combination. This makes a mildly sweet loaf with a sturdy texture from the oatmeal and walnuts. The sweetness from the brown sugar and the dates is offset by the slight bitterness of the walnuts. It's great toasted and I've always wanted to use it for a ham sandwich.

Date Walnut Oatmeal Bread

7/8 cups water
2 TBS butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp salt
3 cups bread flour
1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 1/4 tsp yeast

Combine ingredients in the order appropriate for your bread machine. (My instruction booklet goes to great lengths to convince you to never, ever let the yeast come into contact with the liquid ingredients, as if this would trigger a thermonuclear explosion unless the machine does it by itself.) I use the sweet cycle with a medium crust on mine.

You might wonder how chunks of rock-hard dates do in a bread recipe like this, but the dates break down surprisingly well in the dough. You'll find some fine dark flecks distributed throughout the loaf, but honestly, the walnuts will be more noticeable.



Forgive the poor quality of these photos....I haven't had any decent natural light since early November.

No comments: