Bakin’ Bread for the Troops

I was thrilled when my husband’s friend emailed him from Afghanistan letting us know that all is well. My hubby thrives on those emails, just a little note letting him know that his friends, colleagues, men that are like his brothers are safe and well.

And the message made my heart go pitter-pat because a little hint was thrown out there… “I love your wife’s bread.” Well then, bread the young man shall have!!! The L&V Bakery is up and running and ready to ship bread to the troops.

I don’t really have a bakery. I have a single oven kitchen, which means I’ll be sending bread just to his buddy. But I’m sure he’ll share.

So I’m taking this opportunity to make the Cranberry Bread from the cookbook, Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood. The recipe sounds really yummy,and it sounded like a dense, moist bread. That is essential for shipping bread to the desert, otherwise it dries out in the heat. My husband would tell me that he received a brick in the mail if I chose a recipe that didn’t ship well. (If any of you elect to bake for our troops, feel free to shoot me a message for advice. I’ve shipped A LOT of baked goods to very hot/dry places in my time.)

So let’s get cookin’… In the cookbook she simply calls this Cranberry Bread, but I would think it needs more definition than that…I’d call it Orange, Cranberry, Walnut, White Chocolate Bread.

Pretty robust ingredient list on this one. The recipe had a little notation at the bottom that a friend adds white chocolate chips to her bread, I did add them because I thought it would increase the moistness of the bread for shipping. Not to mention, it just sounded good!

Here I am sifting together the dry ingredients, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. I have to admit that the sugar would not make it through my sifter, I ended up having to just dump the sugar into the bowl. Other than that, so far so good.

In a separate bowl mix the wet ingredients, beginning with the orange zest.

Note the lilac nail polish…what do you think? Too teeny-bopperish for a 35-year-old (although VERY young at heart) woman? I’ve seen this polish on several different TV personalities and I really liked it, so I tried it for myself. I think I dig it, but I kinda feel like I’m trying to recapture my youth. OMG…what does it matter? It’s fingernail polish! Get over yourself Alex.

Okay, I’m over it. Now, a tip about adding eggs…

I always crack the egg into a separate bowl to prevent accidentally getting shell into the batter. There’s also the chance of getting a bad egg, which would be hard to remove once it’s in there. Finally, especially if you do use a mixer, adding them from an individual bowl just makes it easier. Tip Time over and out.

After adding the remainder of the wet ingredients, the egg, orange juice, water, and butter, whisk to combine. Followed by adding flour mixture to egg mixture, and mix until well blended.

Mmmmm, starting to look good. See all those flecks of orange zest? That means tasty!

Now it’s time to fold in the fillers.

The recipe calls for fresh cranberries. I do keep a couple of pounds of frozen fresh cranberries in my freezer every year after the holidays because I enjoy using them quite a bit. I suspect however that if you could not find fresh, dried would do in a pinch. I would recommend soaking dried cranberries in warm water for 30 minutes before adding them to the batter.

But arent’ the fresh cranberries beautiful?

After the cranberries fold in chopped walnuts, followed by this…

Yum to the power of yum! I just love that salty, sweet nature of white chocolate. I predict that when my sister sees this recipe she will be calling me to yell at me for getting her thinking of white chocolate. She will blame me for “making” her have to cook this recipe tonight. Mary Margaret loooooooves white chocolate, I think she’d bathe in it if she could. So, I’ll just get this out of the way…Sorry Mary Margaret! Hope you have fun baking tonight!

My mouth was watering at this point. It smells so good even before baking. Look at all that yummy goodness.

Another quick tip… when spraying the loaf pan, go back with a paper towel and wipe the spray off of the top half of the loaf pan as shown above. This prevents the bread crawling up the sides of the pan and rolling over, creating a really hard crunchy edge. It’s hard to explain that without a photo to show you, but basically by wiping away the path for the batter to follow, everything cooks evenly.

And then, you end up with this

Sadly, I can’t cut into it to show you a photo because this has already been packaged up and ready to ship. But I can tell you that my house smelled AMAZING while this was cooking. My husband walked in after work with his eyes all bright, like, whatdya cook me??? I told him it was for his buddies and he said that made it smell even sweeter.

L&V

Cranberry Bread (from Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood)

click here for printable version

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2  teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons grated orange zest

1/2 cup fresh orange juice

1/4 cup warm water

1 large egg

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup walnuts, finely chopped

1 cup fresh cranberries, chopped

*optional – 8 ounces white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. In a large mixing bowl, combine the orange zest, orange juice, water, egg, and butter. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix until the ingredients are just blended. With a spatula, fold in the walnuts and cranberries. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack.

*Optional to add 8 ounces of white chocolate chips to this recipe.

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This entry was published on May 26, 2010 at 11:25 am and is filed under In the Kitchen, Squawkings. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “Bakin’ Bread for the Troops

  1. Carla on said:

    I do not bake much these days, but this recipe makes me want to dust off the mixing bowls and get out the sifter. Love the tip about the spray. The comment from your husband made me say awww 🙂

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