Modern Baker Challenge – Date Walnut Bread

I cringe at the thought of how much my sister has already done, how many of her posts are pending, despite the fact that her world and home has been turned upside down by the newest addition of this predominantly middle-named household.  I, on the other hand, have not endured sleepless nights, trauma to the body, and an influx of visitors and family.  And still, I have not posted.  Guaranteed, I have been baking.  There was the angel food cake for the co-worker’s birthday, the chocolate iced brownies (with a Husky purple “W”) for April Fool’s day, and lastly the vegan “quiche” for the pre-Easter brunch, in which I was still “vegan.”

There’s also been sewing — I finished the baby quilt for Sara’s latest and finished the top of J&D’s wedding quilt.  I’ve also started another hand-quilted baby quilt for another friend expecting.  But, alas – no pictures and no posts!  I’m sorry.  I’ll blame my co-committee member for having her own life and being unable to mail my camera.  Yes, it’s all her fault!

However, the Modern Baker challenge has pulled me back in — enlisting my co-workers to help with their cameras!  I made the date walnut bread, after my 10 mile run, I might add.  I will say that making something in a bundt pan just makes the whole thing look pretty and professional, even if it’s not.  Let’s be honest, I don’t even know how I acquired my pan.  It was either from Goodwill, my grandma’s pantry, or at a garage sale.  I simply cannot recall.  That said, it’s quite sturdy and was very helpful!

But, the bread.  Dates – what an interesting and versatile dried fruit that I have only recently discovered.  It’s a main ingredient in Lara Bars, and I’ve recently noticed it in Kashi Brand snack bars as well.  It seems to be a malleable fruit without too strong a flavor so it can be a base for more central themes — like the chocolate in the Kashi Dark Chocolate Coconut bars or the cherry Lara bars.  This bread, however, let’s the dates shine all on their own — enhanced with a little butter, of course, and companioned with some walnuts, very appropriate.

I set aside the dates with the boiling water as directed.  This task took much longer than I anticipated because I bought 2 lbs of dates rather than 1 lb.  Those with a properly equipped kitchen would not be so challenged, but I don’t have a kitchen scale (or even a bathroom scale!), and I divided the bag of dates, one by one or two by two into two different bowls and pretended they were equal in weight.  I anticipated there being some liqueur added to this soaking.  It seemed like the perfect opportunity to pour in some rum, but maybe next time.  I don’t know why I think rum would be added – I’ve never baked with it before and have never bought rum either.  I guess I’m just thinking of the “rum raisin” breads.

Good ol’ Maglieri told me to whisk the eggs and sugar until the color lightened.  The soft yellow was very pleasant and surprising.  It was nearly cottony.  Folding in soaked dates  and then dry ingredients was effortless.  I then turned them into prepared pan.  I’ll admit, the pan’s preparation seemed a bit overkill — buttered, crumbed, and then vegetable sprayed?  However, after taking the bread out of the oven, I only needed a few quick raps before it popped out – lovely and sculpted like the pan.  I suppose all the work was worth it.

My co-workers, again, are the *lucky* recipients of this latest delicacy.  They may be happier when we get into the cake and cookie challenge part.

I do have pictures — but they are on Becky’s Nikon, so it might be a while…  In the meantime, I needed to post.

UPDATE — PICTURES!

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5 thoughts on “Modern Baker Challenge – Date Walnut Bread

  1. Very pretty. How did this taste in the end? I sort of like dates, but the texture sometimes puts me off, but with all that soaking, who knows how the texture would be?

    I’ve used up all my surplus of posts that I baked pre-baby. I’m not so optimistic about my next post. However, maybe next week we/you can blow through some recipes? 😉 The freezer is packed to the gills so rather than make meals for the future we can make sweets!

  2. Pingback: The Modern Baker Challenge: Quick Breads – Date Walnut Bread « Family & Food

  3. I loved this one. I was not so sure about the dates but we made the discovery that we really like dates and I have bought some more to try, in another recipe.

    Yours looks great. Bundt pans show off those great cakes at their best.

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