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I had two sets of photos sitting in a directory, and since both are from last week, it was not a matter of posting either one on time ... just a question of which one would see the light of day first. So I flipped a coin: heads strawberry bread, tails brownies.
Saturday afternoon after the Love Parade I stopped by my local SPAR for weekend groceries ... water, pudding, that sort of stuff, and as I was standing at the register the cashier asked if I wanted any strawberries. 79 cents for a container, and I thought to myself, why not? I can make strawberry-nut bread.
So I bought the strawberries, the last strawberries in the store, went home, began to wash them, and realized I had no nuts. Since it was still early enough I could have walked back down the stairs, out the building, around the corner, and into the market to pick up a package or two, but I was feeling lazy and dehydrated after hours of walking, so I decided to go for straight strawberry bread ... the nuts are optional.
Task number 1: rinse the strawberries, chop off the tops, and slice. Frozen strawberries work as well if you let them thaw and drain first. The recipe calls for 10oz., and I had just about 20, so I made one loaf Saturday, put the remaining berries in the refrigerator, and made the second loaf Sunday afternoon.
Set the berries aside. Crack two eggs into a bowl, add the cup of sugar, and the oil. Beat/mix well. The similarities between this and the carrot-nut bread on the one hand and banana-nut bread on the other indicate the fat flexibility here ... butter or vegetable oil ... melted shortening would work as well.
You have beaten the egg-sugar-oil mixture enough once the oil has smoothly integrated with the rest; at first it will remain separate and even stringy.
At this point I added the rest of the non-flour dry ingredients. There is no need to be stingy with the cinnamon and nutmeg.
This batter is not prepared over heat and it is just a matter of throwing the ingredients together, so normally I would add the strawberries next (analogous to the ingredient order in the banana-nut bread recipe), but this time I went flour-first, mixing one cup of all-purpose white flour and one cup of wheat flour. I then stirred in the strawberries. In my carrot-nut bread I use finely shredded carrots, and I mash my bananas nearly to the texture of baby food for banana-nut bread, but not so with the strawberries, which I leave chunky ... the result is seen at the end.
Into a greased and floured (bottom only) pan the batter is poured; it is rather thick. Then into the oven it goes. As with similar recipes I begin at 175C, turn off the top element after about 15 minutes, and toward the end turn down the temperature. This is oven-specific. After 50 minutes I check for doneness, and at close to 60 I removed the loaf.
I let the loaf cool in the pan for 10–15 minute, or until I could handle it without a towel or similar heat protection. It slid gently out of the form, and I let it cool on the bread board for an hour before cutting off a slice.
Strawberry (nut) bread suggests that rhubarb is an alchemical cross between strawberries and celery; that foolishness aside, the strawberry chunks melt during baking, merging colorfully with the rest of the baking batter. The resulting bread was firm, moist, and quickly devoured.
—July 18 2006