One of the reasons that I was so excited to find my great-grandmother’s recipes was that I was sure they would be a good source of real, wholesome, good-for-you foods. The Handy Reliable was written well before most food “products” were created, and although some of the recipes are out of reach of the modern cook, many of these 1892 dishes have helped to build my real food, low/no sugar repertoire. I was surprised to discover that white sugar existed in 1892 (when did we start creating this refined stuff anyway?) and so have returned to searching through the stash for recipes that contain none of the white stuff.
Enter in World War II. A time when sugar rationing meant that cooks had to find “new” ways to sweeten their dishes. Unfortunately some of this was accomplished with corn syrup, but many of the recipes use other, more natural ingredients such as honey, maple syrup, and dates. I was excited to discover a whole stack of “Victory Bulletins” put out by the Lakeside Milling Company of Toronto, Ontario. Last night I created the first of these recipes.
I discovered that Campbell’s flour was a pastry flour, so I substituted whole wheat pastry flour in the amount indicated. Everything else I kept exactly the same. (Really….I didn’t change a thing…I’m not sure what’s wrong with me…..maybe I’m coming down with something….)
This was pretty easy to put together. Basically, you have three bowls.
In bowl one – 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 cup whole wheat flour (and no, I didn’t sift the flour, so I guess that’s two changes, maybe everything is alright with the world after all….)
In bowl two, 1 1/2 cups chopped pitted dates (the recipe says to wash these, I have never washed my dates, have you? Maybe the recipe was originally made with fresh dates?) , 3/4 cup boiling water and 1 tsp. baking soda.
Take turns combing bowl one and bowl two into bowl three, beating after each addition (Hmmm..that sounds a little bit like the instructions that came with our canning shelf – insert Bolt A into Slot B and secure with Nut C. Maybe I should retitle this post “Honey Wholewheat Bread – Some Assembly Required!) When everything is all mixed together, fold in 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and 1 tbsp. melted butter.
Bake at 350 for an hour. I reduced the temperature to 325 halfway through cooking as the top was getting a little too brown. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
I really enjoyed this bread. It is quite different from any quick bread I have ever made before in that the sweetness comes from the dates, and not the bread itself. It really is a nice balance and I will definitely be making this again. I do not yet know if it is a hit with the “menfolk” as the recipe boasts as hubby has not yet tried any. I’ll have to let you know his verdict in a future post.
It would probably be good with butter or jam or any kind of topping but I loved it just as it is!