Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Prune-Pecan Fruit Bread

Sweet and Tart, Plump Prunes

Like many folks these days, I have gotten away from baking bread often, but when I do, I would go for a dense, deep flavored bread full of fruit and nuts. Prune-pecan bread is one such bread. The recipe is inspired by the one I have read at war-time recipe booklet, circa 1910-20. You can see how conservative the recipe methods were at that time. No dumping of butter and eggs for everything, like they are nothing. People were rational during those days, it seems. Also, if you read the bread bibles of present day, you would think that ‘yeast is west’. It doesn’t have to be yeast all the time, and also bread-baking without yeast matches our chapati/roti cookery style.

The original recipe has 4 teaspoons of baking powder, and it sounded too much to me, so I reduced the amount to one teaspoon, and mixed the dough with buttermilk. I purchased prunes, and I already have pecans and maple syrup at home. So I decided to include those ingredients along with prunes in my recipe. The bread may not look much, but it baked up great. The juicy, moist prunes, pecans and sweet maple syrup - it’s a good kind of bread.

Prune Pecan Bread
Bread Dough Ready for Baking


1 ½ cups barley flour
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup prunes, finely chopped
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
1 cup maple syrup, more if you like a sweet bread
¼ cup ghee, melted
1 cup buttermilk, at room temp. (mine was from homemade yogurt)
1 teaspoon baking powder
Warm water to mix, about half cup to one cup

Take the barley and all-purpose flour in a big vessel. Add baking powder. Mix. Then add the prunes, pecans, maple syrup and ghee. Gradually adding buttermilk and warm water, whisk the ingredients to combine well. Pour the batter into bread pans. Cover the pans, and keep them in a warm place for about 30 minutes.

Bake at 350 F for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out clean. Remove and cool it for about ten minutes. Run a knife around the rim of the pan to loosen the cake and invert onto a plate. Let it cool completely. Slice and serve with your favorite jam.

Prune Pecan Bread
Prune-Pecan Bread

Prune Bread recipe from My Little Kitchen

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Whole Wheat Flour, Maple Syrup, Pecans (Tuesday December 11, 2007 at 8:39 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Sesame Buns

Yay… spring has definitely sprung here! Plenty of sunshine days have arrived finally. Even the yeast is ready for some action. When I mixed a packet of yeast with warm water, zoom… it rose to the sky as if it was trying to kiss the sunshine. See.

Yeast in action
Yeast in Action

Recipes that need good fermentation like preparing bread, idlies, dosas and yogurt, are going to be easy from now on. Last weekend, I tried a recipe for sesame buns from my recipe book. I used to note down the western bread and cake recipes that caught my fancy in a notebook. That was before I knew about the foodblogs. I wasn’t even aware of copyrights etc., at that time, so I’m not sure where I got this recipe from, but definitely from a cookbook, or might be from TV. I am not sure. Whatever the origin, I am very fond of this recipe. Adding a bundle of sesame, gives the bread that nutty taste I like and the buns are great with soups, salads or for homemade simple sandwiches.

(Makes about 8 to 10 medium sized buns)

3 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup sesame seeds
1 cup quick oats
½ cup watermelon seeds (My addition)
1 tsp of salt and honey to your taste or ½ cup
Warm milk or water for mixing the dough into a ball
¼ ounce packet of active, dry ‘quick rise’ yeast or 2 tsp
Take 2 tablespoons of water in a cup, stir in a pinch of sugar. Pour the contents of yeast packet and stir. Keep it in a warm place and wait for it to turn bubbly, usually 5 to 10 minutes.

The dough at '0' hour The dough after one hour

The dough is shaped into buns is ready to go into the oven

Method: Take all the above ingredients in a big bowl and mix them thoroughly. Knead the dough for at least 5 to 10 minutes. Cover and let it rise. Takes about at least one hour. I’ve kept it for about 3 hours.

Take the dough out and on a clean board, sprinkle in some flour, and deflate and knead the dough again. Do it for at least 2 to 5 minutes. Divide the dough into small balls, shape them into buns. Place them on a greased baking pan; leave space for them to expand. Wait for another 30 minutes for them to rise.

While the shaped buns are rising, preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the baking pans with buns in the oven and bake at 350 F for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and let cool.

Sesame Bun Sandwich
Sesame bun and dried soya chunks-eggs omelet sandwich.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Sesame Seeds, Whole Wheat Flour (Monday April 17, 2006 at 9:34 am- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

I learned the basics of bread making by watching Breaking-Bread series by Father Dominic on PBS. His show demystified the whole bread making process for me. I grew up in Andhra Pradesh, the rice bowl of India, where bread is not an everyday food. It is an exotic thing associated with sickness, prescribed by doctors as an easy digestable food for people when they are ill. Only time I had bread was when I was under the weather and that too quite reluctantly.

When we moved to US, it took some time to get know that bread is not a bland tasteless cardboard kind of food that I remembered and also to separate the bread-sickness association from my mind. I was fascinated by the completely unknown world of bread making and different varieties of bread. I was curious and eager to learn the process so I tried the cook books about baking bread. With information overload, the whole process of bread making felt as easy as preparing for an entrance exam or tooth pulling.:)

During that time, Breaking Bread series by Father Dominic started on PBS. This chubby, homely monk with a pleasant, fatherly disposition and witty, calming narrative showed the bread making in such a way, that I felt confident to try out. The bread I first baked was a plain whole wheat bread loaf. We both liked the taste of it and later on I experimented with adding honey, nuts etc., After moving to Ohio, I am using the whole wheat flour, produced in old style - stone grinding powered by water at Lanterman’s Mill (not only the major tourist attraction but also a functioning working flour mill of Boardman, Ohio) for my bread. The difference in taste is tremendous, the close thing I can compare it is that of great harvest bakery whole wheat bread. Lot of texture and full of flavor, just two slices would fill us up good.

Last weekend I tried again my bread making skills. Although the dough behaved with a mind of it’s own because of excessive rainy and humid weather, the loaf cameout good after baking. Here is the recipe and the whole process in images:

Lanterman's Mill, Youngstown, OhioStone ground Whole wheat flour  - Purchased at Lanterman's water mill, Ohio
Lanterman’s Mill……………..Stone ground Whole Wheat Flour


1 cup coarsely ground whole wheat flour from Lanterman’s mill
1 cup whole wheat flour (King Arthur brand)
1/4 ounce packet of dry active yeast
1 cup water
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup honey
½ cup of golden raisins and chopped walnuts
¼ cup of oil

Just Prepared dough, waiting for a rise Two hours after - the dough has risen

First Rise:
Dissolve yeast in half cup of warm water. Measure the flours in a big bowl. Mix buttermilk, oil, honey, water and yeast mixture into the flour to make soft, sticky dough. Take the dough on a wooden board and knead it for about 5 to 10 minutes, handling it gently. Use a spatula to pick up the sticky dough and turn it over as you work. Place this kneaded dough back in the bowl, cover and place the bowl in a warm place and let the yeast do the work. Wait until it tripled in size for about 2 to 3 hours.

The Second rising in the Bread Pan Second rising done

The Second Rise:
When the dough has finished rising, add nuts and raisins and prepare the dough for the second rise. Take the dough again on flour board, deflate it by pressing the dough flat. Now sprinkle finely chopped walnuts and gloden raisins. Incorporate them into the dough by kneading for few minutes. Place the dough in a loaf plan, cover and let it rise to the top of pan, takes about another two to three hours.

After this final rise, place the loaf pan in preheated oven at 400° F and bake for about 30 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Remove it from oven, bread slides out of the pan easily and let it cool completely before slicing.

The pearls of wisdom, I learned from Father Dominic is ” Let the dough rest and don’t peek and poke it too often”. Very true for successful bread making.

Honey Whole Wheat Bread with Walnuts and Golden Raisins with strawberry jam
Honey whole wheat bread with walnuts and golden raisins
Our weekend breakfast, lunch and dinner

Recipe Source: Cooking Show on Television.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Walnuts, Goduma (Wheat), Sugar, Jaggery and Honey, Honey, Whole Wheat Flour (Monday October 17, 2005 at 12:15 pm- permalink)
Comments (21)

The New Home of Mahanandi: