This has been a busy week, with two large batches of raspberry apple jam and one even larger batch of apple butter finished and ready for winter. While apple butter is wonderful on toast, French toast, and pancakes, I wanted to try using it in some baking as well.
The following bread has a lot of nutrition and flavor, and the use of oil rather than butter (common in this kind of loaf) reduces the cost and ups the value of the fat used. While an alternative set of ingredients is listed after the main recipe if you don't keep nonfat dried milk on hand, I strongly suggest keeping it as a staple. Depending on your part of the country, it can be cheaper than fresh milk, but, even if the cost is similar, it is a great way to up the calcium and protein content of baked goods. The amount used in these loaves is equivalent to more than a cup of milk, even though only three quarters of a cup of liquid can be used to keep the overall balance of liquid and dry ingredients right. Finally, the overall heartiness of the other ingredients makes the whole wheat flour barely distinguishable, even for those who turn their noses up at anything but white bread.
As with most breads of this type, this is even better the second day, but you may find that the fragrance filling the house while it bakes will make it hard for anyone to wait that long to try this out. Spread it with a little butter or cream cheese that has been softened and mixed with a bit of orange juice and grated orange rind or just eat it unadorned. Good enough for dessert and not just as a bread.
Purchased apple butter should work fine for this bread, but I have not tested it with anything bu my own, homemade and wonderful, stuff. You can find my apple butter recipe (actually my sister Merry's recipe) at http://frugalfastfun.blogspot.com/2010/12/apple-butter.html
I did decrease the cloves a bit when I made this batch, since our family prefers a little less of that very strong spice. One more nice thing about making your own--you can adjust the spices to match your own preferences!
Apple Butter Bread
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup water
1 T lemon juice
1/2 c nonfat dried milk powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 cups all-purpose flour
1 c whole wheat flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground allspice
1 cup apple butter
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 c dried cranberries
1. Put the cranberries in the water and microwave about 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
2. Combine oil, brown sugar, egg, lemon juice, apple butter, and dried milk powder.
3. Sift together dried ingredients.
4. Alternately add the flour mixture and cooled cranberries and water to the egg and oil mixture. Stir just to blend. Fold in the nuts.
5. Pour the batter into two well-greased 8 ½ X 4 ½ inch loaf pans. This might be a good time to use a baking spray like Pam, to be sure that the breads will not stick to the pans when done--an all too common problem with some of this rich breads!
6. Bake at 350 degrees (325 if in a glass pan) for about 35 to 37 minutes. Allow to cool in the pans for 10 to 12 minutes before turning out on to a rack. If storing for more than a day, these are best kept tightly wrapped in the refrigerator.
If you do not have dried milk available, make the following changes:
Use 3/4 c skim or 2 % milk instead of water.
Do NOT heat the cranberries in the milk. Instead in step 4, add the milk alternately with the flour mixture. Then fold in the dried cranberries with the nuts.
(NOTE: Okay, so the recipe calls for using two 8 ½ X 4 ½ inch loaf pans, but you may have noticed the photo shows two differently shaped loaves. I only have one of these pans in my cupboard, so one of the loaves was baked in a 9 X 5 inch pan. It just makes a little broader slice, which may be your preference anyway!