Oct 9, 2012

Walnut Bread #TwelveLoaves

I was woken up by the loudest thunder this morning. Barely morning, it was 5.30 and it was a Saturday, so the day should´ve started a few hours later if I had any saying. But no, wide awake there was little to do other than roam the internet and piles of cookbooks. I made an effort to delay my first cup of coffee; if I started drinking at that hour who knows what mood I would be in by nine, jittery for sure.

Rainy days that from the beginning have a characteristic it-will-rain-all-day feeling to them, that make my resolve to go to the market early and buy some newly arrived asparagus and blueberries to make a few pies a hard task to follow, that make it hard to have a sunny disposition are not my idea of how to start the weekend. And a long one since Monday is a holiday (Columbus Day). On days like today the feeling is more winter-y, when baking bread and cakes is the only idea that keeps popping in my mind, even if by inertia. 

That is my state of mind as I write this post, which will probably not be finished today.
But I decided to catch up with my 12 Loaves baking, the group created by Lora, Jamie and Barb. The challenge this month is nuts, seeds, grains, nuts + seeds, grains + nuts. You get the idea. My kind of theme. When it comes to bread baking there´s nothing more appealing to me than adding a bunch of seeds to a dough. And nuts are a close second. Any seed and any nut. I like them all. It´s usually a matter of what I have lying around, or more specifically, lying around in an opened package. 

There will come a day when I will have the most beautiful containers, all neatly arranged, labeled and maybe, this is a long stretch, alphabetically ordered. Though if that day is going to happen in this lifetime remains to be seen. I wouldn´t bet my hard-earned money on it. Hell, I wouldn´t bet your hard-earned money on it, and we all know how easy it is to bet with other people´s money.

I take pride in my yeast baking, but today I made a quick bread. Why it´s called a bread is beyond me, I never understood it. They have, usually, a ton of sugar and no yeast. They taste more like pound cake, wouldn´t you agree?
But it´s the most wonderful walnut bread, or loaf. Whatever name you give it, this is, for now, my favorite quick bread. The crumb is perfectly tight without being too dense, and it´s not too sweet despite an interesting amount of sugar used. And the best part, it tastes like walnuts. I know it´s a bit of a stupid comment, it is walnut bread after all, but I´ve found that these quick breads many times taste the same, wether you use walnuts or blueberries. Not this one.

from The Best American Recipes 2003-2004, by F. McCullough and M. Stevens

This recipe was initially published in the Los Angeles Times some 20 years ago, and was republished at the insistence of a reader who remembered it.

½ cup unsalted butter, at room tº
1 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup chopped walnuts
Cinnamon walnut sugar, optional (see below)

Preheat oven to 350º. Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl beat butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat for a minute.
In another bowl sift together flour, salt and baking soda.
Add dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the sour cream in two additions. Each time mix only until combined. Don´t overmix since it will make the bread tough.
Add walnuts. Mix well and pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle with 2 or 3 Tbs cinnamon walnut sugar if desired.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until golden, cracked and tester inserted in center comes out clean.

For the cinnamon walnut sugar: Mix 1 cup sugar, 1 Tbs ground cinnamon and 1 cup finely chopped walnuts.


  1. Wow sounds like quite the thunderstorm! At least this bread kept you cosy :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  2. What a delectable walnut bread! I'm hoping to join in before the month is over...missed August and September...always good intentions!!!

  3. This looks out of this world great! SO delicious - fabulous photos
    mary x

  4. I was planning on making a walnut bread but with streusel. Your version looks tasty!

  5. we have storms like that almost daily here in Florida.
    Anyway, the loaf looks delicious!

  6. No matter how you call it..it's a delicious thing ! :)

  7. This looks great. I'm wondering if pecans would sub well. I bet pecan bread would go quickly around here.

  8. I know what you mean about the confusion on calling quick bread, 'bread' - it's cake! Maybe it's so we won't feel guilty for having a slice for breakfast. Your walnut, er, bread, looks delicious.

  9. I feel the same way---often, it's the mood that strikes that influences what I bake...lovely loaf--makes me think of warm and cozy things =)

  10. This looks absolutely fabulous! You are a busy baker - I want to make so many of your posts!!!

  11. This looks wonderful - I love walnuts! Stay dry & warm!

  12. Paula, wonderful Walnut Bread - perfect with wonderful and healthy walnuts which I adore!

  13. hello! stopping by to say hello from 12loaves - what a great looking bread! :)

  14. I want to try all your breads, Paula. Definitely agree about seeds and nuts-could add them to any bread happily. Quick or yeast, doesn't matter to me-this is a beauty:)Thanks for baking with us again for Twelve Loaves.

  15. This is a beautiful loaf, and walnuts make it all the more delicious.

  16. Hi! The bread looks delicious. Can you suggest a substitute for sour cream ?

    1. I find that the best substitute for sour cream is thick greek yogurt. Hope it helps!


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