Date Walnut Bread {ModBak}

I love recipes that move me out of my comfort zone. I don’t view a recipe with unfamiliar techniques or unusual ingredients as something to fear. Rather, I see it as a chance to expand my experience as a chef. When I first looked at the recipe for Date Walnut Bread, the fourth bread in the Modern Baker Challenge, I wasn’t disappointed, as it looked like another tasty recipe. But it also didn’t seem to offer anything unusual in the way of ingredients or techniques. That is, until I looked at the directions for preparing the pan.

This bread is baked in a Bundt pan. First, you butter the pan, which in itself is not at all unusual. The next step — which I have never heard of for prepping a pan for baking — is to dust the pan with bread crumbs. And, as if that weren’t enough, the pan is finally sprayed with vegetable cooking spray. OK, maybe I’m easily excited, but I thought this was kind of cool.

As with the other recipes in the Quick Bread section of The Modern Baker, once my mise en place was done, the batter came together really fast. As I was preparing the dates, which were placed in a bowl with butter and boiling water, I noticed that the dates I had purchased had sugar added. I compensated for this by cutting the sugar added to the recipe by 1/2 cup.

The directions call for mixing the batter by hand, first with a whisk, then by folding with a rubber spatula. Although I love my Kitchen Aid mixer, and in fact used it for almost all of the breads in the BBA Challenge, I have enjoyed mixing most of the Quick Breads by hand.

After beating the eggs, I whisked in the sugar and vanilla. Next, I folded in the dates, butter, and water. Finally, I stirred in the flour, baking soda, and salt, and added the walnuts. The batter was thick, gooey, and smelled delicious. It reminded me of caramel or butterscotch.

OK, it’s time for an admission. Some of you may find what is to follow rather disturbing and may wish to skip to the next paragraph. Those of you who choose to read it: you’ve been warned. I’m a batter eater. Yup, it doesn’t matter to me if it has raw eggs in it — I always taste cake and bread batters. I’ve always done it, and always will. I even let my kids do it. My older, more cautious daughter often declines if the batter has eggs in it. But my younger daughter, the risk taker of the clan, dives in with reckless abandon. The girls weren’t around when I made this bread, so I had to enjoy the batter by myself. And enjoy it I did. It was rich but not too sweet, with a chewy texture from the dates.

The bread is baked in a 325° F for about an hour and comes out looking like this:

And it smelled so good, there was no chance I was going to wait until it cooled to try it.

This bread did not disappoint. It was simple enough to throw together after work. And delicious enough to want to make again and again.



  1. April 25, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    […] (the official blogger for this bread), Karen (Sara’s sister), Phyl, […]

  2. Petra said,

    April 25, 2010 at 1:48 am

    Me too, me too….(jumps up and down for excitment), I am a “Batty” too. Gives me a first glimps on what it might taste like in the end. If the batter tastes good so will the end product.
    Now did you say something about breadcrumbs and instructions?..(goes back to the book and reads the instructions…where, where…oh it’s on the top right, darn…when will I learn?)

  3. Kayte said,

    April 17, 2010 at 11:21 am

    I’m with you on this waiting around until it cools bit. I have been making minis, so one of those gets sliced hot off the presses and enjoyed immediately always. This looks and sounds great. It’s on my schedule for next week…I’m just a wee bit behind, or maybe not, one a week so far. Yours looks wonderfully perfect, and that slice…ooh la la!

    • gaaarp said,

      April 17, 2010 at 11:54 am

      Thanks, Kayte. It was really good.

      You’re not behind at all; I’ve been a baking fool lately. I’m going to try to do the Apple Raisin bread this weekend. And maybe to the Jalapeno Cornbread, if I get to the store to buy the ingredientes.

  4. Abby said,

    April 16, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    I’ve never heard of the breadcrumb trick, either . . . Could you detect their flavor or an odd texture on the final bread?

    And I am totally a batter-eater, as well! I prefer cookie dough, but quick bread or cake batters work just fine. =)

    • gaaarp said,

      April 16, 2010 at 9:51 pm

      The breadcrumbs were so fine that they absorbed into the final bread and didn’t affect the flavor or texture. But the bread came right out of the pan with no problems.

      I love cake batter, too. And cake batter ice cream is pure genius!!

  5. AnneMarie said,

    April 16, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    That looks delicious. I’m glad that it was tasty. I’d be the only one eating it in my house, so I am living vicariously.

    • gaaarp said,

      April 16, 2010 at 5:10 pm

      My kids, who claim not to like raisins, gobbled up the Date Walnut and Whole Wheat Currant breads. Go figure.

  6. sallybr said,

    April 16, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Wonderful looking bread – my book arrived yesterday, by the way….

    No problem with the batter eating, you are safe with me… 🙂

    ap…. I think cranberries could work very well! Indeed just like the BBA cranberry walnut

    • gaaarp said,

      April 16, 2010 at 4:02 pm

      Glad to hear you got your book. Now you can start eating batter and baking along with us!

  7. ap269 said,

    April 16, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    Nice post. In Germany, it’s pretty common to dust a greased pan with bread crumbs. I do that all the time. It’s new to me, though, that you add another layer of fat on the bread crumbs. I wonder if I should add cranberries instead of the dates. I’m not too fond of dates. And cranberries and walnuts sound like a winner combination, don’t they? Just think of the BBA cranberry walnut celebration bread!

    • gaaarp said,

      April 16, 2010 at 4:01 pm

      Sounds good to me. I wonder if you’ll have to increase the sugar a bit. Cranberries are much more tart than dates.

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