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Vanilla-Pear Yeast Bread with Cinnamon-Honey Butter

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If you happen to love baking bread and are looking for that next best loaf, I’ve got a great one for you to try.  This Vanilla-Pear Yeast Bread with Cinnamon-Honey Butter is one of my new favorite recipes. I love how the dough incorporates ingredients like fresh pears, vanilla, honey, Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Flour and Hodgson Mill Naturally White Flour and kneads them together to become not one, but two lovely loaves of lightly sweet yeast bread that’s delicious on its own and even better when spread with cinnamon-honey butter.

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Begin by pulling together some bread making basics: Hodgson Mill Active Dry Yeast, Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Flour and Hodgson Mill Naturally White Flour.  If you’re still trying to adjust to having whole wheat in your bread, this is a great recipe with which to begin expanding your palate.  It includes a full cup of Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Flour, but also has plenty of white flour to even out the texture.  If you’re accustomed to whole wheat breads, by all means, replace a cup of the white flour with more whole wheat.  This bread is meant to have a tender crumb, so I wouldn’t go over using half whole wheat, but there’s certainly room for more than one cup.

You’ll also need about 3 medium-sized, ripe but firm, Bartlett pears.

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In a small bowl, mix together the yeast and warm water (bathwater warm) and set aside for 5-10 minutes or until the mixture is frothy.  Next, pour the milk into a medium-sized bowl and heat it in the microwave about a minute, until it’s bathwater warm.  Stir the honey, yeast mixture, Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Flour and one cup of the Hodgson Mill Naturally White Flour into the bowl with the milk.  Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon for a minute, cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and set aside in a warm spot for 15 minutes.

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After 15 minutes, pour the mixture into the pan of a bread machine and add the salt, egg, vanilla, butter and all but ½ cup of the remaining white flour.  Start the dough cycle on the machine and add the last bit of white flour as necessary, a tablespoon at a time, until the ingredients come together into a smooth, supple dough that feels like the soft spot below your pinkie finger on the inside of your palm.  It shouldn’t be sticky or leave traces of dough on your fingers after pressing down lightly on the top. This is what my dough looked like before it started to rise.  Let the dough cycle continuing running until it’s finished or the dough has doubled in size.

**The dough can also be prepared by hand or with a dough hook in a stand mixer.  Erin’s got a post on the Hodgson Mill recipe blog that explains how to make bread by hand. Take a look if you’d like a refresher Bread Making On A Schedule.

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While the dough is rising, peel, core and finely chop 1 ½ cups of the pears.  I needed two-and-a-half pears to get this amount.  Set aside.

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When the dough is ready, put it on a lightly floured work surface and pat it out into a rectangle shape – about 8×10 inches.  Sprinkle on half of the chopped pears.  Fold the top half of the dough toward you and the bottom half away from you to encase the pears.  Sprinkle on the remaining pears and fold the left and right sides of the dough towards the center, wrapping up these pieces of pear as well.  Knead the dough 10 times, pressing down with the palms of your hands and distributing the pear throughout the dough.

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Form the dough into a ball and cut it into two equal pieces with a knife.  Form each half into an oval about 10 inches long.

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Place each oval into a buttered 9-inch bread pan, tucking the ends under so that they fit into the pan.  Cover the pans with plastic wrap that’s been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and set aside in a warm spot to rise until they have doubled in size or have risen 1 inch above the rim of the baking pan – about 40-50 minutes.  Preheat your oven to 375˚F.

When the dough is ready, bake in a 375˚F oven for about 30-35 minutes or until the bread is a deep golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on top.

Remove the bread from the oven and cool for 5 minutes in the pans.  Slip the bread out of the pans and transfer to a wire rack.  Brush the tops of the loaves with melted butter and sprinkle generously with vanilla sugar.  Regular granulated sugar will work just as well as vanilla sugar, or this step can be skipped altogether.

Slice and serve the bread right away or cool completely and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.  The bread can also be cooled, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 4 months.

To make the cinnamon-honey butter, combine the butter, cinnamon, honey and a pinch of salt in a small bowl and stir until well blended.  Serve at room temperature on top of slices of Vanilla-Pear Bread.

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This Vanilla-Pear Yeast Bread with Cinnamon-Honey Butter makes for a special breakfast treat and goes very well with a cup of hot tea.  I love the little bits of fresh pear in each bite and the vanilla sugar on top gives the crust a nice subtle sweetness that almost caramelizes upon toasting.  The cinnamon-honey butter is so easy to put together and makes this already delicious bread even better.  My original plans were to freeze the second loaf, but my family liked this bread so much we ended up eating both loaves in the same week.   From one bread baker to another, this recipe is a winner.  Enjoy!

Vanilla-Pear Yeast Bread with Cinnamon Honey Butter

Ingredients

Bread

Cinnamon-Honey Butter

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

Put the warm water into a small bowl and stir in the yeast.  Set aside for 5-10 minutes or until the yeast is frothy.  In a medium-sized bowl, heat the milk in the microwave until bathwater warm for about 1 minute.  Add the honey, yeast mixture, whole wheat flour and one cup of the white flour to the bowl with the milk and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon for one minute.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and set aside in a warm spot for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes, pour the mixture into the pan of a bread machine and add the salt, egg, vanilla, butter and all but ½ cup of the remaining white flour.  Add the last bit of white flour one tablespoon at a time as necessary to achieve a soft, supple dough.  Let the dough cycle continuing running until it’s finished or the dough has doubled in size.  The dough can also be prepared by hand or with a dough hook in a stand mixer.

When the dough is ready, place it on a lightly floured work surface and pat it out into an 8×10-inch rectangle.  Sprinkle half of the pears in the middle and fold the top of the dough down and bottom up to encase the pears.  Sprinkle the remaining pears in the middle and then fold the left and right sides inwards to cover the pears.  Knead the dough 10 times, pressing down with the palms of your hands, working to evenly distribute the pears throughout the dough.  Form the dough into a ball and cut into two pieces.  Shape each piece into an oval about 10 inches long and place into a buttered 9-inch bread pan, tucking the ends under as needed to fit.   Cover the bread pans with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray and set aside in a warm area for about 40-50 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size or has risen approximately 1 inch above the rim of the pan.  Bake the loaves in a 375°F oven for 30-35 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on top.

Remove the bread from the oven and cool for 5 minutes in the pans.  Slip the bread out of the pans and transfer to a wire rack.  Brush the tops of the loaves with melted butter and sprinkle generously with vanilla or regular sugar. Slice and serve the bread right away or cool completely and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.  The bread can also be cooled, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 4 months.

To make the cinnamon-honey butter, combine the butter, cinnamon, honey and a pinch of salt in a small bowl and stir until well blended.  Serve at room temperature on top of slices of Vanilla-Pear Bread for an extra special treat.

Servings

Makes 2 loaves

Adapted from: Home for the Holidays: Festive Baking with Whole Grains, by Ken Haedrich 


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Author: Holly






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